th2I’m going to come clean. I’m a worrier. I always have been. My recent unfounded worries were that Frankie would get us kicked out of my new apartment for barking and that he would be exposed as an illegitimate service dog and asked to leave some store and never come back. Of course, neither has happened. In fact, Frankie proves every day just how legitimate and well-behaved a service dog he really is. Turns out, I’m the only person who needed convincing. But how well Frankie’s adjusting to urban life is the subject of another post.

In the spirit of going with the flow, I’m putting that topic on hold in the event someone out there needs to hear what I’ve decided about worry. It’s pointless. I’m fully aware that saying and understanding that is the easy part. Being able to practice that concept, on the other hand, takes, well … practice. Feel free to borrow what works for me.th4

First, credit goes out to my mom, who’s been reminding me how futile my worry is ever since I can remember. And I’ve learned, with her help, that the best antidote to worry (or troublesome, negative thinking of any kind) is gratitude. Get in the habit, as she is, of writing down what you’re thankful for at the end of each day. It changes your mindset.

th1 Staying in the present helps me when I fall into a ‘what if’ state of mind. For what is worry if not obsessive future thinking? And no one knows the future. So again, what’s the point? It’s a fine line, however, between staying in the present and not planning for the future or making goals. I like setting goals and daydreaming about how great my future’s going to be. I can usually sense when the scales begin to tip, though. Like when I’m so busy making a to-do list on my phone that I forget to look up and appreciate that Frankie and I are in the park on a beautiful sunny day. As I said, it’s a fine line.

Or you can always fall back on my last resort solution to constant worry. To stop going over and over some problem in my mind, I’ve taken to humming the tune from Frozen. You know, let it go, let it go. But in song. Hey, I said it was a last resort. But it works. It’s just silly enough to snap your brain out of it.

If nothing else works, keep this in mind. In the weeks that led up to my brain hemorrhage, I was close to depression, consumed with worry. Not about the mass in my head (which I knew about,) but as crazy as it sounds, with financial woes and silly romantic problems. Sound familiar? I mean, how ridiculous is that? Here I was, 36-years-old, on top of the world, only I didn’t know it. I couldn’t even fathom feeling grateful in my situation. But guess what? I was about to have real problems. Whatever you perceive your problems to be – they could get worse too. Or better. Maybe you’re about to win the lottery. Who knows? So why spend your time stressing over money and ruining tonight? Of course I wish I’d spent more evenings walking on the beach instead of worrying on my couch in front of the TV – heck, I can do that now! But, I don’t. Or try not to. So, take it from someone who’s gained a little perspective in life. Stop worrying, go walk the beach and buy a lottery ticket. Tomorrow could be your lucky day.cat

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