Ep 20: For When You Don't Know (Part 1)
There’s nothing quite like a good movie or TV show. Harry Potter? Game of Thrones? Talk about SUSPENSE.
Wait, are those basically the same show?
Anyway, the thrill of “What’s gonna happen??” is almost too much to take sometimes. Especially when you have to wait practically half your life for the next movie or season to come out. But so help me if anyone were to spoil it by telling me what’s going to happen--or, even worse--how it’s going to end.
The adventure would be over. That would mean no more rollercoaster of suspense and thinking you have it figured out but then your favorite character is in real danger or the bad guy found another leg up and your body stiffens and you forget to breathe and you don’t know if you can keep watching but you do and then the thing you forgot about COMES BACK and you’re like “Oh yeah I forgot about you because that was ten seasons ago!” and your Fave figures it out and is out of danger for now and the tension in your body releases and you feel complete because there was an answer and you can’t wait to do it all again at the next one.
No one had better spoil that shit for me.
But when it comes to my own life? I’d prefer none of that, thank you.
The discomfort of the unknown when it applies to us does not feel like an adventure. It feels like pain. Even torture. We want to know what’s going to happen when we’re in between jobs, in a new relationship, struggling with money, changing paths, newly single—you name it. We ask our friends and therapists and Google how we can figure out not to feel so much, to find some semblance of clarity, so we can take a break from the torture for a bit.
But, it comes back. And we are left in the unknown, seemingly alone. Well guess what. You’re not (duh).
My friend Sarah was in the unknown for 10 years. In this episode, we talk about how she coped with not knowing what was going on with her health and no leader in medical science could figure it out either. We talk about how to trust ourselves when the waters are muddy and our path is unclear, and what happened when she finally got answers.
Here's a link to the Relaxation Response class Sarah took in Boston (looks like they only offer there right now, but definitely look for similar programming near you!).
In the meantime, check out these tips:
1. At the end of the day, write down (or say to yourself) three or more things you're grateful for. For me, I do this whenever I start panicking. I find that I can easily do, like, ten things and suddenly I'm in awe of how much I have and is going well in my life.
2. Deep breaths! I know, ground-breaking stuff, right? But if you go a mile a minute, this is easy to forget. I teach and practice a lot of yoga and I STILL forget to breathe. Not just when I'm reactive or spiraling, but even preventative deep breaths can shift my internal pressure and make me feel lighter. Try Box Breathing: Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds. Set a timer and do it for 60 seconds (or more--why not?!).
3. Guided meditations. Wait just hear me out! It doesn't have to be long--even one minute does wonders. Most of my problems come from dwelling over the past or tripping over the future (AKA, trying to control the unknown). Meditation is just a mental practice to build your muscle to watch your thoughts without reacting to them. And to bring yourself back when you've jumped too far back into the past or too far forward. Honestly? Even if you just sit still and your mind goes wild for the whole time, you're still meditating. And eventually, it starts to click. Stay with it.