Whenever she can, therapist Tammy Redmond jumps in the car for an hourlong drive to a record store for an old-school search for vinyl that will warm her soul.
Recently, just as she headed toward the coveted “Just-In” secondhad section, the store suddenly teemed with customers flocking toward the same bins. So there she was, stuck in front of the Used Classic Western Music just bouncing around. By her own account, she was becoming antsy and a bit irritable. She tried to bide her time by browsing other sections, but it wasn’t working. She started obsessing about the long drive and traffic, the people now in HER way, and probably buying the titles SHE wanted. Disappointment was taking over and threatening to spoil the adventure she’d planned for a rare day out.
Even the most chill among us have had moments like this, including trained mental health professionals like Redmond who help patients manage their everyday struggles with anxiety, depression or other coping challenges.
But there are tricks we can use to manage these moments. Redmond finally calmed herself a bit, waited out the masses and then looked up to see her section had magically cleared out. There was plenty of good stuff left, and she was gleefully lost in the hunt.
As instant gratification looms ever larger in our lives, Redmond, of Novant Health Psychiatry – Concord, offers advice for maintaining our balance and happiness.
1. Focus on yourself instead of others
As you focus on yourself, identify what pieces of the situation, specific to you, are triggering such a response. Each piece or element has a value and meaning to us. But is it worth getting upset over? In her example she was doing the exact same thing that the other patrons in the record store were doing. She had to remind herself – and this took some work – we’re all here for a little fun. Recognizing that helped her build a little patience.
2. Remind yourself: Patience is a habit
Being able to sit comfortably with no sense of control can difficult. This takes practice and learning in the moment. Afford yourself this time to develop this great habit. Why? You’ll be less anxious, and probably a little happier in the long run. Remember, this doesn’t mean placing yourself last, but recognizing that we’re all in this together.
3. Smartphone apps can help
If you’d like to consistently to practice patience, consider trying apps that help you slow down. There are many free or low-cost meditation apps you can download and start using. You’ll find a few mentioned in this story where Redmond explains how to fend off the Sunday blues.
We all have aspirations and wants that can often conflict with the flow of life. Keep your focus on the end goal while remaining teachable within the variety of daily experiences. Every great playlist has variety.