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Thursday, November 03, 2011

Do you worry too much?

When I was twenty seven, I felt inexplicably sad and couldn't shrug off my "funk," so I went to a therapist for a few months. After I'd settle into one of the many armchairs in her cozy office, she would stare at me and just wait for me to start talking. It was kind of awkward...but talk I did! I told her how I worried about my job, my family, my friends, my dating life, random passersby on the street...I was plagued by my worries!

And she told me the BEST thing ever...

Picture that the Grand Canyon is your life--your past, present and future. Start envisioning the various parts of your life within the canyon: Over there is the day you were born, your third-grade choir performance, your job as a babysitter. Picture your present: There's your apartment, your friends, your mom, the book you're reading right now. Picture your future: There's your next vacation, the love of your life, your future children, the Top Chef finale. :)

Now, my therapist told me, picture the enormous Grand Canyon and drop your worry into it. Whatever you're worrying about--your cranky boss, your dating life, a salty comment from a friend--will be barely visible. "See how tiny it looks?" she says. Suddenly your problem will seem much, much smaller in comparison to the grand course of your huge, rich, long life.

Brilliant, right? Since then, I've done the Grand Canyon visualization trick (many times), and it really works.

Are you a worrier, too? What's on your mind right now? How are you feeling these days--good, bad, ok? When it comes to worrying, we can really nail it sometimes:) xoxo
P.S. Remember Anxiety Girl? Also, my elevator phobia.

(Grand Canyon photos by Adam Schallau and via Famous Tourisms. Illustration by Natalie Dee)

338 comments:

1 – 200 of 338   Newer›   Newest»
Girlie Blogger said...

Excellent idea. Oh yes. Big worrier here.

www.geekettegazette.com
www.thegirlieblog.com

M. said...

such a great post! thank you!

Belle on Heels said...

i am queen of the worry people! this is SUCH fabulous advice. thanks for sharing :)

Claire Star said...

What a great idea - to visualize the Grand Canyon enveloping all our problems! I've recently started going to a therapist, and I've found it really helpful for depression and anxiety, as well. If only everyone was able to go to a weekly therapy appointment - I bet the world would be a calmer, more rational place. Too bad it costs so much! Thanks for this, Joanna!

Leslie said...

Thank you for this! I'm 26 and in a similar "funk." I'm going to try this trick.

Becca said...

Raises hand. I'm a big worrier too.

My therapist offered a great piece of advice to me when I was being too hard on myself. She asked me what I would say to a friend, if he or she presented a similar fear/neurosis/thought to me. Would I tell my friend the same things I say to myself? No, right? That was a huge breakthrough for me, and now I often turn to the friend rule when trying to get out of a funk or worrying about why I'm not doing X a certain way.

Becca

Pour l'amour de la vie said...

This is outstanding....you actually can visualize how great your life is in comparison to worries......I am going to carry this with me....Thank you so much for posting

Tiffany @ Savor Home said...

It's like you read my mind today. Thank you.

Melissa Blake said...

I had a pretty bad bout with depression last year, and have also been seeing a therapist. It really does help. thanks for the inspiring post!!

Meg said...

I find this post so beautiful and helpful. I really appreciate you sharing.

HiLLjO said...

I can totally see how that works! Puts things into perspective. My mantra for this kind of thing is "everything happens for a reason."

Joanna you are SO beautiful, BTW!

Rebecca said...

I needed to hear this. Thank you for sharing!

City Girl Chicago said...

such good words here, thank you! I worry about my worry lines, that's how small my worries are... but of course, they seem large to me :)

Briana said...

Beautiful visualization! My current worry (and I try to shut it off ALL the time) is about my baby growing inside of me. I hope she is healthy and strong and that I am ready to be a mother and that labor won't be too difficult and that I'll transition from a working woman to a stay-at-home mom.... see? I worry a lot.

I'll try this visualization next time I get in a downward worry spiral. Thanks.

Sara said...

This is great. I'm going to start trying this!

Tay said...

i love this! i have some pretty big anxiety issues -- no panic attacks or anything, but i do get really concerned and worried a lot, mostly about plans for my future. as a college senior, everything's kind of up in the air! thanks for this, i'll absolutely give it a shot.

Angela [Simply Simple Me] said...

This is a really good way to make things more tangible and it give you a way you can see your anxiety. Truly inspiring.

Robyn said...

I am a total worrier-my mum reminds me to just live-now-but sometimes the it can just swamp you. Taking time to breathe in yoga helps!

Alyssa said...

That is an amazing way to put your anxiety into perspective. I will definitely use this when I need to and see if it helps me. I can't imagine that it wouldn't help though - it makes perfect sense.

Thank you for sharing, your blog is terrific!

Diane Cayton-Hakey said...

Sometimes not worrying is simply a matter of getting older. With each decade of my life I have worried less and enjoyed life more. Hey! There are some advantages to growing older all you young whipper snappers.....

Anonymous said...

I'm 28... landed a great job that I'm not sure that I'm cut out for (hint: involves sales). The worry to perform takes comes over me so intensely so that I don't actually end up building the pieces I need to be successful... I'm just worried about the sale, the closing instead of following up, giving a really nice phone call to suggest that what I'm selling would be a good idea, relating to my clients in a way that makes them realize that i am sincere, etc. There is all of this pressure around sales that keeps everyone on their toes all of the time, this necessary "sales worry".

In the bigger scheme of things, all of those little pieces are way more important than the end sale -- because they make the sale worthwhile. It is like you end up co-creating the sale in the end with your client. I think that you have to imagine that if you are doing everything right (within reason) sales will happen.

It is difficult to trust that though.

The Grand Canyon trick is the same idea, I think -- maybe I'll put it in a more sales-y light. Thanks!

penelope said...

what a serendipitous day to have read this post. the photos are staggering, too. (getting older helps a lot, too :))

Lauren Kent said...

I worry a lot, and it annoys people, but I just can't help it!

Kersey Campbell said...

I'm a huge worrier. So much in fact that I get migraines from it!

Kristin said...

I love this post. Thank You!

Victoria said...

Reading this couldn't have come at a better time.

Thank you.

Rachel said...

I love this idea! I'm a horrible worrier as well. I'm going to try this out and see if it works. I ended up giving myself anxiety attacks around 25/26 and going to a therapist to figure those things out. Thanks for sharing this, I think it's wonderful.

Cam said...

Such a great idea! I ask myself if things will matter in an hour, tomorrow, a year, etc. Perspective helps!

There is nothing better than seeing a therapist/counselor. My husband and I regularly attend marriage counseling - not because we have problems (of course we do, we're human), but because we really value an honest, objective opinion - preventative medicine now rather than emergency surgery later.

Anonymous said...

Great advice! I am a worrier too and I have a hard time letting go. I will have to try this trick next time. Thanks for sharing.

Miki's scrapbook said...

Awe, it really did me good to read this; thanks a lot! ;)

Hope you're having a nice day!

Miki.

anna said...

I am such a worrier! When I gave birth to my first son I was paralyzed by anxiety.(In hindsight I perhaps should have sought treatment. I didn't realize post partum anxiety was an actual treatable condition.) I am much less anxious now, but I know I worry about him in excess. I think mostly because every milestone for him is also a first for me. He is sensitive and somewhat introverted so, of course, I worry whether he will make friends easily, or if he will be liked, or if he could be a target for bullying. I have a second son and, (surprise, surprise) I do not worry about him at all! Then I wonder if my first son, Miles, picks up that I worry about him and, in turn, is more anxious because of this. And now I have a vicious worry circle! I know I worry too much about this and I am most definitely going to try the Grand Canyon visualization. Thanks for sharing it!

Quindome said...

Yeah, worrying is my superpower. It must be in the air because all I can do today is worry if my thesis committee will approve my stuff to graduate! Love the grand canyon idea.

Lindja said...

wonderful post! Thank you

Wendy said...

I sincerely thank you for passing this on. I don't worry about everything but enough stuff that it brings me down or keeps me awake at night... So much so that I force myself to get centered. Looking forward to using this exercise.

Diana Mieczan said...

My Balazs says that I worry too much at times and this sounds like a very good tip. Totally going to try it out next time:) Thanks, Joanna. Have a wondeful day. xo

Kate @ Wit + Delight said...

i'm a chronic worrier too. thanks for sharing this tip with us!

i've been in therapy for a few months now and i've come to realized how badly i i've been treating myself. i think everybody could benefit from the experience!

Kate @ Wit + Delight said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carried Away said...

Omg Joanna you touched me with this post, because over the last few months I worried a lot and unfortunately I'm not over that phase. My biggest worry is that I won't find another job...I quit my job in my home country to follow my husband in our new adventure in a new country and since May this year I wasn't able to find a job. There were a lot of issues: working permit, bad economy, new job market but still, even if I knew it won't be easy, I still worry a lot. I am a very lucky person because I have a lot to be thankful for but I can't help felling that this job thing is making my life incomplete. It sucks but I can't seem to find balance and to keep in mind that in life there so many more important things than a job...maybe the Grand Canyon image will help me achieve this :) Thanks for sharing. Hugs, A.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing this. I've been a worrier my whole life and it's something I would really like to work on. I love the grand canyon idea. I'll try it!

Catherine Masi said...

Wonderful. Thank you.
(Anxiety Girl is a crack up. I showed my husband and he just kept nodding, "Yep, that's you!". Oh boy... )

Liliana said...

I try not to worry but I'm 7 months pregnant and I feel like worrying comes with the territory. Plus he is apparently little in size and I now have to go to the doctors office twice a week to check his little heart rate. So, not worrying right now is not an option. Maybe I will try that trick after he is born. Thanks.

Kat said...

I'm a worrier from way back. When I was little my grandfather said I was a worrywart, just like him (darn genes).

Last night I had a migraine that medication wasn’t fixing as quickly as I would like. My thought process:
- Maybe it's not a migraine, maybe it's an aneurysm or a stroke.
- I should wake my husband. He can tell me if my face is sagging. I should warn him in case I die in my sleep.
- He’ll think I’m nuts.
- I should check on the baby again.
- Maybe the medication was bad and therefore ineffective.
- I should take another dose. Maybe that’s too much.
- I don’t want to go the emergency room alone, but if my husband came we’d have to take the baby.
-What’s the co-pay on an emergency room trip?
- I should drink more water.

Eventually the migraine got better, I feel asleep, and I didn’t die. Yet.

Alice said...

I have major anxiety issues... it seems to be the thing to have in your mid twenties. I've heard there is such thing as a "quarter-life crisis" and if it's real, I'm pretty sure I'm going through it! I'll try the Grand Canyon trick next time I start to panic. I have a real problem keeping things in perspective. My poor husband...

a.m. said...

i appreciate this post more then you know! a born worrier - i got it from my mama ;) - i grew up an anxious little girl who loved life, but was always so concerned, so serious, so much older than everyone else.
as a teen - this constant need to worry plagued me every day: worrying about university, worrying about my weight, worrying about finding love. after finding a wonderful psychologist, the worrying calmed.
she has been a foundation in my life. without her words of wisdom, and coping mechanisms ... well, let's not worry about that.
cheers love, to another amazing post!

Jenna Caye said...

This post comes at the best of times. I'm prone to panic attacks and had quite a nasty one yesterday, so this little trick is really REALLY welcomed. Thank you!

Lindsey said...

This post... is amazing. I'm 27.. and I feel so crazy. As if my emotions are out of control. I feel stuck, and not connected to the life i want. But when i step back and really look, i have everything i ever wanted. Thank you for this post. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Molliee said...

I definitely worry too much so thanks for this advice!!

xoxo
molliee

Eme said...

A lot of worries over here! I'm gonna give this trick a chance, but I'm not feeling very confident to be honest...I've actually posted that anxiety girl image in on of my post at one point!
My new project: http://www.etsy.com/shop/EmeFactory

***

Anonymous said...

Using silence. When I was first trained in counseling, I hated it because it was SO awkward but now I see the purpose, and it really does work. Thanks for this excellence visualization technique.

Brigette Olmos-Arreola said...

such a great idea! i've noticed i always worry about the small stuff and my guy worries the big stuff, at least we balance, haha. but this trick seems great for both of us!

Carolina said...

wonderful say! yep, I am the kind of person who worries about worrying to much! lol

Stephanie said...

I love this technique! I worry all the time and when it gets really bad, instead of carrying them around in my mind, I make a worry list in my email (drafts). It seems to help a lot.

Stephanie said...

Great advice. My former therapist used to tell me to not "future trip" about things out of my control. I'm a big "what if-er" and she would remind me that there are too many possibilities to worry only about one. It's good to have a tentative plan, an end goal to work towards, but to not "future trip" and allow myself to be bogged down with anxiety and expectations. It's worked out very well for me. :)

Anonymous said...

This made me break down in tears. No clue why. It just touched me. I'm 21, newly supporting myself, having romantic issues, and was in the ER two days ago. Lot's of worries building up and no one to take care of them except me. That image is beautiful. *sigh*

PoetessWug said...

WOW! :-( I didn't know you were a worrier!...Sometimes I wonder if I have a strong 'Worry' gene, not because I worry too much, but just the opposite! I find that a lot of my friends worry and I seldom do! I kinda figure that somehow it'll all come out alright...That doesn't stop me from talking about it though. That's half of the fun for me...talking about things that someone else could worry about if they had a mind to!...What does that say about me?! O_0

Hannah said...

I am such a worrier!!! I am definitely going to using that Grand Canyon trick. Definitely.

sumslay said...

Ha, I love Kat's comment above.

Wonderful post, Joanna. Yes, worrying and overthinking are some of my strongest qualities, hahaha. I remember even as a shy kid, my mom would shake me off her leg and say, "Go on, it can't eat ya!" I try to think of that whenever I'm scared of doing the smallest things. It's funny, because I'll totally travel alone, but buying a couch stresses me out (hey, it's a big commitment). I was pretty sure buying a house was going to kill me, and I still can't believe so many other people do it. It's. so. scary.

Some of the best advice I've ever had was apparently some I'd given a friend (funny how logical you can be with other's worries, right?). She and her boss had an exchange of emails and he was, we'll say, "stern" with her because she'd made a (non-catastrophic) mistake. She of course was convinced she was getting fired, and doing all the normal freak out stuff we all do. I said, "Is he going to remember that email in a year?" Her, "No." Me, "Then neither should you. Don't let it be a big deal for you when it's not to him." I now try to take my own advice when I get crazy. Does this matter to anyone else? Is it directly going to change my future? Then I usually simmer down.

kerry said...

Thanks for this. I actually welled up a bit after I read this.

Anonymous said...

This is great. I love anxiety girl - I jump to the worst conclusion, too: it's my fault, they don't like me, I'm incompetent. My way of dealing with it is to try to realize that people do and say random things that are not necessarily because of me, but coming from their own weird neuroses. I love the grand canyon view of life and especially the phrase "the grand course of your huge, rich, long life."

Maria said...

this is so timely, i just did a post (http://thegroveblog.tumblr.com/post/12020405966/elsewhere) about my worrying ways. i have a similar technique, but instead of the grand canyon, i imagine myself on a beach in india. i've just started doing it; hopefully the worry lines go away soon.

Christin said...

Yes! I really needed this today. I am a huge worrier--always stressing over whether or not I've said the wrong thing, hurt someone's feelings, made the wrong impression, etc. It's borderline debilitating sometimes.

Katie @ livehalffull said...

This is absolutely amazing! I know the feeling-this is me now at 25! I am going to use this. :)

Laura Trevey said...

I love this ~ I am dumping my worries now :)

xoxo

Sara said...

Hi Joanna,


I too am the queen of worrying, health seems to be playing on my mind lately, although I am from Greece so you can imagine that all this uncertainty about the future is definitely not helping!

mosey said...

I usually try the whole 'we are just small specs in a large universe' approach, but that doesn't always work.

I'm generally a total worry wart but lately it has been more specific, such as nagging questions like "Will I be able to have my first baby at my old age?" And, "If I do have a baby, will the baby be 'typical' or have problems?" It's terrible, really.

Er... that said... I'll definitely try your Grand Canyon approach. :)

Anonymous said...

I think just as women, we tend to doubt and blame ourselves a lot, too. Will definitely try the Grand Canyon approach.

Jesse said...

I'm such a worrywart, always have been. I like your therapist's idea, it helps to think about how all these little things really are little things in the scheme of life.
I'm trying to keep my worrying and anxiety at bay, but it's tough as I'm entering the third trimester and I have so much on mind.

Clara said...

OH how I *love* stuff like this :). I'm a huge advocate of therapy. I' had a therapist when I was going through my parents divorce but we formed such a bond, I kept going back to her every once and a while for little things that cropped up in my life. It's so helpful to have someone who's completely separated from your life!

nicole said...

Thanks for this, Joanna. FREE THERAPY THURSDAY! (I feel so much better.) I'm a big worrier: Health and money are the two things I stress over most often!

Little ways I cope with stress/anxiety: An occasional glass of wine; ladies' night with girl friends. On a bigger scale: I try to practice taking command of things that ARE within my control, for example, if I'm particularly worried about money, I will scale back on superfluous spending. When it comes to my health/wellness, I am now committed to an intense exercise routine. And I am trying to be braver when it comes to scheduling check-ups, like that (scary) appointment with my dermatologist! Things that AREN'T within my control, for instance, my husband's job situation OR my parents' divorce, etc., I need to LET GO OF. I'm officially dropping them into the "Grand Canyon." THANKS again!!!! xo.

p.s. We all know the Curse of 27: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/27_Club

I'm happy I made it to 28 this year!

songbird said...

i have had one of the down days today..spoke to no one,went nowhere..this kinda helped..i am going to call my best friend now

Anonymous said...

ME TOO! I worry about everything. This has been a really stressful year for me too, so things have gotten even more difficult. My fiancé moved to the US with me, we are planning a wedding (in his home country), he is looking for work, I am in graduate school and had my qualifying exams this summer, money is tight, family is far away...

Sometimes I try to tell myself how lucky I am that the big-picture things have all worked out so far (even though sometimes I never believed they would), but I can't hold on to those thoughts. There is always something new to worry about!

Nomadic D. said...

This is a great post, thank you so much! I am a total worrier, though I do find that the happier I feel in general, the more in control of my life I feel, the less I dwell on the small stuff. Doesn't mean I'm immune though, just having a pretty good run lately. Will definitely use the grand canyon trick next time, and I'm pretty sure there'll be one!

http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/

Beth from Tres Bien Ensemble said...

Wonderful advice! In the same vain, I'll never forget the line in the movie "Doubt" when a character asks another to picture taking a pillow to a rooftop, ripping it open and letting the feathers fly out ... then try to collect them all again, that is what a rumor is like.

Both wonderful visuals to think about and help you be a better you!

Lindsay R said...

my mom is and so am i. maybe a girl thing?
thanks for covering this.

Lindsay

Manding. said...

i agree with katie @ livehalffull. at 25 and having a quarterlife crisis. i try to think like this. i try to think that in 5, 10 or 20 years, the things i keep myself awake about today, aren't going to even matter! this is one of the best of your posts :)

jasmine said...

Thanks Jo! that was encouraging and inspiring and all such those! looking forward and living the dream!

benson said...

I was never a worrier until I had children. And not so much when they're babies, toddlers, elementary school...but once they hit high school, college and move out on their own...there isn't a Grand Canyon big enough!
"I can't get a hold of Peter...he must be in the hospital" oh my goodness...it's SO annoying and my kids all think I'm nuts :)

Trina said...

Joanna! I remember a post similar to this on Smitten, except that time the therapist advised something to the effect that all the worries rolling around in your head were "not the story you have to tell yourself." Went searching for that post just the other day, actually. Is this CBT? It sounds really effective.

Joyce said...

Great post! Thank you!

ally (the ruffled lace) said...

i am so positive during the day and i try to be thankful for everything. then at night my mind does not stop racing from worry and anxiety. i'm in university and i fall asleep at 3am to get up at 8am. so much anxiety about everything. i will definitely try this tonight!

LEAH said...

There's nothing good that comes from worrying although it's hard not to do sometimes... Carl Sagan's "Pale Blue Dot" will put things in perspective every time... It's incredibly inspiring and humbling.

erica lorraine scheidt said...

oh jo, this is a good one.

Bronwen said...

I love anxiety girl, it's been my desktop for some time, she makes me feel saner...

Helena said...

THANK YOU! I quit my day job 6 months ago to become a freelancer, and sometimes it takes all my energy to just NOT FREAK OUT. This tip is...really surprisingly great.

Michelle said...

is this what happens to everyone at this age? I feel your late 20's ..should come with a warning label.. like when we were little.. "the terrible two's" hmmm "the tricky late 20's?" doesn't quite have the same ring to it. I'm about to turn 27.. and thats one of my biggest worries...Have I accomplished enough this year to move on to 27?..seeing this wonderful post helps puts my mind at a bit of ease... proof I'm not alone! thank you.

petitor said...

Looking at the picture of Grand Canyon is amazing. But actually being there is miraculous!

Carlen said...

I feel like you just described my current mental state. Above and beyond the fact that my last name is Funk, I've also been in a major one for the past few months. I've finally made an appointment with a therapist and am looking forward to her helping me see the silver lining to all of my worries.

Joanna said...

I love this! What great advice and so so true.

I'm turning 26 in a couple weeks, got married this year and feel like I have no idea where I'm going or what I'm doing, what's next for me and for my husband. I worry that I'll never be able to buy a house because of massive student loan debt I'll have until 2034. I worry that my younger siblings will have babies before me, or that I won't be able to have kids. I worry that I don't know what I want to be and that I'm not on the right path.

My mom's like relax. You have a great husband and a good job. Just enjoy your life. You have so many good things going.

When I find myself worrying about big picture, long-term things I tell myself that everything is great right now and that those things will work themselves out. One thing at a time.

Recently I've been worried about our car and that it will need some expensive repairs. The Grand Canyon method is perfect to apply here. In three years, or even next year, this will not even be a blip on my radar.

Thank you so much for this post. I'm sure I'll use it often.

Katie Baba Nielson said...

i worry about the future- work, babies, money, travel, and how all these things fit into the future.

thesicklychild said...

I'm a chronic worrier, so thanks for this!

Diana Teodoro said...

I can't even begin to say how much I worry! I've always been like this and I think I always will! That Grand Canyon idea looked great at first, but then I started thinking about how all moments of our lives are linked together, how what happens today will influence my future and the anxiety came back! I know you tried, but there's no cure for me!

A Sunday Kind Of Love said...

love this post! anxiety girl is scarily funny. i might have to print that out for the fridge :)
i worry about getting a (real, full time) job, will i ever meet anyone, and my health. that's the big three right there.

in the back of my mind is also the fear of infertility. i read so many articles about it in magazines, papers, and blogs that i feel like i am bound to suffer through it. i'm not even dating anyone right now, let alone married, so why do i do this to myself? oy.

Shawnee said...

love this post. thank you for sharing:)
we all need a little reminder..stress/worry sometimes blocks all of the little good things in life.
i needed this, i know i will use this grand canyon idea!
xo

Marit said...

What an amazing post - I needed to hear this! Thank you!

Lisa Golightly said...

my 11 year old daughter is such a worrier. even as a two year old she was that way. i'll have to share the grand canyon trick with her!

Cecilia said...

Great insight, and beautiful imagery!

An article on women and worry would be great for the articles club, don't you think?

Shelb and Ry said...

I love this analogy. This is definitely something I will use when worries get me down. Thank you so much for sharing Joanna! Love this.

--Shelby

Alex said...

Joanna, I wish you were my best friend.

I get into a "funk" sometimes too. I worry about my health (even though I'm currently healthy), my future, my family etc. Sometimes the worry feels overwhelming!

Sometimes, I think its important to step back from the worrying and try and focus on the present. The best we can do is take life one day at a time!

Tiff said...

My husband and I just started trying to have a baby and I just had a miscarriage with our 11 week old baby. I'm so sad and I am so worried about being able to have a healthy pregnancy and baby. I'm going to try using this grand canyon method!

Cheryl said...

So true!!! I think my problem is I worry too much, too. I stress about not being perfect and if people are disappointed in me. The Grand Canyon analogy is so great! I will have to try it.
Thank you!

Anabel said...

This was such a perfect post. I'm really struggling right now, and its nice to be reminded to put things into perspective.

Thank you!

Amy said...

I worry alot. I chew myself up inside about things that if I really thought about it either won't matter or can't be changed. This is a pretty good visualisation to put things into perspective. I read another in the Tibetan Book of living and dying I think about picturing yourself worrying, then extend that to see where you are and go up into the sky in stages, seeing other people, countries, eventually the universe - you see where I'm going with this though I'm not putting it particularly eloquently!!!

Nicole* said...

yes i worry way too much about anything and everything. im glad im not the only one :) thanks for the advice!

Leda said...

That is a nice visualization!
I'm in grad school right now and just keep thinking about how much easier life was before. I feel like every time I take another big step in my life I always feel like the during the step before I had it so easy. So, I just remember grad school will seem like a cinch afterwards!

Elaine said...

I just love this. Just when I think I couldn't love your blog any more than I already do, you post something like this. Thank you :).

kimberly michelle said...

What a beautiful meditation! I LOVE THIS!!!!

cassaundra said...

wow, that is such a beautiful way to see things! :D

adorninc said...

This is so very wise! What a great way to look at life! I'm definitely using this technique in the future.

Anonymous said...

Joanna, you really make my life easier all the way accross the ocean.
Thanks.
A reader from Paris.

Miss Bibliophile said...

Thanks so much for sharing this advice! I'm going to try it from now on- I think it will really help keep things in perspective.

Grace - Stripes and Sequins said...

I loved this so much - thank you! I could be a professional stress-er... seriously.

diana banana said...

i'm so glad you posted this. i always thought my "down in the dumps" were phases, and then my now-husband finally convinced me to go to therapy after a really horrible episode. turns out, i've been battling depression for several years, and it didn't help that a lot of my friends probably were too! (misery loves company, right?) since starting therapy my life has changed dramatically in the sense that i don't feel so helpless and overall bad.

getting help is not a sign of weakness, in fact it was one of the most courageous things i've done. even my mom, who worried at first, said she as proud of me and even she couldn't summon up the guts to go herself.

Anonymous said...

I'm 27 and currently dealing with a "funk". I've had a horrible day so far and it was really nice to read this post. It's nice to know I'm not the only one.

Tiffany said...

I am a huge worrier and it does have big impact on my life, especially emotionally. My therapist recommended a book called The Worry Cure, it is fantastic. Just reading it makes me feel normal, more calm and centered.

alondra said...

thank you for posting this, I've been stressing out/worrying like crazy the last couple of months. I will definitely try to keep this in mind.

Christina said...

thanks for sharing joanna-- glad to hear im not alone with being a mad-worrier!!! i will try this grand canyon trick!!

Bethany said...

I love that question you ask : how are you feeling these days - good, bad, ok? I'm a big believer in leaving no room for "fine", but being honest. And although it's awkward, therapy is the best! It's saved me from a lot of extra worrying and depression simply because I can cry it out with her and hear her tell me like it is. The Grand Canyon analogy is so perfect for disspelling small worries.

Shannon said...

I'm so glad someone else feels this way! I'm currently in therapy for generalized anxiety disorder and I have received several suggestions for relaxation and visualization from my therapist. I've recently started to understand the mind-body connection which can be used for good (visualizing a peaceful scene, feeling your muscles relax), or evil (racing thoughts of doom, teeth clenching and muscles tense). The Grand Canyon visualization is so powerful because it gives perspective. So important for a worrier! Thanks so much for posting, Joanna, I'm definitely going to try this when everything seems overwhelming.

Chapstick Fanatic said...

i was a huge worrier and i still am one to some extent but i have made a conscious effort over the past year to stop worrying and take things in stride. it is weird how you can say to your brain - stop doing that! and it works.

http://lachapstickfanatique.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

i've been reading your blog for a while, and this is the first time i've left a comment because i was like, "is she talking to me?" thanks for sharing, it's a wonderful idea.

Artaud said...

I'm a worrier too. Today my worries range from my bank account to the grocery bag I left on the dining room table that one of my cats might try to get into and get the handle stuck around their neck and freak out and choke themselves...and everything in between. Mind you, I have a solid and good-paying job, a house, a loving husband and family, and the bag thing has NEVER happened before. Sometimes I have perspective enough (usually when I'm driving and looking at, say, the foliage) to tell myself: "your life is so much bigger than this. It's ok." Your grand canyon trick is a great way to invoke that. I used to lay awake at night worrying about the inevibility of people I love dying, or after 9-11, the possibility of something like that happening again...and again, everything in between. It's awful when it takes hold...and back when it was keeping me awake at night...the crazy worries...my doctor put me on a very low dose of an antidepressant. I had issues with that but it really helped. Ten years later I'm still on it and fortunately I'm able to keep it in line most of the time, but once in a while the worry creeps in. I'll give the grand canyon a try. Thanks Joanna...

Oblio and Arrow said...

Great post topic! Around 25 I started getting anxiety and I too went to talk to a therapist. In the last year, I had just gotten a dog, gotten married and bought a house. But those honestly hadn't been very stressful. As we talked through things she told me that now I suddenly had people depending on me, and people I depended on and having people you care about suddenly be dependent upon your income and stability is a normal reason to be a little worried. Her solution was for me to take each worry, for example that i would lose my job, to its end and went i went through these "and then" statements, it really calmed me down to realize, if I lose my job, then i will search for a new one (not so bad), if I don't find a new one, I will borrow money from my parents (not so bad) if it goes on for a year, we will sell the house, and move in with my parents or a friend for a while and so on. It never turned out to be the 100% miserable experience I worried it would be...in the end ultimately, everything could work itself out :)

Joey Mechelle said...

genius. thank you for sharing.

Breanna said...

I worry about everything. Big things, small things, it doesn't matter. Anxiety Girl and I are definitely kindred spirits. Next time I'm stressing out over something I am definitely going to try this. Thank you so much for sharing. Sometimes it's nice to know you aren't the only one who obsesses over things. It makes me feel a little less crazy.

truffle oil said...

tu tranquilo.

seventyandthree said...

Also that`s why I love going for a few days tracks in the desert, to clean my mind from the worries that seem so insignificant and small there, and everything gets into proportions.

saigon said...

i tend to worry about everything minus my health, which is not a good thing. it is normal to have worries. it is a prestage to trying to solve the problems

Annie said...

I also recently had a worry breakthrough - I realised that worrying is just over-thinking something. You can't let it go, it gets into a groove in your head and goes round and round and round...Now I just try and stop thinking about it. And with practise it works. But I do get anxious about things I can't control - like my daughter trying to find a job, whether the plane I am on will crash - you get the picture. I think this is a very female habit.

M said...

I worry all the time. It has led to some really bad habit (biting my nails, lips, being grouchy at times, etc.), and I'm trying to work on it. Thanks for the tip Joanna!

Jen R said...

I don't know that this post could have come on a better day. Thank you.

megan said...

awesome post. great perspective. thanks so much for sharing! i'm gonna post a picture of the grand canyon on my cubicle right now!

Alicia Marie said...

I really needed your post today. Almost bought my husband and my plane tickets back to Michigan for Christmas, and didn't for several reasons, and today they jumped $200.00 for the same flight! I was going crazy all morning, and your post calmed me down....for a little bit.

Jody said...

So lovely. Thnk you for this honest (and very helpful) post. You are a classy lady!

Isabelle said...

I used to get myself sick because i worried too much. So much stress ! Papers, work, life, being there in time, lists all over, bad sleep, bad moods, ...

It all changed when I a) broke my hand and simply could'nt do so much anymore and b) started telling myself that most idiots go though life fine not even thinking about most of these things that can plague me

I am now soooo much better...

But Joanna's tip is prettier

Rik said...

In my mind I do this: Write my worries on strips of paper. Stick them inside balloons and fill them up with helium. I go outside and send them off to the heavens! It helps me realize that most things are out of my control and I can just send them away in my "worry balloons". I focus on the things that I CAN control and try to do those to the best of my ability. It helps!

Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

My anti-worry technique is similar...I just think of the huge vastness of the solar system, galaxy and then universe. All of my little worries and problems are meaningless in comparison to the awesomeness of it all!

DENISE. said...

Oh, I can relate! My mom tells me I worry when I have nothing to worry about. It's not good! I like to do something similar -- I go out to my front yard and lay down and look at the sky. And then I think about how big the universe is and how I'm just a tiny speck in that bigness. And that usually puts in all in perspective for me. Plus it just feels really good on my back to lay down :)

Anonymous said...

It also helps to write down all the great things in my life and accomplishments past and present. I helps restore confidence.

kate said...

Oh boy, I am SUCH a worrier, I think I always have been. I worry about everything, big and tiny. Lately the two big things on my mind are potentially having a baby next year and how that's totally going to change my life, and also worrying about my parents getting older and not being around for much longer. Big things.

Mariel said...

<3 <3 <3 jo

Katie said...

i will remember this.

thanks for sharing!

mandyface said...

Fantastic advice! I worry about everything. All the time. Its a genetic anxiety problem but I'm trying to kick it for my body and mind's sanity. I will def be trying this trick, thanks so much for posting!

Hannah Joy said...

I'm a worrier and a psychologist. I love that image for so many reasons - thanks for sharing it!! I have to remind myself not to worry as often tas I remind my clients, but I think that's a good thing, because I know it's a real battle for many of us!

LT said...

Thank you for this, it is very helpful.

Anne said...

Do you worry too much, she asks.. Oh yes! About everything. Right now I'm anxious about being 35 and not having found 'my purpose' (besides being a mom, which I love and which I'm pretty darn good at. That I don't worry about). It's probably a typical thing to worry about for a lot of women my age.. I can also worry about the people I care about, about going to the dentist, about not being on time and all sorts of silly little things. And then I worry about worrying too much... That's a big worry for me! Will definitely give the Grand Canyon trick a try. :)

Amanda (Dear Frances) said...

This is such a lovely gift to all your readers, Joanna - thank you!

Right now I worry about getting a job after my job of 4 years was defunded by New York State this spring. I wasn't in love with the job, so I am trying to see it as a positive opportunity to try something new - but I worry about that too. I worry about my crushing student loans from a legal education that I worry was a waste of time and money since I don't want to be a lawyer anymore. I would like to start a family ASAP, but I worry about what that would be like without good health insurance.

Its never ending, but I ALWAYS try to keep things in perspective and take the long view - just because there are bumps in the road doesn't mean you shouldn't at least try to enjoy the scenery.

This Grand Canyon exercise is a beautiful way to do that. :)

Jenny Jackson Kersting said...

I swear, sometimes you read my mind and post things I've been thinking about. I'll definitely try the Grand Canyon visualization. Hope it helps!

Holly Glo. said...

I like this idea. My husband is deploying to Afghanistan in 2012 and I can take any snippets like this I can get.

Soon, Then said...

I'm generally not a huge worrier. But right now I am anxious about my upcoming photography gigs because I feel like they might change the course of the river!

aBroad said...

I Worry all the time, about everything and everyone. I am told I come from a long line of Worriers.
I was born in Arizona, where the Grand Canyon is located .. perhaps I am immune from this ? lol
besos

shoegirl said...

I'm definitely a worrier. Right now my worry is that I'm getting to that point in my life where kids would need to happen soon, but I'm not sure if it's the right decision for me. I am SO Anxiety Girl!

Bianca said...

I just turned 26... sometimes (a lot lately) I feel frozen by worry. It is so important for me to remember how small my problems really are in this great big universe. Thank you for sharing this post.

marta said...

oh, jo, i love you for this.

thank you for always sharing your true self and the life lessons you've learned. you keep bringing it and i love it. xo.

Darcie said...

Yup, a worry wort and over analyzer. Sometimes it's a good thing I worry, for example if I have a presentation coming up and I start thinking things over and realize something wasn't done or I could add something - it can be a stroke of genius. However, those other times, not fun. I am working on not worrying and instead trying to enjoy each moment.

BeeBeeZfa said...

How timely. I most definitely had a melt down yesterday when all my worrying caught up with me. Its like a sign. Thanks for posting this!

Nora said...

Reading a book very much on the anxiety of motherhood I think you would love-- Perfect Madness, Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety...appreciate your encouragement to drop all those worries away

Chantel B. said...

I come from a family of worriers! MY grandmother, my father, my sister...ME! Some days I feel like I've made leaps and bounds, other days I feel like I've taken five steps back. Perfect example: the other day my husband called to tell me he was ready to go home for the day. I drove over to his workplace and waited, and waited....A good 45 minutes went by and instead of being a sane person who would assume he got busy and couldn't leave I had the most HORRIBLE thoughts. What if he passed out next to his desk, with no one around and unable to answer his phone?!...yeah, silly I know!

Zana said...

Yes, a terrible worrywart here. Sometimes I have trouble sleeping due to worrying too much. Definitely need to try your Grand Canyon method, although I might be scrutinizing which nook and cranny to drop my worries into...

Alie said...

I'm a worrier too. My sister taught me this trick for when I was in labor with my son, but it works well anytime to distract your mind for a bit!
Match up the colors of the rainbow, one by one, with as many fruits and vegetables you can think of. For example: red-tomatoes, strawberries, radishes, raspberries...

Nick Goddard said...

One time someone told me that "95% of the stuff you worry about will never come true." Now I never worry about anything and it's great, though I still get fooked 5% of the time. Oh well.

house of violetta said...

Yes. tots worrywart over here. esp. with health related issues.

Anonymous said...

Oh, wow...this post really hits home. Especially because (at the risk of revealing too much), I spent my therapy session tonight in tears, struggling with the worsening symptoms of my obsessive compulsive disorder.

Worry, dread, fear -- such difficult emotions to deal with. Here's to all of you fellow worriers and the hope that we'll get better!

Lorena Martinez-Neustadt said...

thank you for sharing, it is so true!

Ashley said...

That's a really good idea! I feel better already!

leilani.e said...

Thanks Jo, I needed this today.

Kendra said...

Huge worrier too! I worry so much about job security today since it's on everyone's minds these days. And I resent how employers kind of treat we employees as if we're "lucky" and "priveleged" to even have our jobs!

Susie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dizzy_izzy said...

I am a big worrier, six months ago I choose a full time job for grad school applications in New York. I worry that I will not advance enough in my job and I will not be happy out of the city and in Los Angeles where I live now. Although I was only applying to grad school and had not been accepted yet I still think of the what if's!! I don't even know if I would have loved living in the city but I wish that i just had the chance to see if I did or not. Also I am worried that I will never meet anyone. I've never even been on a date! (I'm 27)!!!! eek!

Elizabeth said...

i love this post.

Loree said...

Yes I worry, especially about my son. I suppose it's natural but I try not to worry too much all of the time.

Alison Pearldiver said...

thanks, just what I needed.

alittlebirdytoldmeso said...

hi Joanna, thanks so much for a great post, and can i also say thanks to everyone who has posted so far, it feels great to know that there are others who feel similar or are in a similarish position to yourself!!about 4 years ago i was in a crazy "funk", so bad that i derailed my life, left my great job and headed off on a completely different career path, which in hindsight is no better for me or rewarding than what i was doing before!!!i am now struggling to get my life back on track and get employment in my former career, but the economic downturn is not helping!!i really hit rock bottom about a month ago, and since i decided that it is "sink or swim" i have been searching for ways to make the best of this situation and find the positives in my life until a job comes along. i have been trying positive affirmations daily and in general trying to be kinder to myself. i have realized how cruel i have been to myself over effectively the last ten years (wow, didn't realize it was that long!) and to be honest, have decided enough is enough. i love myself, the right job is coming to me, and each and every one of us should just stop and take a moment to say "i love myself!". i have a job interview tomorrow for a really great opportunity, and i know things are looking up for me, as they are for everyone who posted today. thanks again Joanna, and be kind to yourselves everyone!x

JenMertes said...

Definitely a big worrier. About everything. Am I doing the right thing? The wrong thing? Why didn't that person smile back at me when they walked past me at work??? I like the Grand Canyon visualisation (gorgeous pics too btw!)- I was there earlier this year, so if anything it makes me think about travel and how much I enjoy it!! Definitely a calming thought that inspires me to hang in there until my next trip. Thanks Jo!

Anonymous said...

I'm a big worrier..

Tomorrow is my last session with my therapist. I've been in therapy for 7 years and I kind of am used to the idea that there is always someone with perfect answers and knowledge when I need it. She tought me so much!
I'm scared I can't do it on my own, without my therapist.. I worry about this a lot!

- Marissa V

musiqueblox said...

I think everyone worries. The trick is to not let it get negative (which is so easy but dangerous). Worry, but don't let it get out of hand. Re-wire your synapses....it really works.....just think positively! There are days when it is tough and I wish I could swap heads with someone else for a few hours or even a day just to get out of my head. The Boat People have a song called "Too Much In My Mind". I think that sums it up. Enjoy!

Dana said...

Thanks for being so honest, Jo! you rock

Nicole Michelle said...

I am definitely a worrier. I'm a college student, I worry a lot. About my future & the fact that I don't have my goals defined yet, love is not even an important factor in my mind right now (which is totally weird). I worry that I won't do anything with my life.. Maybe if I stopped worrying about not having a defined path, I could choose one ;)

vanillasugarblog said...

LOVE this!
thank you.
must share this.
and yes, makes perfect sense.

agapelife said...

I am definitely a worrier, but I've been working on it.

When I worry I try to "give it to God" much like dropping it into the grand canyon.

TK Kerouac said...

Nice comments only, please(that means you anon!
something to worry about, the trolls!

You can't be of this world to not have stress and worries. It all comes down to problem solving and letting go. Ignoring problems can snowball into more fears & anxiety. Balancing worry time is key.

I think most people have the same worries of health,money,relationships no matter what your age or time in life is.

Great post
Proves we a different but in many ways the same!

andrea said...

Thanks so much for this post. It is much needed and I am going to try this.

MrsKinne said...

Oh, I needed this today.

Marti said...

Very nice post!!!! :)

Robin Alford said...

Such an awesome post! Same thing happened to me at 27!! Thanks for sharing that. ;-)

Swoonsville said...

I love the advice she gave you! I too experienced something similar, going through a quarter life crisis. It was scary but I was down on not having my career perfect, living a busy life in Los Angeles, and the endless amount of not so special guys I'd date. My therapist helped me realize my problems were really small and that things happen when they're meant to happen. No need to rush :)

Thank you for sharing this!

Gaby [The Vault Files] said...

I've always been very aware that our lives are infinitesimal and anything can happen any day, any second; so I'm constantly giving thanks for all the opportunities and blessings I have had along the way. And I always pray for health, for safety and for my family. My biggest worry is not to be able to be around for my baby, at first was for my husband but now he has taken the bigger chunk of the worry.

amynicole said...

I love this. It is amazing what some analogies can do for you!

Goodness, my only worry right now is getting my little human to move from the blasted breech position so I can have the all natural birth I've been preparing for instead of a cesarean! So you will find me upside down these days, thinking of happy thoughts & visuals, all while coaxing the human to move (I've promised endless amounts of ice cream and donuts)... Oh happy day!

Alison said...

Wow, this is definitely a great way to keep all the rest of my life in perspective. I even knew this before I read your post. So why do I need so many reminders? C'est la vie I suppose. I've also heard that you are more than what you have become.

Into Vintage said...

I come from a long line of worriers and I also have the worst-case-scenario gene. The worrying feels helpful until it gets in the way of actually doing something about whatever I'm worrying about. And it seems as though the absolute worse worrying happens in the middle of the night. Wakes me up sometimes.

Thanks for the Grand Canyon tip.
:-)

MEGGY said...

you couldn't have posted this a better moment. I have been feeling overwhelmingly worried about work. this helps to better put things in perspective. thanks :)

Oh my Dior! said...

yeah I think I worry too much!

http://www.ohmydior.org/

erica said...

love this visualization! I'm a constant worrier - I have been trying to "be in the moment" and focus on my breathe when my worries start to spiral and I've found much relief from bringing mindlefulness into it.
one worry that's always in the back of my mind is if my husband and I are waiting too long to start a family....so much to do, school, careers just feel overwhelmed and worry about fertility down the road..
ugh. off to visualize the grand canyon now...

Nina said...

I was just thinking today that I worry too much, all the time, about everything, as if if there were a constant threat of an anvil falling on my life. I don't know where the worry comes from, nor how to quell my concerns. I'm really going to try out this Grand Canyon visualization because, really, my problems looked so small in there.

Thanks for sharing this post!

Anonymous said...

See, thinking about the Grand Canyon sends me into a vertigo-induced panic attack!

Amelia said...

I'm a born and bred worrier myself. Luckily when you are raised by professional worriers, they are able to offer some coping techniques along the way. One that worked for me when I was a child: whenever I worried about something, I had to write it down and put it in the worry box which was stored deep in my closet. It was a symbolic letting go of the worry. Almost as therapeutic was reading through the worries of my past from time to time, just to see how many of those worries were any real threat to my life. (The answer was zero.)

Sandra P. said...

Thanks for the tip! I'll definitely be using it the next time I'm starting to worry about a plethora of things! :] I used to worry a lot, and I still worry some now, but I try not too overcomplicate everything considering the fact I'm married to the love of my life, have a great amazing family and am healthy as a button. :]

LMM said...

yes, i have severe anxiety issues. things i have be unsuccessfully treated for, for a long time 7-8 years. I am 28 years old and worse than ever. i now have amplified OCD issues and I'm afraid I'm never going to get control over my brain. very afraid and worry over germs and food posioning.

i can be here all day... i don't think your readers want to scroll that long to get to the next comment!

xA said...

Jo, this post helped me so much. I have had anxiety attacks- largely about my university grades, on and off for the last 3 years, so this helped me a lot to put things into perspective.
A

Jennifer M. said...

That is perfect!
Something I heard a year ago was "Worry is a mask of fear". Since hearing, when I feel worried, I stop and ask myself what am I fearful of? Usually I can pinpoint what the cause is/was and stop worrying before it gets worse.

8Track Honey said...

I converted to a religion almost two years ago and Im worried that it was mistake, not that I regret leaving my old religion, just that I will never become a part of the right one. Like all of them mean well but none of them are actually 100% good.

AND that I will never fall in love and get married. I live in a country that has all of this media saying women my color don't get married and they have "statistics" to prove it. So yeah, im between that and not graduating on time/ getting into nyu.

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