A Brief Tale of Anxiety

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This morning I awoke at 11:10, after getting about nine and a half hours of sleep. The longer I was awake, the more my mind tried to tell me that I was behind, and that I wouldn’t catch up, and that my checklist streak would be broken.

The more it starting obsessing on that thought, the more anxious I became, to the point that I needed to do a grounding exercise in order to get control of my mind again. I do the  “5 sights / 4 sounds / 3 touches / 2 smells / 1 taste” grounding exercise, and this time I instigated it myself, something of a rarity for me. (Usually my wife notices I need it before I do and starts the exercise on my behalf. She’s observant like that. Hell, she’s observant to the point that she knows I have a headache before I do.) By the time I finish with the grounding exercise, I’m interjecting humor into my responses. This time it happened just after brushing my teeth after breakfast, so when we got to taste (she took over asking the questions after I started in announcing what I could see) the only think I could taste was MINT, so I just blew gently in her face as a response. She put a mock look of shock and awe on her face and said in a croaking voice “Minty!” and by that point I was feeling much better.

The anxiety came back after she left for work, so I did something new to try and alleviate it. I started playing a computer game, forcing myself to push the anxiety to the back burner in order to accomplish something completely irrelevant. Once I had reached a certain point (I finished a particular instanced mission) I let myself take a break and tackle the stuff that my brain was telling me I should. It seems somehow counter-intuitive to switch the roles of leisure and productivity, but it seems to work well for me when the anxiety deals with my lack of overproductivity.

Anyway, I’m back on track, feeling like my day is better balanced than it was when I awoke this morning. On to bigger and better things!

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