Thinking Small to Quell Anxiety
Driving home from celebrating our Pasadena grandson’s first birthday, my husband told me he was feeling anxious.
“Why?” I asked.
“For so many reasons,” he replied, then rattled off a list of concerns, which included events and situations months in the future.
“You’re worried about all of that?” I asked, incredulous. “But most of those are months away.”
“I know. But once I start worrying,” he told me, “I can’t stop, and I move from what’s right in front of me to anything and everything I can think of.”
As he talked, I realized that my husband could have been describing the way my mind worked several years ago. In those days, once my anxiety was triggered, I was off and running, my mind making broader and broader sweeps as it gathered up one worry after another.
It was only when I learned to think small that I was able to clean out all the dust and debris my mind had been gathering for years and focus on what was right ahead of me.
“Is there anything you need to be anxious about right now?” I asked my husband.
“Not right this minute,” he said.
We were driving on I-5, and were surrounded by soft hills that had turned an emerald green from the rains. “Look outside. Do you like what you see?” I asked him.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it,” he answered.
“Is that beauty anything you need to worry about?” I asked.
“I see,” he laughed. “You’re right. At the moment, all I need to think about is those hills and that beautiful green.”