The moment we acknowledge the invincible summer within us, the light edges closer, and the temperature goes up ever so slightly. Keep tending that inner flame, and soon there will be enough light and heat to cheer not only you, but everyone around you. ~ Martha Beck in “Coping with a February”
I haven’t hated winter my whole life…it’s only been in the past 15 years or so. And I am not even sure why I started hating it.
I do know that part of the hate came from what I assumed to be SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Winter is depressing, right? It’s cold and dark. BAH!
And part of it came from an increase in anxiety, especially around being sick, and specifically stomach bugs.
(If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time you’ve read about this crazy puke phobia thing I had, which terrified and paralyzed me to the point where I’d start to think I’d become one of those people who never leaves their house.)
Some of the things I did to try and overcome the anxiety include using a SAD (light therapy) lamp, Emotional Freedom Technique, thought coaching, and traditional talk therapy.
Now, I am not saying that those things didn’t “work” because they did, but what I know now is that they didn’t work in a way that I thought they would. They didn’t make the anxiety go away, they helped calm me so that I could understand two important things:
1. I had to stop approaching it from the perspective of wanting someone else to “fix” me and, and…
2. I had to be ready to stop actively hating (resisting) winter.
And if you’re a winter-hater, why stop? Because hating winter is fun, right? Everyone bonds over it. Just Google “I hate winter” and see what comes up.
But here’s the thing: when I stopped actively hating winter, my anxiety dissipated. Really and truly. While I can’t say the puke phobia thing is completely gone, it’s greatly reduced. It’s a freaking miracle.
So how did I stop hating it?
I stopped talking about hating it, I stopped staying “I hate it,” I stopped complaining about it, and I stopped engaging in conversations with others about hating it. Basically, I stopped focusing on it.
As a result – almost magically it seems – this helped me stop making winter equal anxiety. And as a result of THAT, I am getting more exercise than I would normally get during the winter (even with my frozen shoulder recovery), I am eating well, sleeping better…and so on. And we all know what that means.
Because what I see now (in hindsight, of course), is that the more I hated (and complained about) winter, the more anxious I got, and the more anxious I got, the more I hated (and resisted) winter.
Resistance is the fuel of anxiety.
P.S. I don’t love winter. I don’t gush with joy over a forecast for yet more snow. That I was able to stop hating winter during this specific winter (which has been one worst in recent memory), is especially notable. Like Martha suggests, instead I focus on the invincible summer within.
“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” ~ Albert Camus
What are you resisting? How’s that working for you?