Gratitude Interrupts Anxiety

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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 londonΒ last year and it said this:

gratitude interrupts anxiety

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.Β 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?


  1. Elyse

    March 16, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Thanks for keepin’ it real, Chelsea! Glad that saying worked for your anxiety.

    I’m usually a fan of talking myself through each possible scenario BEFORE my anxiety takes over but that isn’t always possible so I’ll have to try the gratitude approach next time. My anxiety is normally around a 2 thanks to self-talk but with this impending move my anxiety has been INSANE this year and is running on a good day at like a 5…so not great.
    Elyse recently posted…10 Awesome Things About Being Married

    • chelsea

      March 16, 2016 at 5:50 pm

      thanks elyse! so sorry your impending move is making your anxiety spike – i definitely felt that too. keep it up with the self-talk and hopefully focus on that it will be temporary and then you’ll feel settled again. thinking of you!

  2. Audrey

    March 16, 2016 at 8:36 am

    I’ve never thought to combat anxiety with gratitude. That’s clever!
    Right now I am thankful that we’re halfway to the weekend. I’m thankful that I have next Thursday & Friday off. And I’m thankful that Lylee has adjusted to our new walk/jog pattern that I’m trying this week!
    Audrey recently posted…Get in Formation

    • chelsea

      March 16, 2016 at 5:52 pm

      it actually works surprisingly well! hoooray for next thursday and friday off – that is such a good feeling!

      GO YOU for new jog/walk pattern – way to go! i need to get back on that…thanks for the inspiration audrey!

  3. Sara

    March 16, 2016 at 11:52 am

    When you struggle with anxiety, thoughts can spiral out of control so quickly. I am thankful that with Easter coming up I will have the chance to spend some time with family and friends that I haven’t seen in awhile.
    Sara recently posted…Why You Need to Stop Comparing Yourself to Other Women

    • chelsea

      March 16, 2016 at 5:53 pm

      so very true sara that anxiety can make thoughts spiral crazily! happy to hear that you are getting together with friends and family for easter, sara! hoooray!

  4. Jennifer Haston

    March 16, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    Nice job, Chelsea! I love that you called your husband first and then in the middle of it, you handled it yourself. some things I am grateful for RIGHT Now?
    1. Being 12 weeks pregnant and not having morning sickness
    2. Having a super awesome boss who not only got excited but cried when I told the news
    3. My team, they have been super sweet and checking on me – I have been quick to reassure them.. I am still me, just plus one.
    Keep the gratitude going Chelsea! I love this post!!

    • chelsea

      March 16, 2016 at 5:54 pm

      eeeeeee i’m SO excited for you jennifer! we shall have to chat first trimester “ughs” and “well that happened” at some point! YAY no more morning sickness! so happy to hear you are receiving so much love and support – that makes me so happy to hear!

  5. Claire

    March 16, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Bleh…anxiety, that little beast! Way to handle it like a star. Great idea to make yourself step back and simply be grateful. P.S. I’m pretty sure my nickname for myself is ‘girl’ (i.e. Girlll what you thinking those things for?) ha!

    What am I grateful for, right in this moment?
    1. That I have hot water boiling for tea
    2. That I have an amazing co-worker who is available to help out 24/7

    • chelsea

      March 18, 2016 at 7:44 am

      haha love that your nickname for yourself is “giiiiirl” claire! that cracked me up!

      hope your tea was delicious and hooray for excellent co-workers!

      thank you for reading my previous post about anxiety πŸ™‚

      • Claire

        March 21, 2016 at 9:06 am

        And thank YOU for always taking the time to respond to your comment-eers (not sure what the noun is for people who comment on blogs haha)

        • chelsea

          March 21, 2016 at 9:51 am

          absolutely! i figure if you are going to take time out of your day not to only read but also comment – i want to show you the same! πŸ™‚ hope you’re having a great day!

          • Claire

            March 21, 2016 at 12:06 pm

            πŸ™‚ Right back at you!

  6. Claire

    March 16, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    P.S.S. I just read your article from 2013 about anxiety…you are so brave for sharing and opening up to your vulnerability. Really inspirational. Thanks for that.

  7. Nina @ Hugs and Lattes

    March 17, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Love love love this. I definitely need to practice more gratitude. Which, I always say that. But it’s always true. I’m grateful for sweaters, water, coffee, and a job even though I just want to curl up in my bed for a nap.
    Nina @ Hugs and Lattes recently posted…13 Things That Happen on NyQuil

    • chelsea

      March 17, 2016 at 11:00 am

      i feel you – it’s easy to say but harder to do so glad you have quite a few things to be grateful for today! hope you are feeling better nina!

  8. Rachel G

    March 17, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    Aww man, I guess I’d say at the moment I’m really grateful I’ve never had to deal with a parking situation like that at my own home! I guess your part of America must be pretty crowded–I’ve only ever lived in small-town America in MI, KY, and TX, and I totally view it as the country of awesome parking. haha! Glad you found somewhere in the end!
    Rachel G recently posted…My Best Life Isn’t Now

    • chelsea

      March 18, 2016 at 12:25 pm

      that is a good thing to be grateful for rachel – apparently denver is the #1 spot people are moving to so yes….crowded and anxiety provoking!

  9. Edye

    March 18, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    Such a good post! Next time I get really bad anxiety I’ll think of things I’m grateful for. Right now I’m grateful for my health, education, food, clothes, family, and Jesus πŸ™‚

    Edye // Gracefulcoffee
    Edye recently posted…2016 Goals

    • chelsea

      March 21, 2016 at 9:52 am

      those are all excellent things to be grateful for edye! sometimes it’s the simplest things that can reset us πŸ™‚

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