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Poetic Prescriptions

Poetic Prescriptions

When you have difficulty falling asleep, or feel anxious or depressed, try reading a poem.
The following may work wonders:

For Insomnia: Hymm to the Night, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
A Ballad of Dreamland, by Algernon Charles Swinburne
To Sleep, by William Wordsworth
Oft, in the Stilly Night, by Thomas Moore
Night, by John Whitaker
To Sleep,  by John Keats
La Belle Dame Sans Merci, by John Keats
Annabel Lee,  by Edgar Allan Poe
Tintern Abbey, by William Wordsworth

For Anxiety: Anxiety, by Paul F. Whitaker
I’m Nobody! Who are You?  by Emily Dickinson
The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost
The Day is Done, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Song of Myself,  by Walt Whitman
She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways, by William Wordsworth

For Depression:  Today, by Thomas Carlyle
Light Shining Out of Darkness, by William Cowper
The Chambered Nautilus, by Oliver Wendell Holmes
On His Blindness, by John Milton
Ode to the West Wind, by Percy Bysshe Shelley
The Eternal Goodness, by John Greenleaf Whittier

Shy or Introverted?

It seems that many people who struggle with anxiety, particularly social
anxiety, have a shy or introverted temperament. I recently read this interesting
and informative article that explains the difference between shyness and
introversion as well as presenting a positive perspective on these characteristics.
In the United States it is considered a plus to be extroverted, outgoing and
aggressive or assertive in order to be successful. People who do not have these
characteristics often feel lacking, as if something is wrong with them for preferring
to spend an evening alone instead of going to a party. If you identify with this, I
think you will find this article to be encouraging.
Take a Deep Breath

By now you know the importance of deep breathing for calming anxiousness.
Here are a few tips that can be very helpful:

–        Make sure that your exhalation is longer than the inhalation. This will
help prevent the lightheadedness that people sometimes feel after
deep breathing for a few minutes.

–        Another way to facilitate a deep breathing practice is to make a simple
sound like “ah” or “e-i-e-i-o”. To make these sounds you have to take
a deep breath.

–        If you have difficulty taking a deep breath while sitting up, it may be easier
initially to practice while lying down.

Book Recommendation

Ultra Calm is a book I heard on CD written by Dr. Mark Hyman. It focuses on
how to deal with stress, tension, anxiety and difficult thoughts. It has many good
ideas and tips that can be useful as well as a relaxation exercise. I would not
recommend this for someone struggling with panic attacks or a severe anxiety
disorder. It is more appropriate for someone diagnosed with generalized anxiety.

Parting Words

From Dr. Seuss: “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one
alive who is youer than You.”