Hello again, @why
The DBT skills I learned have been helpful to reduce stress.
Acknowledging a feeling without analyzing it is something I’ve been practicing more lately. Allowing myself to feel the emotion without pushing it away, but at the same time, not clinging to it. Later, after I’m more calm, I sometimes try to figure out why I had that feeling and how I might prevent it in the future. It works best for me when I have no distractions, or when I’m meditating. Other times, if I’m able, I just close my eyes for a minute and bring my attention to the emotion to acknowledge it, and hopefully, haha… let it go.
I do some simple stretching exercises. I notice I get a more immediate effect of stress reduction and mood elevation than I do from other types of exercise. I wouldn’t call it yoga, I don’t stretch or work out to the point of discomfort, but just basic warm-up stretches. I don’t believe in “no pain no gain”. Working out or stretching for just 5 minutes a day is better than none at all, in my opinion.
Reading. Sometimes I can concentrate ok on what I’m reading, other times not so much. Depending on my mood or how fast my thoughts are going, I’ll either switch to a different book, or just read without worrying what I remember, knowing that my mind is more focused now that I’m reading, and it’s good brain exercise. Sometimes I’ll reread a paragraph when I notice that I don’t remember any of it. Other times, I will just continue.
I started learning to play the piano five years ago. It’s easier to play when I’m more relaxed. But sometimes when my thoughts are swinging about like monkeys, I’ll play a simple tune and then proceed to music more complex.
With regard to your anxiety, does your doctor ever suggest you log any mood changes when switching medication? I assume he or she has informed you that sometimes medication can increase anxiety. Years ago, I had been on Stelazine, a tricyclic. I had been on it for about 2 years. My doctor suggested I increase the dose from 2mg to 4mg to help with some increased stressors I’d been experiencing. I don’t remember how long after that, I’ll guess about 1 or 2 weeks, my anxiety worsened to a level that I had not experienced before. I called my doctor to report that my anxiety was very high, and she advised me to go from 4mg to 6mg. I told her “ok”. But after I got off the phone with her, it occurred to me that my anxiety became worse after the first increase. So I decided to go back to 2mg. After a day or two, my anxiety was much more manageable again. It was very strange, because Stelazine is categorized as a “conventional or typical” antipsychotic, often prescribed to reduce anxiety. I have no way of knowing of course, but I feel that my brain and body may have been fighting the sedating effects.