Eat Enough, Sleep Enough, and Choose to be Happy

My friend’s seven year old son struggles with anxiety and feels life very deeply. So his dad developed this mantra to help him remember the basics: “We’re going to eat enough, We’re going to sleep enough, And we’re going to choose to be happy.” …
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The Healing Power of Animals: You Need to Read with Julie Barton (Plus a Dog Medicine Book Giveaway!)

If you love your pets and believe in the healing power of animals … if you were a child who treated your stuffed animals as sentient beings … then you won’t want to miss this interview with Julie Barton, author of Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me from Myself. When I read the last chapter of Dog Medicine, my husband found me curled up on the couch sobbing. He tried to take it away from me, but I said, “No, no, it’s good crying!” …
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For the Ones Who Hide Away When They’re Struggling

“Hi friend, how are you doing today? Thinking of you and sending love your way.” I press send on the text, then click my phone screen off. I know better than to expect an immediate response from friends who hide away when they’re struggling. My friend deals with depression and anxiety, and I know that this is a challenging time for her. I also know that when things get tough she tends to go dark. Still I send the message and the love anyway. I pray that it can help her to defy the voices that tell her that she’s ...
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Want To Feel Less Anxious? Reconnect with Your Inner Child

Dear friend, it’s hard to admit that anxiety is a struggle for you, isn’t it? Your experience of life has been tense and fraught for so long that it seems normal. You want to feel less anxious, but it seems like an impossible dream. I get it, I really do. I started twirling my hair compulsively when I was in kindergarten. At school there were so many things to learn, so many people to please. When all of that felt hard to handle, I’d wrap strands of my brown hair around my fingers. I’d twirl my hair up tight and ...
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They Tried to Make Me Go To Rehab, and I Said Yes.

Friends, do you remember back in March when I wrote to you – albeit indirectly – about the blizzard that hit my life? I’d prefer to keep that crisis vague and metaphorical; it suffices to say that I went through something tough. That’s one reason why I’ve been quieter than usual on the blog this year. (That, and writing a book.) When I wrote about the hard time, I described it as “a slow-motion train wreck with no end in sight”, and it was. But there was still hope. I just couldn’t see it. First, I needed to take a ...
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Feeling Judged and Controlled? Question Your Inner Cruise Director

When Jonathan and I went on a cruise to Bermuda with my family several years ago, the piped-in, controlled voice of Cruise Director Carlos drove me crazy. Now, this was a lovely cruise. It was a privilege to relax and have my towels folded into animal shapes every night. However, the oft-repeated, overly-enthusiastic announcements just did not work for me. (I’m an introvert who jumps like a startled deer at the sound of a ring tone.) Several times a day, Cruise Director Carlos would blast over the loudspeakers, reading the rundown of social events with forced good cheer. After a ...
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Don’t Hold Those Coins So Tightly, I Beg of You: A Story

I’ll tell you upfront: this is not my proudest moment. No, far from it. It’s been over ten years, but if I try I can still summon back the anxiety, the scarcity, and the fear that flared through my mind. Picture this: I am seated at an outdoor café table with my three closest friends. Our backpacking trip is coming to a close, and we’ve just finished a meal of savory crepes in a small village in France. I love this place because it reminds me of Belle’s village in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and also because the crepes ...
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How To Be Anxious & Stressed…& Then Not.

During my first week at L'Arche, I heard someone say, "Today was a thorough day." As it turns out, this is L'Arche-speak for God-awful stressful and 10+ hours and You don't want to know. This week was full of thorough days. I helped my friend William* get through a major surgery and transition back to L'Arche. He had surgery on Monday, and he came through it well. Along with the assistants, I spent hours each day in the hospital. By Thursday, he was ready to return home, and I blocked off the entire day to facilitate the process. ...
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