Little ways to eclipse anxiety

I am a profoundly anxious person. I am easily ruined if my routine is disturbed, easily consumed by the various worries I collect.

Guion goads me to release my anxieties, and I want to, more than I can say. But I will always be an anxious person at heart. I will never be the kind of woman who would let her dog run around off leash or walk on a slimy riverbed barefoot or trust her own instinct with directions or cook without following a recipe. Sadly. (She sounds like a nice woman, and I’m sure I’d love to be her friend and envy her personal freedom.) Rather, I am the kind of woman who makes compulsive lists so that she can cross things off; who schedules free time in hourly increments; who takes excessive notes in any lecture; who remembers obligations, appointments, and debts with nigh sacred devotion.

But. To bend my will and to step out of this anxious frame, I have discovered that there are small things I can do in a day to improve my mental state and ward off anxiety.

If I begin to feel the creeping fingers of anxiety, I like to

  • Clean the kitchen, paying special attention to polishing the counters and cleaning the floor
  • Make the bed
  • Write a letter
  • Finish a book
  • Start a book
  • Take the dogs on a walk
  • Examine my plants in the front yard and clear out weeds
  • Look at flowers, tend to my orchids
  • Mentally recite the scripture I still remember
  • Make a list
  • Throw things away
  • Recall Japanese words and phrases
  • Take notes on a good book, even if I will never look at said notes again
  • Mow the lawn

These things have been perpetual antidotes, soothing balms. I am not ashamed to say that I rely on such simple actions to restore me to equilibrium.

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