Recently, I’ve seen a number of different articles with suggestions on how to deal with anxiety and stress, and how much of an impact that can have on your mental health. There are some that we’ve seen many, many times. Things like getting more exercise, and meditation can, in fact, be very useful tools in dealing with stress.
One that jumped out at me and reminded me that everyone is a little different was a study that showed that for many, pets can be a huge help in reducing anxiety. I found the advice a little off putting frankly. Some people seemed to think that the cure for anyone and everyone was to get a dog, and go walking with it. There you go, a pet and exercise! Who would feel anxious and stressed now?
Well, I would. You see, I’m allergic to dogs, and just about every kind of pet that has hair. I can assure you that owning a dog would not, in fact, be less stressful for me. The allergy shots, doctor visits, etc. would have quite the opposite effect on me! That’s not how I deal with anxiety and stress. I grab my camera and head out to some of my favorite places. For me, simply watching the surf can be very helpful.
My point here is that as you wander around the internet reading about mental health, depression, anxiety and so on, you’ll see lots of ideas and “solutions”. Most of them are written by well-meaning people who have found things that worked for them, including me! But it’s also to remember that not everything that works for other people, will work for you. That’s OK. That’s not a failure in healing, that’s simply you being you. Is it worth trying out some things you read, especially when it comes to finding some balance, and dealing with anxiety? Yeah, absolutely. But don’t think that some other person’s “solution” is going to be yours. Parts of it may be, parts of it might not be.
Find what works for you. If you love dogs, get a dog. If exercising makes your stress burn off, by all means get out and run, bike, whatever you are capable of. And if watching the ocean and hiking along the Oregon Coast helps you like it helps me, get out and do that! Don’t let anyone else tell you what should work, find the things that do and commit to doing them!
I could sit for hours and watch the surf hitting the rocks. Where do you go when you are feeling anxious and need a break?