Can self-discipline influence and improve your feeling? Today, I sit here on my 215 square feet apartment with my second coffee cup with a teaspoon of Matcha Green Tea from The Superfood Grocer. On most days, I restrain myself from having a second cup because of my palpitations, but today is different. Today I want to talk about self-control activities, and that’s why I need this second cup of coffee.
Self-discipline is a vague term manifested through perseverance, restraint of oneself, commitment, all of which boils down to one thing — passing up on immediate gratification in favour of immersing oneself in effort-and-time-comprised activities that will yield satisfying results in the future time.
However, for someone struggling with anxiety, the negligence of self-control relieves stress on the surface level and creates an illusion of peace and calm. In fact, I am no different. Whenever I am bothered by anxious thoughts, I find that taking a step away from my supposed tasks for the day induces an instant sedating effect, but the problem is that guilt comes into play by the end of the day.
Today, I want to share my three self-control activities with you that I use as a solid guide to keeping myself from lounging around too much because guilt-before-bed is something we don’t want to accompany us in our sleep.
The self-control activities to help you ease stress
Develop a morning ritual.
The morning ritual for me specifically is where my structure for the day lies, and for me to get the most out of my day, I have to control myself from deviating away from it.
The beauty of having a morning ritual is that we have a clear idea of what will happen soon as we wake up. In addition, it lessens the overthinking about future concerns because when we have a set of activities laid out for the day, this leads us into a mindset that the day is ours and we are somehow in control.
I recommend you start with morning rituals, maybe two or three activities you will be willing to commit to. It doesn’t have to be productive; it can be as simple as 10-jumping jacks, morning coffee, and then shower. That’s it, three-morning activities that will serve as a walking stick for us to start the day.
Help yourself improve.
This one I’ve pondered for a long time, but I concluded that setting aside activities that will help us improve ourselves will help in alleviating anxiety. Why? Because it all boils down to the basics, humans are the most evolved species on the planet, and it is in our DNA to keep growing, keep expanding and keep learning new things, adjusting whenever the need arises.
You don’t necessarily have to enrol in an online class, although that is a good idea if that is what you want. I suggest you start with something small, something that’s just natural for us to be doing while spending time inside our homes, like, for example, spending three hours on Youtube. Why not, instead of clicking-through cat videos, give yourself a chance to watch a culinary show or something about DIY home decors, or if you’re feeling it, TED Talks.
When I resigned from my corporate job back in 2018, I was in shock for a while because it was the single most terrifying decision I have ever made up to date. For a couple of weeks, I would stay inside my apartment, staring blankly at the ceiling, making friends with shadows on my wall — literally from the lyrics of the song Unwell by Matchbox Twenty.
It was an emotional disaster until I decided to control things a little bit. I began watching craft videos, and somehow, they led me to crochet tutorials. The next thing I knew, I was on fire, launching a crochet blog on Instagram and connecting with potential clients who would be willing to pay me in exchange for handmade crochet bikinis, and it felt good. It was as if a new trail appeared in front of me, which I can follow and prevent me from walking in circles.
Exhale, breathe it out.
Writing a journal is one of those activities that I am personally struggling with even now. The reason is that when I try to write things down about my day, I feel like my hands are slowing me down. So soon as I decide to sit down, grab a pen, and write my thoughts, words flood out, and with my writing, my hands can’t keep up, and eventually, I stop.
So I tried another way, e-journal, in which I open a blank document on my laptop, and I type.
Whenever we are filled with so much thought about the things in our life, past, and future, we are somehow on a prolonged inhaling. As a result, we keep acquiring and nurturing negative ideas and stressing us out most of the time. But, remember, a person can only take so much.
We need to exhale, breathe things out, and one of the best ways to do it is to give our thoughts form, shape, and colour to capture them into words.
Self-control, self-discipline, or however you want to call it most of the time, is a terrifying word for anxious people because it demands commitment. This is one thing that an emotionally driven person would find difficult to sustain.
The trick here lies in how well you know yourself. If you want to work out, but the gym is a place full of people and sounds intimidating for you, then do so at home. If the exercise routine is too dull, play a Black Pink song, dance to it. Getting in shape is not limited to signing up for a gym membership.
Routine, as they say, is deadly and discipline is a word we associate with things that we grudgingly have to stay committed to, but there are ways around it. We don’t have to copy exactly what others do. Do what is working for you, and you will see that discipline is not a stiff word after all; routine, if turned into calm-inducing self-control activities, is not deadly. Stick to staying who you are. You, do you.