We need to get out of the ‘spin cycle’ of stress and anxiety

Sometimes we need to shift our perspective to stop from spinning out of control

Elvenia Gray-Sandiford

My granddaughter, like most kids, is a spinner. I remember when she was younger; she would spin our dog by the tail. Our dog Sandy ran the other way when she saw her coming. I get dizzy just thinking of her spinning around and around.

It also reminds me that that is exactly how my mind feels sometimes when I allow worry and anxiety to set in. It is not always being concerned about something big or solvable in the moment. Allowing the troubles of this world to cloud our minds causes anxiety and worry.

There is nothing wrong with being concerned; concern is a good thing that drives us to action. When we turn it up a few notches, it turns to worry and anxiety, puts our mind in spin cycle, and we hold on tight to our thoughts, so we don’t get thrown off. This is where mindfulness comes in. What is that thought that presents itself and starts us spinning? When do we get out of spin cycle before we start to spin out of control?

Consider the difference between starting and ending when we have been spinning. After all that motion, we tend to land right back where we started, only now we can’t see straight. We’re all dizzy, falling over, confused, with not much physical or mental support to ourselves. We’re in a worse position than when we started. So it is when we worry. Anxiety spins us out of control. We spend the day spinning in our head, tossing and turning about things that are out of our control.

The slogan “take no thought to that” means literally that. If we hold on to a thought, it could take us anywhere. For some of us, that “anywhere” could be the spin cycle of stress, or the spin cycle of depression, or whatever mental or emotional struggles we courageously conquer daily.

How do we get out of the spin cycle? Let’s try shifting our eyes, because they are like blinders that only allow us to see the problems around us. I sometimes go bird watching. I consider what birds know that we do not. Or I do some gardening, considering the fruits of the trees that keep coming back year after year.

Let’s also try shifting our minds, and shifting our perspective. This is not just positive thinking, but making a decision to get up and show up for ourself. Some of us have to do it hourly, some of us have to do it daily. Focus on what is right here, right now. Let us reach deep within the depths of our beings, just dig a little deeper. Just one ounce of hope will give us the strength to finally see the truth of what’s in us all along. We can finally believe in ourselves and our ability to move forward in strength and not lose heart.

We have to make sense of our life, for in order to break the cycle, we have to get out of spin mode. We start to see the cares of this world differently. We are not putting on rose-coloured glasses or denying the hard realities of our world, but we start to see them from a different perspective. We start to walk by faith and not fear.

We take a deep breath and intentionally decide what we want to believe. It’s up to us to control the story we tell ourselves. Let’s choose a story that allows us to remain in touch with the beauty of our life. Let us let go of thoughts that tell us otherwise.

My sincere hope for us all is that we can see a shift in our hearts and minds, a shift that will keep us from losing hope. A shift that allows us to never give up in the midst of suffering. A shift of hope when we don’t believe that things can change. A shift that reminds us daily that we have got this.


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