My husband has been declined for health insurance three times in the last three months. A year ago, this would have sent me into a cloud of anxiety as dark as the Iceland volcano. When I am worried, I try to control things I have no control over like whether my husband talks on the phone while driving, wears his seatbelt, eats fruits and vegetables, gets enough sleep, etc. Trying to control things that I cannot control gives me the illusion of power. What it gives me in reality, is the feeling like something bad could happen at any moment and it’s up to me to prevent it. Living in a state of almost constant stress has many negative side effects, including being called a micro-managing worry-wart by one’s beloved.
In the last year, I have learned how to have a thought without attaching to it. I can picture my husband getting into a skiing accident or crashing on the bay bridge (oh, yeah, my worrying lizard brain loves drama). Now, I notice what I’m picturing or thinking, without reacting to it as though it is truly going to happen. I just finished reading, My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor, where she talks about a 90 second window between thinking a thought, and having your body react to it as though it is true. It is in that 90 second window, you can choose to believe your own thinking, or not. When I see these dreadful scenarios play out in my mind or think that something bad will soon happen to me, I just smile, take a deep breath, and thank my little worrying lizard brain for trying to keep me safe. If I question my thinking from a calm place, it’s easier to see logic and reason. Is it true that something bad is about to happen? Is it true I am the only one who can prevent it? Is it true that if something bad happened I wouldn’t be able to cope? When I stay calm, evidence to the contrary is easy to find. My husband has gone three months without insurance and nothing bad happened. He’s been driving for 24 years and has never been in a car accident. If something horrible happened, I would rise to the occasion and deal with it. I don’t have to start dealing with it now, in anticipation of it happening.
If you can catch a worry, notice it, breathe deeply, thank your brain for trying to keep your safe, look around you and question it, is it true?
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