Snowballers vs. Dwellers

Recently I was talking with a few of my girl friends about, you guessed it, our feelings. We came to a realization that there are 2 types of anxiety. Snowballers and dwellers. Snowballers think about the future and start to spiral around the idea of what could happen if x, y, and z were to happen consecutively. Dwellers, well, they dwell. They focus on the past or something that has happened and every possible thought that could be thought about that moment. It’s falling straight into the hole rather than starting slow and building yourself up. Some of us are both.

Personally, I am a dweller. I get a literal pit in my stomach and I fixate on what’s happened to me and what’s bothering me for a long time. I let it breathe through me until I become someone I’m not. Being someone who generally can be read like a book, my friends always know when I’m feeling this form of anxiousness. I lose focus, my eyes go in different directions and I vaguely answer questions because I’m only half listening. Just writing these words down and thinking about things that make me anxious right now is giving me this feeling. The trick, that I have yet to find, is how to make this go away.

A little of what I’ve learned dealing with these issues as a dweller is that it’s important that you bring yourself back to the now. When you dwell, your mind allows you to be swallowed by the could bes and what ifs. This is no way to think about the past. Why? Because you physically cannot change what you have done or said. When I’m feeling upset about something that I already did I have to continuously remind myself that it has been done and what is going to happen will happen. You can’t change that but you can shape your mind to remember that things will be okay, eventually. They might even be okay immediately after.

One of my New Year’s resolutions this year is actually to be less impulsive. I can’t even begin to think about all the times I’ve sent a text immediately after becoming upset and regretting every stupid word that I typed. This is what causes my dwelling. I type or spit something out that I really shouldn’t have and then all I can think about is what the outcome would be had I not said it. It’s consuming and draining and something that I personally need to work on.

Whether you’re a snowballer or a dweller, I think all of us suffer from some sort of anxiety at one point or another and it’s important to remind yourself that it won’t last forever. You may feel that way continuously but it’s up to you to seek the help you need. Changing your thoughts and shaping your own mind are not easy tasks so try different ways to control it. Yoga, journaling, drinking chamomile tea, taking a bath, talking to someone, a professional or just a friend, are just a few inexpensive ways to help. Whatever you choose, it’s okay that it is happening to you. Sometimes life is messy and our brains don’t cooperate but there are ways to be better. Hopefully this can give at least one person some solace.

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