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Have you ever noticed how relaxing it is to click your pen while you are getting bored during a lecture or how you suddenly start wringing your fingers or cracking your knuckles, under the table, without even realizing when you go in for a job interview or a viva exam?
Do you notice the foot that you keep on shaking while watching the tv? Or perhaps you might have noticed yourself stepping carefully over floor tiles while walking all busy in your thoughts…..
We do so because we are trying to get our minds off one thing or the other…..it’s like warding off the stress the anxiety, telling ourselves that ok all is well move on to other stuff and then over the time it becomes a habit more like our second nature we just do so to ensure that all is going well around, like we have some sort of control on whatever is going around us. Humans like to keep a hold to the things going on around them, they like it when everything goes the way they predict or want it to be. They like to feel that everything is within their grip, and there is nothing wrong in this at all….it’s just the human nature of predicting and assuming and the need to be aware.
For some of us these stresses or anxieties might go out of bounds, way out of what we expect things to be and how we would want our lives to be as the stress goes up so do our defenses…….as the frustration and helplessness increases so does our frantic efforts to take charge again. We might be trying too hard to be brave, to know that we would fix the things, to make sure that we know how to go about the situation but in the end we are all humans aren’t we and this is life……so yes we might slow down for a while, we slow down to rise again. We slow down to take charge again…..these are the times when we have slowed down that these stress warding behaviors take charge of us because they make us feel in control, they make us feel that ok there is at least something that we can control, perhaps we can lock the doors to keep the stress out, or count the stairs to make the impending threat appear smaller, or repeat a ritual to make sure that at least we are playing our part. It is ok to make an effort as long as we don’t give up……as a student of psychology I have realized over time that the problem is not the excess of a behavior, it’s not even the effects it has on our life….the real problem is not knowing what we are doing and that we need to stop. The rest of it is all a struggle to fight yourself off but you would begin to struggle only after you realize that you are doing something that is not working for you. Of course it is easier said than done…..but believe me once you realize what you are doing you should also know that you have been BRAVE for a very long time and now is the time for others to know that too. You need help, well who won’t need a bit of that we all do and a lot of faith in yourself, the help would keep you going, it could be you life partner, your friends, family, or your shrink, whatever it is, it would let you stay focused…..so just hold on.
So next time you find yourself counting tiles on your bathroom floor or the dots on a wall do not be surprised just know that you are trying your best to hold on and you are doing it pretty well. I like to put the hangers in wardrobe at equal distances, it just makes me feel like the clothes won’t get all creased up by being together…..like being out of each other’s space, I just noticed it….