This article is for those times when you’re experiencing a day (or a bad day after day) of inner discomfort and it’s hard not to worry about yourself, even if you know it makes your discomfort worse.
Your inner world, like the weather, has good and bad days and as is the case with the weather, sometimes there are whole seasons of unusual, potentially worrying conditions.
If you are there right now, please know you’re not alone.
Many people are experiencing this.
Astrologically speaking, we’ve been having eclipses and a Mercury Retrograde recently (if it means anything to you) and these are times of extra inner intensity.
Politically, it’s always one thing after another.
Economically, we live in the world where the main systems are set up to protect the comfort of the most affluent instead of supporting wellbeing of all those alive.
All that exists alongside whatever personal deprivation you’ve been affected by and view your life through.
The scary part of bad weather
As a physical weather wimp (an ex-partner used to joke that there is a very narrow temperature margin when I feel good), I appreciate how unsettling bad weather conditions can be, on any level.
Emotionally, I’m no stranger to intense, oppressive thoughts either. Being highly sensitive means that it’s extra easy to get worried about the various aspects of life that present as not enough, “wrong” or not safe.
That place, of unhappy thoughts and feelings day after day… well, it feels bad, scary, trying, doesn’t it?
Nobody wants a bad day but you don’t get to choose not to have it either, no matter what the tools and techniques of today promise we can achieve.
A bad day comes just like bad weather: non-negotiably and bringing in its wake discomfort and potential depression.
At least to start with.
Bad weather vs. inappropriate clothing
I love the joke I heard Billy Connoly tell that there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. As a Scot, he should know better than most, hehe.
With a bit of luck, anyone who’s reflected on their bad days (emotionally speaking), will begin to notice a similar dynamic.
Depending on how you respond to a bad weather day, you can make it worse than it is or you can make it something you’ll be happy with. If not right away than at least in the end.
I know you know this already, dear Reader but on a lousy day, all anyone can think of is the absence of warmth and goodness, not that it’s there for you still. Somewhere.
I’m here to meet your spirit and acknowledge that it may be feeling right now like the sun (inner peace, safety or love) are not available to you.
I’m also here to consider with you what you could “clothe yourself in” to reduce the distress of whatever bad day or days you might be having.
What might your system be best supported by in your personal bad weather, I wonder.
Do you need the emotional equivalent of a cup of tea with honey and lemon or cool shade with ice tea and mint?
Wrist warmers, scarf and blanket or perhaps some form of physical movement to warm you up?
How can you find this out?
First of all, do not harm
For some of the readers, it may be medicinal to be asked this:
What care do you need on a bad day?
It’s soooo much healthier to consider this question instead of debating what a bad day means is broken in you.
We live in a world where the prevailing form of medicine has a principle that says “First of all, do not harm” yet its practice is centred on diagnosing what’s wrong instead of seeking to support what’s needed.
If you are judging yourself to smithereens for having a bad day, please let yourself pause thinking this way.
When not interfered with, emotional discomfort will move on like any other emotion and when it does lessen a little, you’ll be able to shed light on the question of what your system is needing next to be well.
Sometimes ruminating can be tricky to stop doing. What I’ve found helps is directing attention on something else instead of trying for it not to go to stressful thoughts.
When you can’t tell what you need on a bad day
For those of you who are into NVC* (or have some other way to help yourself clarify what you need when upset), I’d like to say: be gentle.
You may not be able to focus on the question of what you need, even if you know it would help to know this, untill your worst discomfort lessens.
Please don’t judge yourself for failing to know what you need (or failing in using NVC). Lean into anything or anybody who can help you recover some inner calm first, so you are able to do what you know is helpful to do.
When NVC “doesn’t work” it’s because you are too worked up to work it. 🙂
Secondly, prioritise recovery
If prioritising diagnosis is not healthy, how can you help yourself recover from the debilitating aspect of emotional discomfort?
From decades of exploring self-help techniques and spiritual teachings, I’d say that the heart of recovery, both physical and emotional, is centred around rest, gentle movement and nutrition.
These things are not “new and revolutionary”. They are rather obvious.
The paradoxical question is: can you allow yourself to recover even if the way is simple and already available?
I’d like to tell you about the principles of recovery rather than giving you specific strategies to follow.
Too often, people feel like they cannot be helped because they cannot access the recommended ways to get better.
Whatever origin of your uncomfortable emotions (often it is how we see things, not how bad they are), your nervous system will be taxed and in need of recovery before you can get good use from it.
The bind is that we both receive the world and respond to it via the same nervous system. Therefore, to have a chance of responding well, whatever is happening in your life, you’ll want to prioritise rest and recovery for your nervous system.
By rest, I mean a combination of pausing the mode of doing/pushing/striving and bringing in what your system experiences as nurturing.
You’ll know what kind of rest is or isn’t doable in your circumstances.
I’ll give you some examples of what creates restful mode so that you understand the principle behind them.
What could you allow yourself today, along the lines of:
– caring touch,
– gentle exercise,
– contact with nature,
– peaceful sound,
– soothing scent,
– warm temperature,
– kind thoughts such as prayer or poetry, etc.
Some examples of nurturing are:
= nutrients from food or quality food supplements;
= fresh air such as in the woods or by the sea;
= contact with beauty in nature or art;
= high quality thoughts from spiritual teachings or insightful writers or thinkers;
= high quality human choices which you can access via biographies, books, films, etc.
These examples are to inspire rather than overwhelm you.
If the list is not helpful, simplify the process by asking yourself:
1. In what way can I access some rest right now?
2. What simple nurturing can I connect with today?
And be willing to go with already available options.
A wonderful world whatever the weather
One of the all time nurturing songs in my life is Louis Armstrong’s “The wonderful world”.
For me, Armstrong’s voice manages to channel deeper truth about life and human potential, beyond stress in the moment and despite the tragedies of our social choices.
When he was asked how he can say that the world is wonderful, he offered this:
“Some of you young folks been saying to me, “Hey Pops, what you mean ‘What a wonderful world’? How about all them wars all over the place? You call them wonderful? And how about hunger and pollution? That ain’t so wonderful either.”
Well how about listening to old Pops for a minute.
Seems to me, it ain’t the world that’s so bad but what we’re doin’ to it.
And all I’m saying is, see, what a wonderful world it would be if only we’d give it a chance. Love baby, love. That’s the secret, yeah.
If lots more of us loved each other, we’d solve lots more problems. And then this world would be a gasser.”
So for a day of self-worry, I’d like to offer you this expression of my love for you:
What’s the simplest way to settle your nervous system right now so that love can reach where it’s needed inside you?
May you allow yourself to hear the answer and if it’s hard to do, please get in touch so I can help.
* NVC = Nonviolent Communication is an approach to life and human differences that helps to find solutions which care for the needs of all those involved (rather than supporting only the needs of those who are judged to be more deserving).