How do you reduce anxiety and find the joy in your life?

Life is sure full of stressors.  From the big to the little and everything in between. Seems no matter what your life’s about, stuff comes calling.

Budda disteso

And of course, anxiety is so pervasive, we have a test for how stressful our lives are.  The Holmes-Rahe life stress inventory measures what’s happened in our lives and correlates that to how likely we are to have an illness in the near future.

 Seems our bodies don’t like surprises!  Any sudden change to important routines throws your whole physical being into turmoil.  And makes you sick.  Eeeekkk!

And while we think in terms of stress being the result of negative events, even the positive ones can rate high on the list.  And bring big stress points.  For example, while divorce rates second, marital reconciliation is ninth on the list!  And retirement, which we work toward all our lives, comes in at number ten.

You just can’t live in this world and avoid stress.  Like you, I’ve lived through (sometimes barely!) many of the top ten.  Okay, all of them except going to jail and retirement!  Hope not to experience the former.  And the latter, well, I’m a writer so I can’t even imagine not writing 🙂 

For (insane) reasons known only to Holmes and Rahe, no dog-related problems made their list.  They certainly don’t live in my world!  Because when you raise show dogs, who are all members of your family, well, it’s always something.  I got up this morning to 2 of my kids—2 of them!—three-legging around.  One of those I’m fixing to breed.  Of course!  And of course I just counted up when my babies will be born.  Easter Sunday.  Which if you’re a normal person (not a dog breeder), might sound cool and fun with a great theme for the litter.  But if you’ve done this very long, you see, quite clearly, how if anything goes wrong during whelping, you’re SOL!

Okay, breathe!

Nope, this isn’t world peace. And not akin to losing someone you love.  But it is stressful.  Because stress is specific to you.

And one thing I know for true is to focus right back on the things that reduce anxiety and help me find joy.  That’s the antidote, no matter what caused the dis-ease.

So, focus with me on the remedy today with 3 quick ways to get back on track.


  1.        I’m so grateful that even though these two dogs are infirm, they’re on this planet and otherwise healthy.  Thank you!  I so love my furr kids.  Let me count the ways . . .
  2.       Remember that things tend to work out.  Not always, of course, but funny how when I quit trying to push the river uphill (which is different from simple planning!), knots tend to get unknotted, kinks get worked out, roads level into a straight line before me.  Because often when we think we’re mapping that road ahead, we’re actually obsessing over what can go wrong.  Goofy thing about the mind—it can find the monsters lurking around the bend that no one has ever before seen.  e., those that don’t actually exist.   Except in the paranoid recesses of the mind.  Doesn’t make them any less real to us!  Yep, it’s possible that we run into whelping problems at noon on Easter Sunday.  Murphy’s Law you know.  But it’s more likely that things go well. And if they don’t, we have a plan.  Not an obsessive one!
  3.       Breathe.    Take a moment.  Breathe deeply.  Settle.  We know that when stress takes over, our breathing becomes shallow. And the very act of breathing deeply and slowly, in measured fashion, calms the heart rate, eases the belly, and brings us back to center.  Where, no matter what the reality is we face, our minds then work better to get us through it.

And that’s the point, no?  Because we all have to deal with “stuff.”  It’s the part and parcel of being on this planet.  Once I do those 3 things, am calm again, I can feel the joy of just living.

Ah, relief!  Because as author and preacher Charles Spurgeon said, Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.

So, how do you reduce anxiety and find the joy in your life?



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