I was in session yesterday with a young lady who has been dealing with anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) for most of her life. I’ve been working with her for quite a while, and we’ve tried all kinds of coping mechanisms. In her session, she told me that she thinks she has found THE coping tool that has significantly reduced her symptoms. She had been discouraged after trying progressive muscle relaxation, breathing techniques, thought monitoring/stopping, visualization and a few others. So when she said this, I got excited! What was her favored remedy? Present moment awareness!
Diane and I have written about mindfulness and present moment awareness in the past, and we both agree that this technique is one of the basics of self-care. While it’s true that not all coping tools will work for everyone, this particular exercise, when made habitual, can change lives.
My client is dealing with financial problems, and found herself worked into a panic regularly, wondering how she was going to get enough money to pay her bills. Using present moment awareness, she has been able to tell herself, “The bills are not due today. Right now, all is well. I’ll deal with it when the time comes.” This usually brings her anxiety down and sometimes wipes it completely out!
Of course, some things do require planning ahead, and paying bills can be one of them. My client told me yesterday that she had 2 “out of the blue” opportunities to make extra money, and that would take care of her August bills! She’s now working on maintaining mindfulness, but also having faith that God/The Universe will provide for her, as long as she expects Him/it to.
She said she felt strange when practicing these new thoughts, because her old thought patterns were so negative. It made sense to her that we tend to get what we expect to get out of life. So, if she expects obstacles and depression, that’s what she gets. After getting some “proof” that positive and mindful thoughts DO have a real effect in her life, she’s finding renewed enthusiasm to keep it up!