What is it about us humans? We spend so much time dwelling on bad stuff. I suffer from anxiety, I have depression. I have so much bad luck. This has happened, that has happened. I’ve lost this, I must be a terrible person. We feel it ourselves and focus on it. We applaud those who say they hurt, ‘oh you’re so brave!’ ‘Well done for acknowledging you’re not OK’. In some people that is massive, it can be incredibly hard sometimes to say ‘I need help’. Especially men. The conditioning we put ourselves and our children through is relentless. ‘I am man the hunter, so I shall go the pub on a Friday and get utterly slaughtered’. ‘Man up deal with it’.
Modern society has never been more aware of the issues surrounding mental health. Especially in a post covid world. Suicide is the biggest killer of young men, and those working in the construction industry. Yet even high profile macho men like Joe Mahler, harlequins and England Prop forward publically stating that he has had issues doesn’t seem to make it any easier for many to say they need help.
A couple of weeks ago I posted a video just after anxiety had come out of nowhere and knocked me off my perch and then posted a blog the day after called ‘sideswiped, Warrior not worrier’.
There is so much literature out there to help you put strategies in place to help you manage these distressing states of mentality. Absolutely vital they are too. I have read many a text on the subject and have blogged pretty extensively about it as well.
Bizarre when you think about it. Fear is an abstract concept. You can see it, touch it, hear it or actively engage with it in any way that makes it physically real. However, we feel it inside us and embrace, dare I say believe in it utterly. Totally and with a conviction that if we could put the strength of belief into any other part of our world would change it beyond recognition.
If I asked you when was the last time you had that sinking feeling, you quite possibly could tell me when, how long you felt it for, what it was like, and the time it happened before that, and the time before that.
Last week I became aware that exactly the opposite was true. There’s always an opposite. Just as the week before I became acutely aware that I felt ecstatic, a state of euphoria had just washed right through me. For no reason that I was aware of, but it had. It felt strange. I don’t ever remember noticing it before. Well not noticing it and then actually being aware of it. I like to not the beginning of a holiday and realising that everything is front of me and still to come, but that is a conscious thing. Not an unprovoked feeling of joy!
That led me to another thought. Life is so full of strategies for that feeling of anxiety, distress and panic, but what should you do when you have exactly the polar opposite, an unexpected wash of pure joy?
Are there ways you should behave, strategies to put in place? If there are I’ve not heard of them. Should you go and by a lottery ticket? Doubt it would make much difference to be honest. Maybe you should do all those things we are taught to do when we have ‘downs’, surely, they’ll take us even higher…
Faith is just as abstract as fear. Yet we rarely, if ever spend time dwelling on it. That’s bizarre too, because rarely do things ever stay bad, they generally always get better. When we look back at things, the most common phrase is often, ‘yeah, things did actually work out for the best’, even if we didn’t think so at the time. Usually, these moments are the most promising periods of growth. We realise that when we look back too.
What did I do when I realised that I felt absolutely fantastic? Well after noting the moment and the feeling I got back to work and carried on doing what ever it was that I was doing at the time. The difference though was that I really enjoyed what I was doing. I think I was writing an essay I really didn’t want to write. Pretty much nailed it actually, and during the next couple of days I got the other one done that needed doing and also sorted out the corrections that some others required. That felt good too, as did handing them in knowing that I had fulfilled a promise I had made some weeks before.
That gave me the chance to really get into some tasks that I did want to do. I slept better, had more patience and generally got on better than those around me.
Maybe the reason there aren’t the guidelines for euphoria that there are for distress is because the best thing to do is just what you normally do.
Funny then that, that’s probably the best advice for managing fear and anxiety too, because the outcome will be the same.
The Way of the Warrior!
When was the last time when actually noticed you felt fantastic for no reason?
Simon Pollard October 2023