10 Ways To Live In The Present

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“With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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When I think about my struggles with anxiety, I realize that I live in the future too much. It’s crazy how much I worry about things that haven’t happened yet and probably never will happen. I’ve spent my entire life battling the anxiety monster and I’ve missed out on so many great opportunities due to debilitating fear.

Not knowing what will happen makes me anxious. I like predictability and when I’m in situations without it, I can feel it creeping in.

So what does my mind do with the unknown?

I predict what will happen. And anxiety dictates that it’s mostly negative. This creates more anxiety. It’s a vicious cycle.

Control is an illusion, anyway. I can’t ‘control’ what happens to me, but I can learn how to deal with anxiety in a positive manner. I studied psychology for 7 years in university and I’ve read countless studies about the effectiveness of therapy. I’m a believer in it, but I’ve never taken the time to really apply it to myself as much as I could. I can learn coping mechanisms, countering thoughts, breathing techniques, mantras, and visualizations to help. I can work with a Cognitive Behavioural psychologist to work on changing my thought processes. I can talk to people about it. I can write. I can be creative. I can run. I can do yoga. I can be honest about how I feel.

I can laugh about it with Eric when I tell him what I’m anxious about and the look on his face makes me burst into laughter, realizing how ridiculous my worries sound out loud.

Insanity can be defined as repeating the same behaviour over and over and expecting a different outcome. Well, lock me up and throw away the key! If we don’t change our behaviours, thoughts, and actions, we will never grow. If I keep doing what I’m doing now, my anxiety will never get better. However, when we’re struggling with something, we can always open other doors and explore other avenues…

That’s why my goal for July is simple:

To live in the present as much as possible.

I want to get out of my own head, fears, and negative stories on loop. I want to stop losing so much time to the future (and past) and be present in the moment. Of course, it’s good to think about the future and past sometimes- that’s part of the excitement of life- but I also think being present is something that I must work on.

As someone whose mind is always spinning constantly about the past and future, I’ve never had a clue how to go about living in the present. After some research, I’ve come up with an action plan. I’m going to print this list off and put it in a couple places where I will see it daily- my bathroom mirror and my desk.

How I will live in the present:

1) BREATHE

Breathing fully and deeply does not come natural to me. Well, I’m sure it did at one point, but somewhere along the line I became a shallow breather. The more wound up I get, the less I breathe. I’m trying to be mindful of my breath, especially in those moments when I need it the most. Before entering an anxiety provoking situation, I try to stop and take at least 3 deep breaths before proceeding. I used to do this when I gave many presentations in grad school and it really helped calm me before jumping in.

2) Be a Minimalist

Remove your unneeded possessions. We just did this last weekend and Eric and I both felt a huge sense of calmness when we parted with half of the things we own. Physical clutter turns into mind clutter and removing everything but the essentials restores a feeling of tranquility and reminds us what is truly important in life. It sure isn’t material things. Minimalism doesn’t just happen overnight, but the more I approach this lifestyle, the more mindful I am when I make every purchase. This also applies to grocery shopping. Lately, I’ve been more mindful not to bring in new food before the food in the house is used up!

3) Smile

Throughout my life, I’ve been known for being a smiling, happy girl. My teachers even used to write that on my report cards. However, when I let my anxieties weigh me down, my face turns into an anxiety monster. Sometimes I catch myself thinking about something and I notice that I have a huge frown on my face just due to a mere thought. Thoughts are very powerful, but they don’t define who we are and we shouldn’t allow them to change our mood so instantly. Acknowledge your thoughts whatever they may be and then smile. One of my favourite things to do is to smile at a complete stranger because you never know how it will impact their day.

4) Forgive the past

I’ve been through some crappy things in my life and no matter how long ago these past hurts occurred, I will catch myself thinking about it as if it is happening to me now. Sometimes memories are so vivid and real. By failing to forgive things that have happened in my past, I fail to move forward and to be present in the moment. Forgiveness is a personal choice, but when I chose to forgive the past, I feel more free.

5) Dream big, but work hard today.

There is no better moment to accomplish your goals than right now. Planning is motivating, but it’s important to focus on what we can do in the moment and not get too caught up in the future. As we know, things don’t always happen as we predict. All we have is this moment right now.

6) Do one thing at a time.

I’m a chronic multi-tasker like many women. Sure, I make to-do lists occasionally, but that doesn’t stop me from tackling 8 things at once. Due to multi-tasking, I feel like my attention is never 100% where it should be. I may decide to work on a writing project for a certain amount of time, but I’m often composing emails, responding to comments, editing photos, shipping orders, and writing a blog post at the same time. I don’t think that all multi-tasking is negative, but I need to focus on being in the moment for the task at hand. If I tried to do one thing at a time, I think my goal for mindfulness would be easier and I would feel less frazzled.

7) Do less.

It seems like society is always encouraging is to do more, and more, and more. To fill our days to the absolute brim. Where does it get us in the end? Feeling frazzled with half-assed accomplishments? Doing less could mean that you accomplish goals with better concentration and better quality. Rushing things rarely leads to mindfulness. Sometimes, I like to start a writing blog post (like this one) and chip away at it over the course of 2-3 days. When I take it slow, ideas will often come to me over time. Had I hit publish on my first draft, I never would have fully developed my ideas.

8.) Add space

Along the same lines of ‘do less’, add space between your tasks. Don’t schedule things super close together for 12 hours straight. Give yourself a little wiggle room to breathe. If you write a to-do list, leave a few blanks so you can fill them in as things pop up during your day. Things ALWAYS pop up!

9) Cleaning as meditation

I tend to look at cleaning tasks as one dreaded chore after another. There never seems to be enough time for cleaning and when we tackle the list, it’s always a mad rush to bust through it. Cleaning can be a form of mindfulness though and rituals are often calming. Next time you clean, put your full attention into each task, concentrate, and do them slowly. Look at cleaning (and exercise!) as a stress relief in your day rather than a chore.

10) Spread the love

Do something nice for someone everyday. Smile at strangers. Hold the door open. Buy someone a coffee. Give to the needy. Call a loved one. Give someone your seat on the train. Compliment someone. Say ‘I appreciate you’. It just feels so damn good.

[For my research, I used one of my all-time favourite blogs Zen Habits. If you aren’t already reading this blog, you must check it out!]

~~~~~

After I wrote my ‘We Are Never Alone’ post and talked about going back into therapy, I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. And then I read your beautiful comments and emails, and I was overcome with gratitude. I will never second guess posting something that is so much a part of who I am. Once we remove the shame from how we feel, true healing can begin.

And I must say, while writing this post I was really living in the moment. Writing is a great release!

 

“If you worry about what might be, and wonder what might have been, you will ignore what is.” -Unknown

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{ 198 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ashley July 9, 2011

As a fellow anxiety-sufferer, I am right there with you about living-in-the-moment. These are wonderful ways of overcoming anxiety– especially the cleaning and decluttering. I’m getting ready to move soon, and that is always a good time to get rid of stuff.
I think I’m going to print this out as well– I’ve had a rough couple of days, and this was a really uplifting post :) Thank you!

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2 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 9, 2011

I hope your weekend is better Ashley!

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3 Ashley July 9, 2011

Thanks! Have a good weekend also:) I’m heading off to go shopping at farmer’s markets!

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4 Krysta July 9, 2011

I love your July goal! I also think it is incredibly brave to talk about your anxiety in such a public manner, but, as I am sure you know, there are so many other people out there feeling the same way. I don’t think that I necessarily suffer from anxiety but I often fall into patterns of control and perfectionism which turn into feelings of being overwhelmed and negative thoughts about myself.

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5 Jennie July 9, 2011

Angela, this is a great post and a great goal. I feel like I can totally relate to you. I also suffer from anxiety and am constantly worrying. I am taking your advice and going to use it to my advantage. I wish you the best with your goal. I’m sure you will acheive it! <3

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6 cathy July 9, 2011

Another stellar post, anglea. I found myself nodding as I read each tip. Thank you for sharing your own thoughts and situation – I can sooo relate, and it really helps to know someone else feels like I feel, often. We shall keep growing and striving!
My goal for july is to relax – for me, that includes living in the moment. This is the best time of year – we should enjoy it fully!
Hugs to you and thanks again for your heartfelt words.

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7 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 9, 2011

I agree…Summer is the perfect time to relax and live in the moment!

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8 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table July 9, 2011

These are great reminder. I especially need to work on #6 – I’m terrible about multi-tasking and not putting my whole-self into things as a result.

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9 Sarah July 9, 2011

Thank you for this post! Lately I have been finding myself so pre-occupied with insignificant stuff like what I’m having to dinner, what time I have to leave the house to get somewhere etc. that I have become an air-headed baffoon.
I love your tips, in particular doing less and doing one thing at a time. I used to be really good at doing those things, but somehow I’ve lost the habit and I seem like I’m always rushing.

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10 Hayley @ Oat Couture July 9, 2011

I love this post and it’s just what I needed today so thank you! :)

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11 Sarah @ veggie-kids.blogspot.com/ July 9, 2011

I love your honesty with these posts! Why is it so hard to live in the moment? Such a great thing to strive for though. I work on that one daily.

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12 Cait's Plate July 9, 2011

I’m so glad that getting it off your chest helped you. It ALWAYS helps me to do so too. And I couldn’t agree more about the importance of writing in the healing process. It’s such a wonderful release.

I hope you continue to live in the moment and employ all those things that help you most – remember that we’re always hear to listen and help wherever we can!! :)

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13 Lynne July 9, 2011

Another wonderful post – thank you. :) I suffer from anxiety too, and will definitely be using your tips. Thanks again, Angela.

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14 Kat July 9, 2011

This is an amazing post. I am a very anxious person so I need to make sure to try out some of these tips

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15 Amber K July 9, 2011

I totally feel like I could have written the first part of this post! The way you described the anxiety monster is spot on with what I deal with on a daily basis. I really want to not have this affect so much of my life, so I’m checking out Zen Habits and I think I’m going to read your 10 tips again so that I can fully digest them and take them to heart.

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16 Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans July 9, 2011

I too suffer from anxiety and these tips are very helpful. Thank you so much for sharing this personal journey with us.

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17 Sarah July 9, 2011

Good for you Angela! I like the minimalist goal…it makes living in the moment so rewarding to find value in the simple things. Good luck :)

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18 lindsay July 9, 2011

one day at a time, one hour at a time, one moment at a time. Being present. Great tips Angela. Anxiety can be the minds worst enemy and this advice can totally help overcome and conquer it!

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19 Eat Hike Sleep Repeat July 9, 2011

Very nicely written. I think we all get caught up in the future, not wanting to be unprepared or unaware. However, after losing both my parents when they were fairly young, I realized that we have no idea what our future will look like, or how long our future might be. I still get caught in the multitasking trap you spoke of, which diminishes from the simply beauty of what you are doing at the moment and can disrespect the people you may be with at the time. My mantra now, which I learned clinging to the side of a mountain is “Fully Present”. You might enjoy my post on this discovery. Have a great, fully present, weekend!
http://eathikesleeprepeat.blogspot.com/2011/05/fully-present-lessons-from-mountain.html

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20 Laura@mypurposefullife July 9, 2011

What a beautiful post, Angela. I appreciate your honesty about discussing your anxiety. I also have a lot of anxiety, especially when I start worrying about and trying to plan for the future. Just this week, a friend asked about what I plan on doing in a year after my boyfriend finishes his Master’s at NYU (I’m out here living with him and working while I figure out my life), and that question alone sent me into a week of worry, stress, and even slipping back into bad habits of poor body image and disordered eating. Just today I am feeling more positive about the whole situation, and this post coincidentally came at a perfect time for me. I too need to work on living in the present and not worrying so much about what may or may not happen in the future. You are a true inspiration. Best of luck working on these goals. Even though I do not know you, just thinking that you are out there working through similar anxiety issues as me makes me encouraged to work that much harder to stay in the present. Have a fabulous weekend!

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21 Grace July 9, 2011

First of all, thank you so much Angela for this wonderful post. I’ve been needing these reminders a lot lately. Also Laura, thank you for sharing some of your story, it really reminds me of mine. I just finished my first year of college and decided that it wasn’t the right place for me, nor the right time to be in college. I decided to take some time off and I’m happy with that choice, but lately my days are filled with anxiety about the future. I don’t know where I’m going to apply to college when and if I go back. There is so much unknown in my life. But, as you said Angela, the key is to spend as much time as possible in the present, and then just take small steps to move forward in taking the next big step.

Like you said, Laura, knowing that others out their are struggling with the same things is very comforting. We can all find strength in the fact that we are never alone. I wish you both the absolute best!

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22 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 9, 2011

Thanks for sharing your own experience Laura. I can relate to the post-school anxiety issues…it can be a big transition period, but also, a new and exciting chapter in your life to begin. Goodluck!

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23 Lauren @ What Lauren Likes July 9, 2011

These posts are so uplifting and calming. I am always excited to read them and apply them to my life :) thanks!!

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24 Nicki July 9, 2011

This post was exactly what I needed this morning- thank you!

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25 Jaime July 9, 2011

Thank you for this post. I needed this just at this very moment.

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26 kaila @ healthy helper! July 9, 2011

I love this! Living in the present is something I think most people struggle with and all these tips will definitely be helpful. Thank you for sharing !

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27 Hilliary @ Happily Ever Healthy July 9, 2011

This is a great post, thank you! I am a person who is constantly worrying about the future and I sometimes forget to live in the present. I forget to enjoy the opportunities and experiences I am having in the now! These are great tips!

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28 Nikita July 9, 2011

Beautiful post as usual, Angela! You give some great tips and goals that anyone dealing with anxiety can benefit from.
Thank you!

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29 Kristen July 9, 2011

Amazing post Angela! Very relevant for me right now. Have you read “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle? It is all about living in the present and very thought provoking.

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30 Shannon ~ My Place In The Race July 9, 2011

I love this post! The unknown certainly can be scary at times.

Have a great weekend!

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31 Carol July 9, 2011

Loved this post. Living in the present is something I am working on also. Life is too short.

Eric sounds a lot like my hubby whenever I tell him what’s bothering me. His reaction almost always cheers me up:)

I hope you are able to find comfort from him being by your side!

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32 Miranda July 9, 2011

Thank you for writing this. I definitely needed this reminder in my life right now. I’m finding that I’m getting wrapped up in all the wrong things and then wondering why I feel so stressed out! Ugh. You are amazing. =)

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33 Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty July 9, 2011

As much as I would never wish anxiety on anyone, it’s so nice to hear that I’m not the only one (I feel like it sometimes). I worry about the future and what might happen often. I dramatize everything in my head and as a result spend so much time in the future that I don’t appreciate the now.

Thanks for this post Angela!

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34 Laura July 9, 2011

Beautiful post! Brought tears to my eyes.
You are such an inspiration to me as a sufferer of an eating disorder and anxiety.
You are truly an amazing person! <3

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35 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 9, 2011

All the best with your recovery Laura :)

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36 Jennifer July 9, 2011

What a beautiful post! I can almost feel the relief you felt pouring from my computer monitor (the release you had must have been REALLY powerful!). I love the honestly you have always brought to your blog. I also wanted to pass along to you one of my favorite websites that helps me take a deep breath and live in the moment:
http://www.thedailylove.com
It’s worth checking out if you haven’t already done so.

Have a fantastic weekend!

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37 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 9, 2011

Thanks going to check it out now!

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38 Mary ( What's Cookin' with Mary) July 9, 2011

“I can laugh about it with Eric when I tell him what I’m anxious about and the look on his face makes me burst into laughter, realizing how ridiculous my worries sound out loud.” – Brian provides this same thing for me… sometimes just telling him how I feel (when I’m feeling anxious) and watching his face change as I speak, I realize how silly I am being. I’m so grateful to have a husband that ‘balances me out’ and reminds me to stop (as he calls it) ‘death spiraling’… meaning: don’t get stuck in my head?! TALK about it and get it out there so I can stop worrying about it or realize I’m just over thinking things… Thank you for writing this Ange. It helps remind me that I’m not the only one out there who struggles with these things. :)

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39 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 9, 2011

Death spiriling….I love that term! It made me laugh. I will be using that, thank you :)
Eric is my calm ocean breeze. I’ve also learned that the more I voice my anxieties to others, the more easy the can be disproven. Even writing it down on paper and looking at it helps!

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40 Andrea @ Vegvacious July 9, 2011

This is a wonderful post Angela! I can relate to this so much ~ in fact I swear you were talking about me! My husband often says that I worry so much about what ‘might’ happen that I miss what actually IS happening!! I’ve been making a true effort to change the way I think and to live in the present and it is amazing to me how much more I enjoy life when I do!

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41 Lindsey July 9, 2011

Like you and many that have posted, I suffer from anxiety and depression. Not a constant, all day every day anxiety and depression–but it comes in seasons. It is nice to read that others deal with such issues and have the same thoughts. Thank you for the post!

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42 Maria July 9, 2011

Anxiety + I are always having constant battles. Sometimes I keep myself up at night over the most ridiculous scenarios that I put in my head (what if someone’s car breaks down on the way to my wedding for instance). Its crazy!
I love your ideas for coping with anxiety though. I totally believe that cleaning and yoga are the biggest help for me. Whenever I organize something in my apartment or finish up laundry, I feel amazing. Granted the tasks at hand aren’t very glamorous, but the end result makes me appreciate the effort and most importantly, clears my head.

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43 Lindsay Loves Veggies July 9, 2011

Wow Angela! This is a beautiful post! I also deal with anxiety regularly, and it’s something that I’ve really been trying to deal with lately, especially since it really does impact how happy I am on a daily basis. Thank you for the amazing tips, and I really hope that you’re able to tackle that anxiety monster. :)

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44 Therese July 9, 2011

I’ve never been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder but I’m right there with you in that I live in a world of past/future and it’s done nothing good for me. It’s also been a goal of mine recently to really make a concerted effort to live in the present. I’m better than I used to be but still have to constantly get my mind out of that trap. I’m implementing daily meditation and yoga twice a week to help change these nasty behaviours!

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45 Andrea July 9, 2011

What a poignant post.. I love it! I, too, find myself struggling to live in the present at times, and a reminder like this is sometimes so necessary! I can relate to everything you said, particularly the need to do less! It’s so hard sometimes with society’s pressure to do more and more :)

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46 Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga July 9, 2011

Angela this list is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it all!

I concur with every single thing and this jumped out at me, especially:
“I’m a chronic multi-tasker like many women.”

Yes. And it makes me feel like I am never doing 1 thing great, but am doing 4 things ok, 3 things so-so and 1 thing is subpar but I deal with it. If you ever have a baby, the whole multi tasking even goes to new levels and the anxiety then goes to, but am I doing enough for my child…it’s such a vicious web!

And I am soooo glad you shared what you did about therapy. And that the comments encouraged you to post those types of things in the future, too. I have found my most…omg why am I posting this posts generate the most reader love :)

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47 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 9, 2011

Biggest risks tend to get the biggest rewards right?

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48 zoe (and the beatles) July 9, 2011

i LOVE zen habits! leo seriously makes me life. love your list. i definitely need to draw up one of my own!

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49 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 9, 2011

same :) its relaxing just reading it!

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50 Lisa July 9, 2011

Great post and so much for your readers to contemplate. If you are really searching for ways to leave the past and quit worrying about your future, consider reading some of the books written by Thich Nhat Hahn. His writings and teachings on the subject of mindfulness and being present in the here and now, are beautiful. Look up the story of eating the tangerine…..amazing! And, best wishes for a happy July!

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51 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 9, 2011

Thanks will look the author up :)

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52 Amanda P July 9, 2011

Great ideas! I really love the Do Less idea. I’m definitely going to apply this one too my life. Living in the present is tough for me too but yoga really helps. And remembering to really breathe, even when I’m feeling overwhelmed at work. I recently read somewhere (can’t remember now of course) when you’re thinking about the negative what-ifs that if it hasn’t happened yet, its not going to! I have been trying to remember that! Hope you get some “present time” this weekend!

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53 Ula July 9, 2011

I suggest reading “the power of now” by Eckhart Tolle. It changed my life.

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54 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 9, 2011

thanks!

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55 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 9, 2011

Thanks adding it to my list! :)

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56 Em Marie @ The Creative Revival July 9, 2011

Thanks for writing this post. Living in the present is something that I’ve been working on. I’ve always create so many “shoulds” and expectations about certain things and scenarios. Realizing that I can’t “control” everything, especially other people helps. Often times things work out so much better than all the little “plans” I come up with anyways. I also tell my self that if God put this obstacle in my life He will help get me through it!

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57 Pamela July 9, 2011

I really needed this…thank you. I am going to print out your list as well!

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58 Donna @ Life of a Happy Blonde July 9, 2011

Another epic post Angela
The one thing i really struggle with is remembering past issues in an old relationship and letting them cause me unhappiness in the moment even though i’m in such an amazing place with a much more amazing guy now
Your post pointed out to me that i’m wasting time and energy doing that – one tool i try to use is to take a deep breath and think of something positive in the future i have to look forward to with all the amazing people in my life now :)

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59 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 9, 2011

Great tip…I like doing that as well :)

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60 Moni'sMeals July 9, 2011

This is another one of my FAVORITE posts from you, how real and honest. I am with you 100%… I would also like to make more effort on being in the now. I am starting this… now. :)

Great list, super actually.

Thanks Angela.

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61 Aine @ Something to Chew Over July 9, 2011

This is another great post Angela, I’d really like to join you in this goal. In particular I’d like to look at cleaning in a more positive light – I always feel so much better after doing it but I’m always putting it off.

As always, thanks for sharing.

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62 Jackie @ That Deep Breath July 9, 2011

I think those are great goals. Focusing on the present rather than the past or future is definitely a challenge that I am working on too. Great post

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63 Baking 'n' Books July 9, 2011

I will check that site. Great tips – but often much easier said than done as I’m sure you know ;)

But – have you seen the movie “Eat Pray Live” ? In it, Julia Robert’s says to then-boyfriend James Franco (Characaters obviously!) – “I don’t how to just be” (while crying and sleeping on the floor) – and he says – “You want to know how to just be?? Stop waiting for things to happen”.

…gives me much to think about…

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64 Char July 9, 2011

LOVE this post! I battle anxiety as well, & have been working on living in the moment. Sometimes I need a little reminder :) so today, I am doing my dishes, laundry, writing blog posts, etc…slowly. And I’m going to enjoy them. And I’m going to remember to smile :)

Thanks, Angela!

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65 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 9, 2011

I think even just the word ‘slow’ is relaxing at times.

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66 Carly July 9, 2011

This post couldn’t have come at a better time! I recently started a job working with very aggressive teenage girls suffering from borderline personality disorder. I am constantly feeling anxious anticipating how they may react to every situation. 50% of the time it’s positive, the other 50% of the time I have support. I need to accept that it is what it is and worrying gets nobody anywhere!

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67 Elle @ We can begin to feed... July 9, 2011

Minimalism.. yes! We sold our house, furnished, almost 10 years ago now.. kept only prized personal things and gave the rest away… moved onto a 34 foot sailboat and call it home. I can’t shop… I have no room!

Totally loving the lifestyle and the freedom from ‘things’.

Good for you.

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68 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 9, 2011

Wow that’s incredible. I just told your story to Eric and he liked the idea ;)

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69 Carrie July 9, 2011

Thank you so much for this post! I can totally relate to everything you wrote, and with some big changes coming in my life the next few months, definitely something I needed to read!

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70 Mac July 9, 2011

I’m currently working on being a minimalist… I just moved so I got rid of a LOT or stuff, but I could still use to get rid of a few more things.

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71 Rachelle July 9, 2011

Have you read “The Wisdom of Insecurity”? It deals with this topic beautifully ….

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72 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 9, 2011

No but I will add it to my list to check out!

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73 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen July 9, 2011

Living in the present is something I need to constantly remind myself to do. I always seem to tell myself “just wait until X event happens and then things will be good” of course, once X happens that mentality just shifts to the next one. I end up waiting/wishing my life away. Great goal Angela, I will be trying to do the same!

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74 Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat July 9, 2011

I have many favourite Oh She Glows posts, but this is one that is very very close to the top!! These are such great tips Ange, and I’m taking so many of them with plans to apply them to myself. I started drafting a post this morning about letting myself chill out more, and like you’ve said, slowing down and living in the moment is something I think a lot of people (absolutely including myself) could benefit from. I may even have to print off this entire post as a reminder! :)

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75 Emma @ Getting There & Going Places July 9, 2011

Great post with great tips! :)

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76 Miranda July 9, 2011

Love this post. LOVE.
And I needed to read it now, as getting caught up on the past is something I fight with daily….maybe multiple times a day….
Thank you for your courage and your honesty.

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77 Julie - StressStories July 9, 2011

Oh Angela I don’t know if I can quite explain exactly how much this post meant for me to read at this exact point. I have just been on an evening walk with my husband, where we discussed my issues with anxiety, how I do a lot of things out of fear… I’ve just recently started running for my own sake, to make me feel good. Before I would do it out of fear of being fat, working like a crazy person out of fear of getting fired – the list is long.

I too am a shallow breather, a multi-tasker (read the post while brushing my teeth) and someone who hardly ever leaves room in between tasks to just be… You reminded me that these are tools that I am free to use at all times. And that I am free to be in the NOW! I think that I leave so little room for quiettime because I am essentially afraid of being alone with my own mind and handling ghosts from the part. It would be valuable to start coming at my psychiatrist’s again.

Thank you. For reminding me and for being you. Your honesty inspires me.

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78 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 9, 2011

Thank you for your comment Julie! When you said you are afraid of being alone with your thoughts that really resonated with me. Maybe thats why I never enjoy quiet time? I never just sit and be…ever!

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79 Julie - StressStories July 11, 2011

At least I believe that this is the case for me. Being afraid of letting go and letting me into the deepest part of my mind. Which just underlines the fact that I NEED to keep learning how to meditate and how to just sitting in the garden and looking at a bird for hours and hours.
Good luck with overcoming the anxiety – I only wish a had the answer to how to do it.

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80 Holly @ The Runny Egg July 9, 2011

Wonderful post Angela — I too seem to be stuck in my head most of the time — thinking about the past or dreaming about the future. There is nothing wrong with wanting more, but I need to be thankful for what I have and making the most of my situation, while working towards my future goals.

Thanks for the inspiring posts!

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81 Leslie July 9, 2011

Thank you for your PERFECT & timely message. I was reminding myself to enjoy the moment and not worry about a particularly subject and then read your post. Instead of truly enjoying the good moments, many of us lose the good moments worrying about certain situations.

Great post…can’t thank you enough for the post and your site!!!

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82 Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers July 9, 2011

Great post! Now if I only saw cleaning as meditation, I’d be set for life.

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83 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 9, 2011

ditto :)

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84 VEGirl July 9, 2011

This came at a great time for me! I have been thinking about this a lot lately and have some to the conclusion that I really need to live in the present– not get caught up in all those other distractions. These are fantastic tips and I think many will come into play for me very soon. Also, THANK YOU for the Zen Habits blog link– quite a gem!

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85 Chantelle July 9, 2011

Angela, one tip someone recently passed onto me is to focus on your senses to really be “in the moment”. For instance, the way the light hits a blanket and brings out the colors in it; the feeling of water as you’re washing dishes; the dirt under your feet; the warmth of the shower. Hope it helps you. When I remember to do this it does help me :)

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86 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 9, 2011

yes I love that tip!! I have a hard time doing it, but hopefully will get better with practice.

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87 Keri July 9, 2011

Thank you for this. I do so many of the things you talked about, its nice to know you are not alone. I especially love the- expressing your anxieties aloud to Eric. I do this all the time and as you said, the look on my fiance’s face, telling me I’m crazy, usually helps!

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88 Krissy July 9, 2011

OMG! Angela I’ve been a fan of your blog for some time now because I love your recipes. However, I really needed to read this non-food related post today. It was like I was reading this about myself. I can totally relate even about the part of telling my worries to my husband and looking at the reaction on his face. Then I realize how ridiculous they sound. Great tips too and it feels good to know there are other people that have similar struggles.

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89 'Dee July 9, 2011

Beautiful post! I think I myself needed to read this right about now. Thank you for so often opening up about tough topics on your blog, Angela. You become a brave soul who so many of us can relate to — and appreciate for being so brave!

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90 Sara July 9, 2011

I cannot even tell you how much this post sounds like it was written by me. Each time I go home to be with my family, I end up in some sort of anxiety provoking situation. As much as I try to control it, I cannot. I have tried for years to explain to my family members what it feels like to be driven and held down by anxiety. It took me until the age of 20 to realize that it was my body chemistry that was incorrect, not my reactions to situations. I had to form coping mechanisms that would calm me down and keep my emotions in check. Writing, singing, exercising, cooking, taking walks, –> these all help. It is so hard to understand unless you are going through it. It is like a second voice in your head controlling all of your thoughts and movements. Without strict structure, I become overwhelmed and extremely nervous. Anxiety has affected my family relationships, friendships, and my dating life. I have tried counseling in the past and did not click well with the doctor. Maybe its time to give it another shot?

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91 Melissa Leech July 9, 2011

Angela-
Your post was so refreshing today!! I felt as if you were righting it for me. I too have suffered from anxiety, and it is so frustrating. Your tips were amazing and I plan on using them in my own life as well. I mostly experience social anxiety, I will never be the first person to come out and say hi in a room full of strangers, I do not like to stand out, and feel as if I STICK OUT most of the time.
I can say that I have challenged myself more this past year than in all of my adult years combined ( I am 45). This past year I signed up for a Clinical Nutrition course which required me to drive an hour away from home every evening, I ran a half marathon, and raised $1,100. I was more fearful of asking people for money than running the miles, weird huh?
So here are a few supplements that can help ease anxiety, especially stress induced anxiety.
Calcium/Magnesium-helps relieve tension, nervousness& anxiety
A really good Multi-vitamin/Mineral-essential for proper functioning of adrenal glands.
SAMe – involved in over 40 biochemical reactions in the body, has a calming effect.
B-Complex my all time favorite go to vitamin for stress combat.
Foods-apricots, asparagus, avocados, bananas, blackstrap molasses, brewer’s yeast, broccoli, brown rices, dulse, figs,fish, garlic, nuts, seeds and yogurt, all provide valuable minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium which are depleted by stress. People with anxiety disorders have higher levels of free radical damage due to stress.
Last but not least classical music always relaxes and calms me. I hope this has helped me as much as you have been a help to me and my family.
P.s my kids <3 VOO (:

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92 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 10, 2011

Thanks Melissa!

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93 Dutchgirl Sam July 9, 2011

Really love your post, read your blog every day and truly enjoy it. Big time!
I think it’s a brave thing to talk about your struggles in life and your ideas of living in the present sound so usefull! I’ll intergrate the decluttering rule in my life, that’s my goal for this month. Thanks!
But, why do you make such a huge list for yourself? You can’t possibly do all of those things. Why don’t you just pick one or two things (and be kind for yourself by not overloading yourself with expectations you can’t possibly live up to) and really, truly intergrate those things in your daily routine?
Love from Holland! Sam

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94 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 10, 2011

Actually one of the things on my list ‘do less’ is an objective of mine. Shorter lists, better quality of work. :) Which why I have just one goal for july- to be mindful and present.

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95 Tiffany July 9, 2011

I absolutely adore this list, missy. I love, love, love keeping things simple. It always seems as though when I realize that I need to think and live more simply that I instantly feel the weight come off my shoulders and chest. I once had a New Year’s resolution to smile more. That was an awesome year. :) Happy weekend!

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96 Ricki July 9, 2011

Angela, I’m a huge advocate of therapy, which has helped me immensely over the years. And I, too, am familiar with the anxiety monster! Your points are fantastic. And, I’ve found, as you get older (since I am SO MUCH older than you!!), you really do begin to take on those points just naturally. Things that would have once caused me great anxiety roll off my back easily these days. Sure, there are other things that stress me out, but overall, I’m way better at handling them than I used to be in my 20s. The only point I haven’t quite mastered yet is “getting rid of things”–time for a house-purge over here at the DDD household, too, I think!! ;)

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97 Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble July 9, 2011

I use to get really anxious and get so worked up about things that didn’t matter or hadn’t even happened. I would get wound up over a conversation I thought I might have to have with a friend, or what work would be like next season. It would escalate in my mind to a point where no issues became issues – but only in my mind. In the last year I have somehow been able to release all that anxiety. The only advice I have is “don’t sweat the small stuff”. Whenever I feel the anxiety demon building up inside I ask myself “does this really matter??”. I don’t really know what’s changed in the past year that has allowed me to let go of my anxiety. Beside my one little piece of advice above I would suggest a vitamin B supplement. Those two things have worked for me and my anxiety demon has disappeared.

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98 coffeeaddict July 9, 2011

Reading this was a shocking out of body experience. It might have just as well be my picture up there, because that’s exactly how I feel most of the time. Always worried about the future, always planning something and my life just passes me by.
I will definitely be printing this post out! Though I would add one thing to your list: research has shown that touching cat fur is bot relaxing and beneficial for mental health, so a scheduled little break to pet the cat should be on the list as well.

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99 Kathy July 9, 2011

I need to print this list :)

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100 Meredith July 9, 2011

Awesome post! I’ve always had a hard time living in the present; I’m constantly looking ahead to what I have to do tomorrow, next week, next year, next decade! It gets a little crazy. Everything is so true.

As a sidenote, I made the no-bake version of your double chocolate torte for my 21st birthday/post-GRE celebrations today – it was AMAZING! Definitely making it again and again. I used almonds in the crust instead of pecans, and they worked perfectly! Thanks for another awesome recipe!

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101 Meredith July 9, 2011

And by ‘everything is so true’, I meant to say ‘everything in this list is so true’ :).

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102 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 10, 2011

Glad you liked it and that the almonds worked too!

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103 Maggie July 9, 2011

I love this. Especially the definition of insanity…it really hit home that I have to do something different to find a new outcome.

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104 Tracie July 9, 2011

Angela what a blessing you are for sharing all your beautiful creative ways of preparing food. Thank you:) I haven’t kept up with your blog as much this past year basically because of life and finding it hard to find time to sit and get time on the computer. I always enjoy reading and seeing what is new and exciting. I haven’t read the last few blogs but I just want to encourage you on this one, in those times of anxiety. I was one of those people who would lay in bed and replay the whole day. Who I talked with , how the conversation went, what I should have or could have said…then think about what I would say the next time. Thinking that I could always make everything better or fix situations, making myself almost sick. Worrying about everything else on top of that. Anyways long story short I also have tried many things to cope with anxiety, reading different books, different styles of yoga, exercise. I have always believed there was a God but didn’t really acknowledge what he is or who he is. This last year I have become friends with some amazing people (not cult like at all…lol) They have taught me who this true God is…A God of LOVE:) He doesn’t want us to live in fear or worry or stress. Matthew 6:34 Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
So a year ago I truly became a Christian. One who now lives for this God. When I am troubled I turn to him knowing his love for me. I can give him my worries because he is ultimately in control, it takes all the pressure off me. I meditate on him and his word now. My life was a mess when I was trying to control it now I have let it go and let God. Soooo good. Blessings on you beautiful Angela. I pray your spirits are lifted and his love consumes you:)

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105 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 10, 2011

Thank you Tracie! Im happy you’ve found the peace that you were searching for. :)

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106 RebeccaUtah July 9, 2011

Oh wow! Your post has truly touched me and impacted me in a scary poignant way. I have struggled with anxiety for many years in the past and it’s flared up recently. I find myself saying that I don’t understand how others can live this rosy life while I struggle… This is so perfect and has given me hope and new perspective. Thank you, thank you.

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107 Emma July 9, 2011

Thank you so much for this post! I actually needed this. I’ve always been branded the happy yogini or the happy veg-head just because I have a smile that I could not seem to wipe off my face. Now, I seem to be losing my sparkle! This post is a wakeup for me to quickly do some soul-searching and to start snapping out of this rut!

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108 Wendy Irene July 9, 2011

Living in the present is the most peaceful and fulfilling way to live. I learned a lot from The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Staying present is something I constantly need to remind myself of and I completely agree with you that writing is a great release. Warm wishes!

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109 Holly July 9, 2011

Love your post! It made me think of my favorite quote “worry is the advanced price we pay for things that may never come”.

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110 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 10, 2011

great quote!

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111 Karly July 9, 2011

On the topic of Eric’s reaction to your worries, I would be interested in a post about identifying with and comforting those suffering from anxiety. Recently, my boyfriend was diagnosed with several anxiety-related disorders, and since he began taking an antidepressant, his disposition has changed radically. He used to be fully engaged in the world and the present moment; he always made keen observations and shrewd comments, and was (at least outwardly) confident and contented. Now he constantly obsesses over his negative thought patterns and has adopted a blasé attitude towards everything else. He was so occupied with overanalyzing his mental processes that he barely appreciated your high protein quinoa almond berry salad and strawberry oat squares when we picnicked in Millennium Park this afternoon… hmph.

When he initially told me about his anxiety and accompanying feelings of inadequacy and despair, I experienced an unexpected and total powerlessness. Our relationship has stagnated, and although I attempt to be his “calm ocean breeze” by redirecting his thoughts with my positivity and insight, my words and actions seem to have no impact on his condition. Effectively supporting those struggling with anxiety without absorbing their negativity is perhaps as challenging as dealing with one’s own anxiety.

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112 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 10, 2011

For us, we’ve always talked things through and Eric has helped me disprove many of my anxieties. However, it’s not easy for someone to do that and I don’t think that he should have to either, which is why I ultimately decided to go back into therapy. I think when anxiety reaches a certain point, a professional is usually needed to make progress. This alleviates stress and burden on the partner too. Has your boyfriend thought about therapy? Usually antidepressants are most effective when therapy is used in conjunction.
I was on a couple different antidepressants/anxiety meds in university for a short period of time and I actually felt worse on the meds, even with therapy. They weren’t for me, but everyone will be different of course.

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113 Karly July 10, 2011

He has been seeing a psychiatrist for cognitive-behavioral therapy, but as in your case, even with therapy, the antidepressant seems to be curbing recovery instead of ameliorating the symptoms. I think the best course of action for me is to simply be patient and supportive, allowing him to work out his issues on his own and with a professional. Thanks so much for your advice and inspiration, and best of luck with your return to therapy.

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114 Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance July 9, 2011

What a great post with great advice! Do less– I need to incorporate this into my daily life for sure!

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115 Lexi @ A Spoonful of Sunshine July 9, 2011

Just scrolling through this post as well as a few others, I noticed that a quite amazing number of people listed you as an inspiration. I would agree wholeheartedly–you are. I’m sure you know this, but I found one comment you made in the last post to be quite interesting. If I remember correctly, you mentioned being somewhat worried to talk about your anxiety you were “supposed to be past that, supposed to be an inspiration,” which is, by all means, a natural fear.

In truth, however, I think it is this very weakness–or rather the ability to admit and address it–that makes you an inspiration. Hearing someone such as yourself talk about a feeling with which every, single person has wrest and grappled is liberating. It reminds us that someone has felt or is feeling that which ails us. It reminds us to take a deep breath, look life straight in the eye, and step forward without looking back.

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116 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 10, 2011

Thank you Lexi, that is what I realized when I posted it. It’s never a bad thing to be vulnerable, but necessary to heal.

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117 Katrina July 10, 2011

Wow, this is so thoughtful. I don’t have anxiety, but I can imagine how hard it must be. I can use these tips for other things though. Thanks!

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118 Gail July 10, 2011

Great post Angela! I’m actually doing sort of the same thing. Getting my life simpler, trying to be in the present and be still, and not constantly thinking about EVERYTHING!!!!!! I’m also looking deeper into myself to change a lot of my old habits. They’re not getting me anywhere, they’re producing stress and anxiety, and quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of it! Life is too precious to waste it on such crap! It’s time to move forward and stop fretting so much! Thanks!

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119 Isabelle July 10, 2011

This was such an inspiring post. Printing it out and working towards ‘Living in the present’ this week :)

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120 Mel July 10, 2011

It’s amazing isnt it getting rid of all those things in your house that clutter it up. Im one of those who thinks well I might need it one day..but yet after getting rid of it I don’t even miss it. I see too much into a future and have big goals but they cant come true because I dont see what is right now. I recently buckled down on myself to focus on the now, it’s a bit labour intensive because for example I dream of a new house but none of my present actions reflected this future vision so now Im organising my finances etc or I dream of being an author..stupid me forgot I need to actually finish my novel, so now Im taking that as a serious job now.

But yes its so easy to lose yourself and yes my biggest challange is that I miss oppertunities due to fear.

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121 Lauri (Redheadrecipes.com) July 10, 2011

I totally needed this!! Especially #2: Be a minimalist

We are in the process of moving into a smaller rental house and I feel so overwhelmed by all of the stuff we have accumulated! And all of the stuff I ‘Don’t want to throw away/donate, but I don’t really need’. Having too much ‘junk’ can lead to stress and a ‘cluttered mind’. Thanks for reminding me that all of these worldly possessions aren’t whats most important in life.

And we definitely need to use up the groceries we have before shopping again!! I’m starting to think I’m a food hoarder! ha ha!

Good luck on your journey.

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122 deepti July 10, 2011

beautiful and inspiring, I can relate with the viscious cycle and the decluttering towards minimalism!

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123 JoAnn Donahue July 10, 2011

I came on your sight today.. I wanted to look at the
recipe for your baked beans….The crock pot is ready :-)

However this post was front and center so I decided to read.
I watched a video last night shared with me from a friend
and as I read your post I thought I will share the video with
Angela.

So here you go Angela

Peace and joy within
JoAnn
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYYXq1Ox4sk&feature=player_embedded

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124 Allegra July 10, 2011

Loved this post! You resonated on so many levels with the minimalism, therapy, space creation, and breathing!
I’ve started to tell everyone that I make NO plans for Sundays so that one day of the week can be absolutely free for whatever impulse I decide to follow in the moment.
Best of luck with everything & hope my email proves helpful in some way!

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125 Kristen July 10, 2011

Angela you should really try the class INTENSATI – I am currently going through the six month certification for the program and it is amazing. The class combines spoken affirmations with physical movements and it is all about self-awareness, being present, and changing negative patterns into positive behavior. Look it up on the web: http://www.intensati.com

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126 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 10, 2011

Thanks I’ll check it out :)

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127 shamima July 10, 2011

What a wonderful reminder to live in the present. Why is it such a difficult thing? I have been focusing on being more mindful as well. As a new mom I have come to realize the most important thing is to enjoy my son and not worry about all the things I think I should be doing. At the same time when he is napping I struggle with not rushing and trying to do a million things and then get nothing accomplished. I am trying to focus on one task at a time, doing less and breathing. My hubby and I are minimalists and it truly has made both of us so much happier…less stuff also means less stuff to clean:)!! Have a wonderful day and also thank you for introducing Zen Habits!!

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128 LizAshlee July 10, 2011

I loved reading your post…so inspirational. Being in the present moment is also one of my goals! I recently started my career in occupational therapy and while I luv OT, I am not fulfilled by my current position and it is actually one I never saw myself doing…a little disappointing. I find myself constantly looking to the future and trying to figure out how to make my career work for me…how to take the next step…also, trying to figure out how i can incorporate my passion for food & fitness…my mind spins sometimes. While I think it is perfectly normal to plan for the future, I know it is equally important to be happy and thankful and present in the moment! To finding the balance!

Thank you so much for inspirational tips…I am also going to incorporate these into my routine!

Happy Weekend!:)

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129 kelli July 10, 2011

great post! xoxo

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130 Meredith Snyder July 10, 2011

I can really relate to this post. I am a worrier. I worry about what the future will hold. It makes me want the future to be here so fast, so that I’ll have “all the answers”, that I really do miss out on a lot that is going on in the present.

I think about the quote, “The days are long, but the years are short.” I don’t want to spend my life in the future, and miss out on all the beauty and precious moments that are going on now. Thank you for reminding me of this today!

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131 Savannah(Sweet and Savvy) July 10, 2011

This is a wonderful post. <3 I always struggle with living in the future to much. I worry to the point of making myself sick. I will give these tips a try. Thanks !

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132 Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner July 10, 2011

Forgiving the Past has been something difficult for me. I always remember it and it really drags me down. It’s as if it was happening right now. I am going to work on that — and live more in the present.

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133 Kathy July 10, 2011

Hi Angela,
I stumbled onto you site about a month ago. I love it! Being present is something I am striving for also. Are you familiar with Eckhart Tolle? He is a writer and he also has an amazing website: echartolletv.com. Thanks for the inspiration!

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134 Balancing Sylvia July 10, 2011

Thank you so much for this list Angela. I think this was hands down the most beneficial post for me personally. I live so much in the past and often get lost in dreams for the future but I have no idea how to live now. This also happens to make me a huge procrastinator. All of which makes stresses me out far too much. I think I’ll be printing this list out for myself as well :) Thanks so much again

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135 Lynne July 10, 2011

As someone who is also a worrier (my main bugaboo is finances) I found this post so helpful. Thanks for the tips, and for sharing that I am not alone in dealing with this issue. On a more humorous note, my husband often tells me to “just breathe”. Let’s just say I am more likely to take that advice from you than from him! : ) He is one of those always contented, always calm, always happy souls. When the advice comes from him, it just doesn’t carry the same ring to it as advice from someone who is dealing with the problem in their life too. So thanks!

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136 Jena July 10, 2011

These posts are so thoughtful, and I personally find them really helpful, as I’m sure do many of your readers. I appreciate how hard it must be to ‘put it all out there’, but wow, to read it like this really makes me think about myself and how I need to have a good hard look in the mirror at where I am mentally. I focus so much on my physical health, and neglect my state of mind. I too notice myself furrowing my brows with unnecessary worry, and then try to stop – not because I think the worry is unnecessary (which it is) but because I don’t want to cause wrinkles! hahahaaa.
Thank you for giving me the nudge I need to be mindful about my mental as well as my physical health. I hope to read more posts like this as you continue your journey, and I’ll be here cheering you on.

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137 KimLivesHealthy July 10, 2011

Great post Angela – I’m going to take your advice about cleaning as meditation. It’s a good way to space out with your hands busy. And P.S. – my husband is addicted to your chocolate chip cookie dough balls (made with PB flour) :)

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138 Vegetariangirl July 10, 2011

Great post? I love zen habits too. For myself I had low b12 and once I got it higher I felt less anxiety. I take a b12 supplement now.

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139 Anne July 10, 2011

Angela,
Thank you so much for this post! I’ve been following your blog for some time now and this is the first time I’ve commented. We are very similar people. Grad school had made me very unhappy and anxious about my future. And even today I’m looking back at things still anxious about things that have been taken care of.
I’m thankful for a wonderful fiance that reminds me that I don’t need to worry and he listens to my concerns.
I’ll be keeping your list of 10 things in mind and I wish more people in my life would do this too, if they did I think we would ALL be much less anxious!
Thank you again! Keep all the fantastic recipes and advice coming :)

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140 Kristen July 10, 2011

Wow. I feel like you just dictated my exact situation in life right now. My biggest struggle, while recovering from major orthopedic surgery, is trying to stop living in the future and focus on the now. Your “10 Ways” are exactly what I needed to read today ;) Thank you so much. By the way, your Almond Butter Rice Crisp Treats are to DIE for!

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141 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 10, 2011

Thanks Kristen! Sending healing vibes your way :)

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142 Morgan @ Operation Hot Mama July 10, 2011

Wow, as I read this post and the comments made, I realize that anxiety is a very common issue. I have also had my share of constant worrying and anxiety. Over the past 7 months, it had taken such a toll on my body, my skin looked terrible, I put on 40 lbs and lost my ‘spark’. Since I started my own blog and developed a pro-active approach to calming myself and finding my happiness, I find that I am happier each and everyday. Thank you so much for this post and I wish you the best. :)

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143 Angela @ MyPinkyToes July 10, 2011

Thank you for this post. I can relate to it so so so much. I am always worrying about the future, and I often overlook the good that is going on in the present. I, too, was always smiling as a child…so much so that my middle school volleyball coach nicknamed me happy. When I get caught up in my anxieties, I wonder how I ever got that name.
I especially loved your quote, “Once we remove the shame from how we feel, true healing can begin.” Nothing is more true.

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144 Aja July 10, 2011

I love these tips. I’ve been having a real hard time sleeping lately because I keep worrying about the coming day. Wonderful post.

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145 Kaitlin July 10, 2011

I have been a longtime reader and very much relate to this post. Thank you for remaining open and honest Angela. It is incredibly helpful to a fellow victim of the anxiety monster. This is now MY July (and beyond) goal. Leaving you with a quote I find helpful..

“Don’t worry about what you can’t control and you may liberate yourself.”

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146 Wendy July 10, 2011

Oh wow….I can’t believe how timely this is for me. I’ve not got time to read the comments, but expect they echo my thoughts to a certain degree…..

Being in the present moment is absolutely one of the best ways to tackle the burden of anxiety that so many of us face, but so much easier said than done. I can’t thank you enough for this post, hoping I will remember to bookmark it and refer back to it, to read and digest…..

Love your blog, and appreciate the hard work you do in making it a peaceful and joyful place to visit!!

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147 Zestful Lou July 10, 2011

I just emailed this post to a good friend who is struggling with a lot of the same things. Thank you for sharing things like this. I know it must be scary, but so many of us are in the same boat and it’s comforting simply to know that we are not alone.

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148 Vicki July 10, 2011

I am currently training to become a yoga teacher, and our teacher told us once that ‘forgiveness is to let go of the illusion that the past can be fixed.’ I find it very powerful, and it relates to your point #4…

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149 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 11, 2011

great quote! :)

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150 Lauren July 10, 2011

Just found you! I love this post. So beautiful and powerful. As a fellow therapy-lover (got my Masters in Psychology, infact) I appreciate your tips, honesty and vulnerability on living in the moment. Thank you.

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151 Jamie July 10, 2011

I’m not one to comment but I do read your post everyday and LOVE it! I’m currently in Costa Rica right now and have felt my anxiety starting to creep in and this is a time when I should be relaxing on the beach having no worries! I feel like it becomes a battle aganist myself and I write this script in my head of how everything is going to playout. I hope to be able to live in the present and not worry about the future. Please keep posting and updating on your progess and best of luck to you:)

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152 eva @5fruitsNveggies July 10, 2011

after briefly reading the comments from other readers, it looks as if you–we are not alone with this anxiety issue…for me it has been constant since i was a child…i have two children–one already suffers from it, and the other is a calm soul (lucky her)….helping my daughter through it, helps me keep my anxieties in perspective and teaches me how to deal with mine…thanks for being vocal about it…there’s a stigma attached to anxiety–i feel as though people might judge someone who appears anxious as someone who does not have their lives together–so i am not vocal about how i suffer with it…

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153 Blythe July 10, 2011

Thank you for being so honest and also for the great strategies. You are not alone. I look forward to following you on your journey.

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154 ashley @ ashley's adventures in alaska July 10, 2011

I don’t have serious issues with anxiety, but my husband does. I’m totally sharing this list when he gets home from the surprise massage I booked him this evening. Maybe taking an hour to focus on his body and relaxing helped ease his mind for a while. :)

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155 Kyoko July 11, 2011

Hi! Nice to find this blog! How bright shined! How beautiful you are!
I became a big fun of you at first sight! Sorry, my English might be strange.
I live in Japan. And I’m learning English right now.
I have two sons, and have tough relationship with my father . It influences to the relationship with my husband . He has addiction to alcoholic. I have a shopping addiction. But I’m overcoming it! Little by little, step by step.
I’m working on myself. To know, to admit, to love myself.
I want my husband to stop drinking. I’ve tried hard to. I come to realize I can’t change him. Only thing I can change is myself, my attitude, my way of thought.
I was encouraged by your blog. Thank you!
Sincerely, Kyoko

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156 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 11, 2011

Welcome!

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157 Cynthia July 11, 2011

Thank you so much for this post. It is good to know that I am not the only one as a “control freak” (and a Psychologist…. what a irony!). Great tips… thanks fpr sharing them :)

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158 Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) July 11, 2011

These tips are great Angela – thank you!

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159 Morgan @ Operation Hot Mama July 11, 2011

By the way, I absolutely love the Zen Habits blog! It is so refreshing…thank you so much for the link!!!!

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160 Julia July 11, 2011

I just read your beautiful post as I unplugged from the internet over the weekend. :)

I, too, struggle with anxiety and panic attacks. I have to work on letting things go and not to agonize about everything. It’s really hard because the things I worry about are often totally unreasonable (especially when spoken out loud).

Now, when panic creeps up again, I no longer try to repress it because that makes it even worse. Instead, I found it very helpful to “simply” accept that something makes me panicing right now and I try explore the source of my panic. I usually take my notebook and write down the circle of my thoughts. This helps me to get to the real source.

Your list is just amazing!
I’d only add one point: When anxiety creeps up become clear about what would be the worst thing that could happen. For me, the worst thing to happen would be loosing my loved ones and being all alone. And this is most unlikely to happen. So, no matter what happens, I will usually find a way to make things work because I can trust on the support by others. I might not immediately find the perfect solution but it can only get better from that.

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161 Lindsay July 11, 2011

I really needed to read this today. I’m probably the most anxious person that I know. My husband is alway telling me not to worry about things, but I can’t help it sometimes. The biggest thing that works for me right now is to tell myself outloud to “stop” and that “it’s not worth it”.

I’m definitely going to be using some of your other tips and converting them to work for me.

Thank you, so much, for this. Truly.

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162 MelanieF July 11, 2011

Wow, this just hit home!! Last night, I had a hard time falling asleep as I was thinking about my parents going on a small trip and what if something would happen to them, and I was thinking about my brother who was babysitting the family dog and if he would take good care of her in the absence of my parents…and on and on and on…For me I know it’s getting worst with the older I get (I am now 34, almost 35) because I didn’t use to be this way.

Thank you for this post. It made me feel better to know that I am not alone :-)

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163 Ulli July 11, 2011

I can sooo much relate to this!! I’m also anxious a lot, but I tend to see it positively lately…I feel that a lot of people who suffer from anxiouty are the ones who are successful – just look at what you built out of nothing!!! I don’t say that it is just positive and good, but we can try to look at it this way, maybe thats also relaxing us a bit – you are not alone with this!!

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164 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 11, 2011

Thanks Ulli :)

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165 JenATX July 11, 2011

your ‘smile more’ goal reminds me of the scene in Eat, Pray, Love where the Balinese medicine man asks Liz to meditate while smiling… not just with her face but with every part of her :) Good luck with your July goal, its a great one to have!

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166 Stacey @ Here's to Life July 11, 2011

Thank you for this post! This post is exactly what I needed today. I too have started a major overhaul of removing unnecessary objects, projects, time-killers, and to-do items in efforts to be a little less crazed all the time. I think it’s working. Your list is very helpful to keep the momentum going! Thx!

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167 Kristy July 11, 2011

I’ve been a chronic “worrier” my entire life. After I had my first baby 18 months ago, I suffered from post-partum depression and anxiety (that only seemed to get worse as the day got closer to me returning to work). I started therapy and one of the best things I took away from it was just what you’re talking about – focus on today. My therapist actually said, “you are not a fortune teller…and if you were, you’d be a pretty bad one.” In other words, don’t try and control or predict things that you can’t. It’s still a struggle because I think I’m just hard-wired to plan, anticipate, and be prepared in life…but her statement has helped me when my anxiety gets really high. Thanks for sharing your journey and thoughts on the topic – it’s so helpful to hear I’m not the only one who struggles with some of the same hurdles.

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168 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 11, 2011

wow I love that quote, thank you for sharing!

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169 Amy July 11, 2011

Hi there Angela,
I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I find your posts really inspiring! (along with the recipes too of course!)
At first I was losing weight healthy and in a good amount of time, but then it spiralled down into anorexia nervosa for a bit. Ever since I’ve been reading your blog and a few others, it has actually helped me to recover from the illness. I want to take the time to say thank you for making me realize that eating whole, healthy foods will not make me gain weight. Also to maintain a healthy weight and still be an active person.
I’ve tried only a few of your recipes so far which was the zucchini walnut bread, banana soft serve overnight oats, and the simple vegan overnight oats.
Many more recipes ahead to try out, and I am really looking forward to new posts each and everyday!
xo

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170 Angela (Oh She Glows) July 11, 2011

Thank you Amy :) Im happy to hear that you are on the road to recovery!

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171 Jamie (Thrifty Veggie Mama) July 11, 2011

Great post!!! I am horrible about living in the moment. That is why I love running as well. I can just focus on that run; it really helps me.

Life: Must be present to win. I saw that online somewhere are few weeks ago and thought about how true that it. If we aren’t present in the moment we miss so many things. My children are 4, 2, and 7 weeks and I am trying to remind myself of that because before I know it they will be grown up!

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172 Anna-Maria Toth July 11, 2011

I just started to read your blog not too long ago and love it. I too struggle with anxiety and fear. I don’t know your religious views but it has been helpful for me to cary a small card with me with 2Timothy 1:7 written on it : “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” It”s good to have a reminder that I have power over my anxiety and fear and I shouldn’t let it control me.

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173 Emily July 11, 2011

Great post. Thank you

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174 Samantha July 12, 2011

Thanks for sharing this! This is just what I needed :) I felt an instant uplifting of inspiration after reading this. You really do GLOW, inspiringly inside and out. “I appreciate this post” Smile :-D

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175 Heidi (Balance Project) July 14, 2011

Thanks for this : )
I also struggle with trying to be more present. It’s a work in progress!

Thanks to think link to Zen blog, what a great discovery!

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176 Susan July 16, 2011

Number 6 has SAVED me these past few weeks. After being admitted to hospital, I could have spent every minute of every day just spinning about all the “what ifs” of what could happen. Thankfully, my mind doesn’t always work like that, thankfully, I’m a lot more focused. I do still worry, but I can only ever worry about one thing at a time. Usually the next step, the most recent hurdle. If I start thinking about three months from now, or what could happen two years from now, I will spiral into a very dark place. Living in the moment is survival. It’s what allows me to wake up every day and still ENJOY my life, even though in theory my life “could” be crappy compared to others right now.

Great post Ange :)

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177 Sharon July 16, 2011

Found your blog through Frugal Fun & Fortune. I have such a problem being in the moment. I just cannot seem to do it! I’m always thinking about the next thing and occasionally thinking about the past. And I am a shallow breather too! I’m so used to it that I often don’t think to manually make myself take a deep breath. I do love to smile at strangers. Though I was shocked the other day when I was in the store with my adorable toddler and smiled at a lady as she walked right next to us (we were in a very thin aisle) and didn’t even look my way! I am trying to declutter our house but it’s hard because my husband is very frugal (I am too, but not to the extent that he is) and won’t get rid of anything. Example: The after shave someone gave him 6 months ago that he hasn’t touched and forgot was on his desk. When he first got it, he said it smelled like it was for a girl. When I asked him if I could donate it, he looked at it again, saw that it was also a moisturizer and said he’d use it as lotion. Ugggh!!! Anyways, I really enjoyed this post and look forward to checking out others.

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178 Siobhan July 20, 2011

Thank you soo much for this post!! This is EXACTLY how i’ve been thinking and feeling.
It is sooo refreshing hearing this from another source, now i don’t feel so crazy! and these tips definitely help :)
keep up the amazing work! because we never know.. one action today may affect millions tomorrow

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179 Siobhan July 20, 2011

Thank you soo much for this post!! This is EXACTLY how i’ve been thinking and feeling.
It is sooo refreshing hearing this from another source, now i don’t feel so crazy! and these tips definitely help :)
keep up the amazing work! because we never know.. one action today may affect millions tomorrow

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180 Shayla @ The Good Life July 21, 2011

Thank you so much for this post Angela. During my disordered eating days, I would have panic attacks which were then fueled with anxiety, and I still live with some anxiety to this day. I’m going to print off your tips so that I can always be reminded of them…especially the breathing, forgiving, and smiling ones. I even wrote a post about smiling and how special of an act it is and how it’s such a stress reliever :)

You are such an inspiration. You, along with other health blogs, have helped me get out of my disordered eating and inspired me to start a blog which I’ve found is a huge new passion of mine…I never knew how much I loved to write and to be a part of this blogging community is amazing. Thank you for your honesty and you have helped me, and I’m sure countless other women, in more ways than one :)

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181 Toma Lynn Smith July 28, 2012

This is awesome! I so needed this as I work through my anxiety! One day at a time. Thank you!

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182 Marianne August 9, 2012

Hi,all of you! I have already lived 68 years and I am thankful for all the living and traveling I have done. Live in Australia now but my homeland is Germany. Well anxiety has been a huge part of my life. As i am writing this , my bones are hurting and I know that my blood is not alkaline in spite of my excellent diet. That is what anxiety does. Body and mind are intimately related and in time any illness can develop. This is the book for you all to read.!!!
The best ever on that subject. YOU WILL STOP BEING CONTROLLED BY THAT MONSTER!!!! IT WILL TELL YOU HOW, BEGINNING IN CHAPTER 6. Study the book and you will be surprised, even after doing psychology for years. Wishes and blessings to you all. ” Who switched off my Brain? ” by Dr. Caroline Leal “

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183 Marianne August 9, 2012

Not Caroline Leal but Leaf. Sorry !!!!

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184 Arya August 30, 2012

This is all so very inspiring, a co worker of mine gave me your web site, she often comes here for recipes she is a long time vegetarian, I on the other hand am a newbie vegan and try to stay away from gluten at all costs. I have diabetes type 2 and with all my weight gain over the years and not eating right I’ve pretty much became depressed, super anxious with panic attacks and have isolated myself from major insecurities and my problem of procrastinating and never finishing anything I start…Well I hit rock bottom and had a spiritual awakening if you will and that combined with my deep connection and passion for animals treated humanely sorta lead me to becoming Vegan.. Sorry for the novel, I just haven’t had anyone to talk to about this, and it is such a huge change in lifestyle, not just a diet… Maybe I should create a blog.. or site.. Anywoo I’m glad to have found your site and thank you for all your inspiration and great recipes!
Arya.

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185 Alexis Brill November 15, 2012

I can so relate to you about worrying about the unknown. This is something I have battled with my whole life, and it is comforting to know your story – you are inspiring!
I sometimes resort to negative thoughts when I don’t have things clearly mapped out in my head. I am trying to embrace this and learn from it. I love your tips! Thanks for posting this :)

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186 Radhika Sarohia December 10, 2012

WHat a lovely post!
I’m also total moron who never lives in the present, always too much past and future
I read some spiritual books and I try to concentrate on things I love, like dance and helping animals and cooking delicious vegan stuffs
Thanks for sharing this (very late reply here hehe)

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187 Radhika Sarohia December 11, 2012

(^ Above…Did not mean to imply anyone here is moron…gah)

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188 Kassidy January 22, 2013

I would love to add a few to your list. As I sit here, multi-tasking at work (haha!), I can’t think of them all, but the one that stands out the most for me, and has helped me relieve a lot of stress and anxiety is :

Stop “should-ing” so much. Examine the word and what it insinuates. Who decides what we “should” or “shouldn’t” do? We use the word to guilt ourselves for not doing something we think we “should” do, without even considering whether or not it is something we NEED or even WANT to do! It is along the same lines as “good” and “bad” for me. It’s a word that does more harm than good, and I don’t think it’s really useful to use as frequently as most people do.

Try some examples with yourself and see how we can speak differently to ourselves and others.

That’s all I have for now. Thank you for being an inspiration to people everywhere and for sharing your story so publicly.

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189 Girish February 1, 2013

This is my next goal – to live in the eternal now, Right from the now moment :)

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190 Clauds February 14, 2013

This post was really great and reminds me how powerful it can be to just give “now” your all.
Anxiety has only really hit me recently, like in the last 5 years. It can kinda takes control. So, number 4 really struck a chord with me. Sometimes, Ill be about my day and my mind will wander off to a time where I was upset and all of a sudden, before I realize it, my heart is racing and its (like you said) as though I was experiencing it right at that moment. It was kinda nice to hear you say that you often find yourself doing the same. I recently asked friends if they ever did that and they all said no. I was shocked to hear that I was the only one. But, my level of anxiety was always significantly higher than theirs.
Anyways, it was nice to hear that someone totally felt that way too sometimes. Im trying really hard to stop it and its getting better.
Great blog by the way. Right up my alley

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191 Jodi March 31, 2013

Great post. Its so hard to explain what anxiety is like to someone who doesn’t suffer from it (lucky!). The part about the looks your husband gives you when you are trying to explain a worry made me smile :)

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192 Jim August 10, 2013

Great tips here, I struggle with living in the present, but strive to be better at it. I want to teach my daughter these tips too, as I think they are so important. Thanks for writing this

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193 Barry Morisse October 2, 2013

Fantastic tips!
I also wrote a short piece about #6, we need to stop saying: “You had to be there!”

http://barrymorisse.com/live-in-the-present/

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194 Astoria November 19, 2013

It’s hard for me not to live in the future. I am constantly trying to put a life together in my head that I wish I could live. It doesnt benefit me in any possible way. It sucks, because I miss out on things going on in the present. Im just afraid of not having a perfect future life or missing out on certain things, I know I need to change that.

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195 Keren March 15, 2014

Angela,
I want to thank for this post. I’ve suffered from an anxiety disorder my whole life. I knew the power of ‘living in the moment’ but was never sure how to achieve it. After reading your post, presented in the most concise and simple manner, it finally seems more achievable.
It seems as though you’ve really learned how to take control, a very impressive skill for someone who’s mind works the way it does.
Thanks for the inspiration!

-Keren

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196 jasmine costa March 21, 2014

Just read your story and you pretty much have described everything I have been going through for most of my life. Anxiety is the toughest battle that I have fought (and continue to fight) in my life. I tend to fixate on the future about things that haven’t even happened yet and my thoughts almost always have a negative connotation. I just started a volunteer program at a hospital in the ER. After our orientation yesterday, I’m already constantly thinking about whats going to happen and all the “what ifs” and its so draining! I always try to think about all the times that I’ve had anxiety about a situation and how 99% of those times have turned ok in the end. You would think this would help me to calm down about future situations and I even try and give myself a pep talk but I’m always amazed how the negativity and the worry wins out. I don’t want to stop fighting, but this is definitely a battle I will have to keep fighting.

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197 Kimberly Ylitalo January 25, 2015

This is my first visit to your site and I loved this post. Hope you don’t mind that I borrow, for personal use only, your ideas for living in the now. Really great reminders. Keep up the awesome writing and I’ll be back for more. Going to try your “perfect veggie burger” recipe. I’m a WF/PB gal. Thanks!

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198 Laura April 25, 2015

Living in the present is a new concept to me and something I wish I’d have thought about before, i always find myself dwelling on the past and future and like you mentioned on the third point I find I have a frown on my face. As someone who suffers with anxiety this post has been a great help in beginning to think in the this way. Thank you :) .

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