Tuesday, 3 September 2019

8 healthy ways to cope with feeling unsettled

Hand drowning in a water
Photo by Nikko Macaspac on Unsplash
Our minds are strange. One minute, you may be catching up on your favourite shows, sipping on a hot beverage without a care in the world, and then all of a sudden, dread appears out of nowhere, ruining your day and plans. Feeling unsettled is a common occurrence, I experience it quite often.
For a lot of people, unsettlement belongs in the same family of feelings as anxiety. After all, unsettlement can produce unnecessary worries. Experiencing unsettlement can also lead to unwanted physical sensations, for instance, chest pains or sweaty palms.

For me, unsettlement can be benign, it can lurk around in my brain for weeks without my awareness of its existence. I'm not sure whether unsettlement should be classified as anxiety or a symptom of anxiety. You know yourself best, so it's up to you to define your experience of unsettlement.

Instead of being controlled by unsettlement, you can approach this restlessness using a rational rather than a destructive approach. If you are confused or unsure of how to deal with this sudden dread, I got your back! In this post, I will share the best ways of coping with unsettlement.

1. Think about the causes of the unsettlement experience

While this is easier said than done, try to think about where your unsettlement could be rooted in. It is common to not be sure about the why of our negative experiences. Sometimes deep digging is required to figure it out. 

Have you got any upcoming plans? Are you unhappy about your career or life in general? Maybe you are comparing your life with other people too much? Or perhaps, you lack order and routine? 

Try to communicate your ideas and thoughts freely in a journal. Don't worry about being wrong or right. Stop focusing on guilt and shame, engage in expressive activity. 

Here are some writing pointers to help you out:

- What thoughts/emotions am I experiencing right now? 
- What physical sensations am I experiencing right now? 
- What could be bothering me? 
- What am I worried about? 
- If I could change something in my life, what would I change? 
- Am I happy with myself, if not, why? 
- What do I want the most right now? 

Focus on understanding the experience better. Sometimes, causes of unsettlement may be abstract, based on your childhood, past experience and relationships. They could exist outside of the present moment.

If you focus on understanding, rather than avoidance, the answers will resurface to your mind. When you pinpoint the causes underlying the unsettlement, it will be easier to cope with your emotions. 

2. Engage in behaviours that make you feel good

When you feel unsettled, engaging in positive behaviours may not feel as good as it used to be. You may feel distanced from activities that you used to enjoy. Nevertheless, instead of avoiding these activities, you should embrace them with open arms. 

Behavioural activation is a useful tool used in behavioural therapy to help people with depression. This intervention believes that exposure to behaviours and activities can act as positive reinforcement. 

Doing an activity can also help you to allocate your energy to something positive. Similarly, if you ever feel dread or unsettlement engaging in behaviours will help you to cope, even if these activities do not feel good at first, they are still a fantastic distraction. 

Remember, that you don't have to climb mountains or do extraordinary things! Try to view behavioural engagement as a process, you don't have to be great at it straight away. Practice, resilience and, determination are key.

3. Avoid paying too much attention to your feelings 

Focusing on the fact that you feel unsettled or uneasy, will not lead you to be more content. In fact, paying too much attention to your feelings can lead to a negative cycle of over-thinking. You know, thinking of worst-case scenarios. 

Do not be consumed by negativity, instead of being consumed by negative thoughts and the sensation of unsettlement, try to think about the experience in a more rational sense. 

4. Try to do something spontaneous 

Sometimes to really kick ourselves back up from unsettlement, the best thing to do is going against all plans and routines. Sometimes we need to be shaken up from what we are used to. 

Whether it's going to a different place for food, meeting a friend you haven't seen for a while or travelling home via another route. Being spontaneous can bring excitement to your life. Sometimes dread can arise from being stuck in a routine and doing the same things over and over again. 

5. Adopt unsettlement as your creative power 

Feelings of unsettlement and dread can be extremely powerful and consume your mind. You have probably heard that negative feeling can actually enhance your creativity by providing you with inspiration. 

Use this experience as your creative power. Express your feelings in an artistically, after all, you are bound to feel better when you are create not when you are self-destructive. 

6. Stop putting off your responsibilities 

Unsettlement can be rooted in practical problems that you have avoided to solve, for instance, unpaid bills, phone calls that you need to make - you know the things that make you want to come back to responsibility-free childhood days. 

The more you put off something important - the more it will bother you in your mind. I'm the worst when it comes to putting off phone calls for instance. Instead of putting off responsibilities, work through them and be proactive. 

You may feel unsettled whilst sorting your responsibilities but this unsettlement will be temporary. Being proactive will help you to feel more in control of your life. 

7. Bring some order to your life 

One of the best ways to approach feelings of unsettlement is based on bringing order to your life. Whether it's simply organising your house or engaging in a mental organisation to improve your understanding of where you want to be in life. 

Unsettlement can be caused by uncertainty and the unknown, organising your ideas, goals and wishes can bring more clarity. Write lists, create plans. 

It's far easier to deal with the chaos in your mind if your life is ordered. Of course, life can be unpredictable and you should not be focused on meeting your plans perfectly. Instead, life order can provide you with stability and guide your actions. This means that whenever you feel unsettled, it would be easier for you to know what you need to do next in life.

8. Focus on positive change 

One of the most healthy ways to approach unsettlement is to focus on positive change. Even if your mind is unsettled at this present moment, you are an active agent in bringing positive change to your life. It is up to you what choices you make - whether you choose to do nothing or engage in activities that make you happy. 

The more you feel like you are in charge of your life, the easier it will be to deal with the unwanted unsettlement. 

Here are some healthy ways of dealing with unsettlement. Unsettlement experience can be subjective and depend on your personal circumstances. What is dread-inducing for one, may not be for another.  Nevertheless, I hope you are able to apply these tips to your life. How do you deal with unsettlement and dread? Let me know in the comments section. 

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  1. Sometimes I get hit with homesickness — ranging from minor to severe — and it is a very unsettling feeling. I love these tips so I’ll keep them in mind if/when I get homesick again! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hey Molly, i'm glad that you found this post helpful! Thank you so much for reading.

  3. These are some amazing tips for feeling unsettled and I like that you included a sort of coming to terms with why you feel that way pointer! Thanks for sharing x

    Kayleigh Zara 🌟 http://www.kayleighzaraa.com

  4. Great post. My GAD has made me feel unsettled about literally everything for years. It's only within the last month which I've been on medication for that I've stop dreading everything. But sometimes a feeling of dread or unsettleness will come over me for no reason x


  5. Love this! Often my mind does this to me, dread comes out of nowhere and I feel my chest tightening, it's horrible. I try to take my mind off it and clean, that seems to really help me.

    Jordanne // Thelifeofaglasgowgirl.co.uk


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