My New Happy: Grab The Happy

Friday, January 11, 2019

Grab The Happy


Hello, I'm Lana... and I'm anxious.  I've been this way for as long as I can remember.  As a child, I worried that something bad would happen to my mom and dad when they went out at night.  I was afraid every time I visited my grandparents that it would be the last time I'd see them.  In high school and college I fretted over every grade, every friendship, every event.  I don't think I was even aware that I was anxious all the time.  It's just who I was.

With age I've gotten better at managing my anxiety, and I use lots of different techniques to keep it under control.  Exercise, vitamins, good sleep, getting outside.  I wish I wasn't an anxious person.  But worrying about that just causes more anxiety, so I've learned to accept and manage it and move on.

Sometimes, though, it gets the best of me.  All the losses and changes come rolling in at once, out of nowhere.  December was tough.  It's no surprise that things can be hard during the holidays, but usually it's a time that I love.  This year, as I sat with my anxiety (and I'll admit, even a little panic some days), I got angry with myself.  Generally, I'm a happy person (and yes, you can be anxious AND happy).  Life is better than good.   Sure, crappy stuff has happened.  But nothing devastating, nothing life ruining, nothing worth being so damn anxious about.

My happiness is there, waiting to take the lead, but many days I let it get smothered by the anxiety.  Why?  Why do I choose to let negative thoughts take over and push everything else away?  I truly believe, in my particular case, that I am in charge of my own happiness.  Nobody else.  I can decide to be happy, or I can decide to be an anxious mess.  And I'm so tired of being anxious.  It's exhausting. 

So, to quote Whitesnake, "Here I go, again on my own."  I don't think they were  talking about anxiety per se, but I'm going with it.  I've got big plans for this year, things I want to do and become.  Places I want to go, literally and figuratively.  My word for the year is POSSIBILITY and anxiety is not going to hold me back.


On New Year's Eve I decided to write a list of all the things that aren't serving me, that are holding me back, that are adding to my anxiety.  Hurts, sorrows, problems, people, and situations.  All of it.  It was a LONG list.  Then I went outside, said a prayer or two or three, and burned that list up.  I don't need those things anymore.

The next day I got back into my morning routine.  Meditation, journaling, reading inspirational books, and praying.  I got outside and went snowshoeing with my family.  Fresh air and exercise can fix just about anything.  I ate well.  I took deep breaths.  And after one day I could feel the heaviness starting to lift.  Such simple things that make such a difference.  Why do I always forget about them?

And then I saw a FB post from my friend Rosie Dalton.  She is a beautiful, kind, inspirational woman that I had the pleasure of meeting at FierceCon in October.  She's been to hell and back, but when you meet her, the light just shines out of her heart and soul.  In her post, she wrote about 'grabbing the happy'.  "Happy is not necessarily going to come looking for you.  Sometimes it pops in as opportunity whizzing by gleefully, hoping that you will grab it by the hand".  As I read her words, I felt such a sense of peace wash over me.  And a direction.  A light at the end of the anxiety tunnel.  

I will always be anxious.  It's part of who I am.  But it doesn't get to take over anymore.  I won't let it be in charge.  I'm going to grab the happy and hang on for the ride.

23 comments:

  1. I am the biggest worrier and my mom is even worse. I too will always be anxious but I am going to remember this post! Have a great weekend

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    1. Thank you! Hope you had a good weekend too!

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  2. Yep, I'm a very anxious person as well. It does seem to get better with age but it takes constant effort to not let it overwhelm me. I love the concept of "grabbing happy." Such a good thing to keep in mind.

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    1. So true - it's constant effort . But so worth it!

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  3. Love it...I had a bad day yesterday and really tried to concentrate on the good and stepping out of the emotions- it kinda worked! It's gonna take practice...and I think I'll adopt the "grab the happy" phrase.

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    1. It definitely takes a lot of awareness, but it works!

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  4. I know you know that I'm the same way - always have been. And I think about who I'd be if I didn't have it.. but I wouldn't be me. I'd probably be less strong and ambitious. I hate the demons but I love fighting them and still living an almost full love.
    xoxo

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    1. I LOVE this! What a great way to think about it. Thank you, friend!

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  5. You and my husband are twin animals. Not that I can totally let all of my worry go, but maybe because he does so much of it, I'm able to let it go?? I'd like to think I'm able to let it slide because of maturity and wisdom, but I bet that's not it. I'm sure part of it is a control thing.
    But just the fact that you admit it and are working to be a duck (you know, let it slide off your back) it probably the best thing ever.
    Needless to say "grabbing your happy" is a great idea!!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

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    1. I think control is a huge part of anxiety too. I've always been so worried about others, and how they felt. But I have no control over other people and what they think or do. Definitely time to start letting that go!

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  6. I just love this Lana. You are such a strong, bright light to all who know you. This year is going to be a big one for me in things I'm letting go of. Specifically, negative thoughts and people! I'm all about the positive! Have a great weekend!!

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    1. Katie, your comment made me so happy. Thank you. And yes to being positive!

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  7. Good for you, Lana! You go, Girl! You got this!

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  8. On occasion, I freeze up with anxiety and can't really function. I'm finding i can push through it with meditation and intentional breathing. The imagery of grabbing the happy as it passes by is something I'll definitely try using as a new practice.
    Thanks, Lana.

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    1. Meditation and intentional breathing are so helpful, aren't they?!

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  9. Wow Lana! What a powerful post! Congrats to you for making that list and burning it up. Happiness is an inside job and I am glad you have found the tools you need. Why is it that I let the taking care of myself in a healthy way over the holidays slide? While it feels like I'm enjoying the holidays I end up feeling crappy! You started 2019 out right for sure!
    xo,
    Kellyann

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    1. Thanks Kellyann. It felt so good to burn that list up.

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  10. Hi Lana, Wow just reading the first sentence shook me to my core. I always have and still worry about my parents and loved ones dying. It’s very cryptic but it’s something I think about daily. Thank you so much for sharing this. It truly touched my heart.
    xoxo
    Mary

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    1. Thank you so much Mary. I truly appreciate you reading it!

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  11. Lana, your share about anxiety really resonates with me as I grapple with it myself! And it's so true that even though I'm in a good place with my life, it doesn't negate having anxiety creep in. I love the idea of burning a list of stuff that doesn't support me! Thanks for your tips!

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  12. Hi Lana, I'm in my late fifties and have had anxiety since I was a kid. Back then I really didn't understand it, but now that I'm older, I have a much better handle on it. I also do a type of journaling called morning pages, that I learned about from Julia Cameron's book, "The Artist's Way". When my husband and I became perpetual travelers, the change in our lifestyle really made me anxious, but we've been doing it for years, now, and I've calmed down quite a bit, and am happier than I've ever been. I think unfortunately, anxiety can be inherited. My kids have the tendency, though not as bad. I was able to help them with it because I understood it better. Great post. I look forward to reading more.

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  13. This is a fantastic post! I generally don't have a whole lot of anxiety (more situational- I am kind of permanently wired at a low key setting), but almost everyone precious to me in my life does struggle daily with it. I think your thoughts and ideas here are also transferable to other things people struggle with. Putting this one in my pocket. I agree, Rosie is the best, and so are you! My kind of friends!

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