Gratitude Interrupts Anxiety
i spent last night spending time with my grandparents and sister, who are all visiting from out of town. it was mellow and fun and i was in a relaxed state for my 20 minute drive home with my little dog asleep in the passenger seat.
as i pulled up to our new apartment, i noticed that all the parking spots were taken along the street where i usually park directly in front of our door.
i thought to myself “don’t stress, chelso! there are 3 big parking lots and you will find a spot nearby.” you have a nickname for yourself, don’t you? i listened to myself and slowly started circling the lots. twice. three times. not one spot was available and then i started to get anxious.
my thoughts turned to “where the hell am i supposed to park?! does everyone own 2 or 3 cars who lives here?! who designed this!? i hate this place. i’m going to have to park 5 miles away in an abandoned lot and then sugar and i are going to be murdered on our long hike back to our home. this is horrible. i can’t do this…blah blah blah” thanks anxiety.
i frantically called my husband (who is currently out of town) and started on my anxious path of telling him about the stupid parking situation and i had no idea what to do. he was doing his best to console my anxious mind and as i continued to circle, hoping that someone had to leave at 9:45pm, an image popped into my head.
i saw a postcard when we were in london last year and it said this:
i took a deep breath, told my husband i would call him back and started paying attention to the things that were working right at that moment.
the list included:
- a safe and reliable car with enough gas to circle for hours
- sugar was behaving
- i didn’t have to pee
- if i really had to, i could park at the DMV and walk .3 miles home
- i was healthy
- i could get my mind to see some positives even in a stressful situation
that little post card saying worked. my anxiety slowly started to have less of a grasp on me. i actually became proud of myself for being able to get my mind slightly above what can feel like a drowning in a pool of anxiety. this hasn’t always been the case for me and my anxiety.
i eventually parked somewhere that feels very illegal in front of another car along a curb within the parking lot. i did not get murdered and sugar happily walked with me until we reached our humble abode. we made it!
the next time you are feeling anxious or getting overly stressed out, i would encourage you to come up with at least three things that you can express gratitude towards. it does seem to interrupt the negative thought pattern that can so easily take over.
on this new day i am grateful for sunshine, being in control of my work schedule and that this little baby inside me is now 16 weeks old!
give it a whirl – what are a few things you are grateful for at this exact moment?