Anxiety is like an octopus. It’s never just one thing, its eight. All of them pulling your thoughts into different directions. It’s overwhelming. It’s chaotic. And one person asking you a question can make you snap, leaving that person confused and in disbelief.
No one can see the octopus. Your octopus. My octopus. They can’t see each tentacle as it wraps around you, suffocating you. You need to let those who love you see your octopus.
An octopus has three hearts. Nine brains. What an intricate creature. Anxiety is intricate. You are intricate. I am intricate. And intricate creatures need handled with care. Handle yourself with care. Be gentle with yourself.
So much is involved with mindfulness. So much. Some of my tricks for keeping my tentacles from getting tangled involve making time for mindful moments. It’s like a brain break.
My morning coffee is my first mindfulness moment of each day.
Its starts with the calm percolation of the last bit of water pushing into the decanter. The sound is unmistakable. From that moment I only focus on the coffee, the clank of my coffee mug being set onto the counter, the sound of the coffee curving into the mug, the chill on my fingertips from grasping the creamer, the sound of the spoon twirling around the inside of the mug, a bottomless inhale of freshly brewed bean and lastly the first sip, the warmth, the taste. All of it. Blissful.
My brain stays focused on the moment. I purposely activate all my senses and my mind is free of all other thoughts. A brain break. They are necessary.
The other constant mindful moment that I practice happens multiple times throughout my work day. After every single one of my bathroom breaks (and subsequent hand washing) I always put cuticle salve and lotion on. I make sure I’m doing this at least 4 times a day. If I need some energy I use a lemon scented salve and if I need calm I use the one that smells like the head of cabbage patch kid. I don’t know the official name of that scent but you know THAT scent. And it’s awesome. The lotion is always the same, nothing fancy. First with the salve. I focus on each fingertip, one at a time. Then the lotion. I massage each finger, the space between my thumb and pointer and the palms of my hands. Eyes closed and focused just on my hands, my breathing, the scent, the feeling of my hands in one another. The whole deal last just a few minutes but it’s long enough the give my brain a break.
The trick is to focus your mind on exactly what you are doing. The sight, the smell, the feeling. Anxious thoughts will bleed in and you just acknowledge them and refocus on the task at hand. Over time they will stop leaching into your moments and your brain break will give you a recharge.