Wooden path through mangrove forest at Gatorland Zoo, Florida.

One Powerful Practice Against Anxiety

One Powerful Practice Against Anxiety

Stop. Close your eyes. Breath in. Breath out slower. Listen. Hear the sounds surrounding you. What do they tell you? Breath in. Breath out slower. Open your eyes. Take in what surrounds you. I do this when I feel that out of control tightening in my chest coming on. When my breaths shorten and shallow. Get in front of it, stand ground. Breath in. Breath out slower. Slow the snowball of anxiety by taking in the details. The good details anxiety wants you to ignore.

Inventory by sound, sight, taste, and smell.

My good ones include companion parrots. And two dogs. And a rabbit. And a guinea pig. And about a hundred wild Muscovy and mallard ducks. And Chai Tea. Hot, with honey and oat milk.

The weight of a macaw rests evenly on my right shoulder. She's facing backwards and tonguing her beak and gruxing. I can hear her breath lightly, feel her body shift slightly. Slowly she begins to sink into my shoulder and lean into my neck and head. She's warm. And feathery soft. And heavy. She is a comfort. She is my girl. She is a moment in time that delivers treasured peace and a slower heartbeat. 

Kirby buzzes like a radio searching for a radio station. He's perched on my left, above my head on my computer monitor cabinet. Preening. His only concern is his feathers and the first morning nap. I hear his feathers lightly fizz as he pulls them through his beak. They sound like magic zippers.

A big red macaw is carrying around his big blue plastic cup. Pushing is along the hardwood floor. Stopping often to bang it against the floor. I think the sound is satisfying to Snickers. He chuckles, he says his name, he laughs and bangs. He puts his head into the cup and speaks Mogwai. The soft words of macaw.

Felix is on his purple perch asking for apple popcorn. African greys tend to give orders rather than ask. But, at this point of day that's just him meditating. The words mean little, but the sound puts him into a catatonic state.

Our flock of cockatiels chirp and flutter and hop and drop doing what cockatiels do best. Fill the air with gentle voices.

I love the sound of our home in the morning hours. They make me calmer, happier, more aware of the excellence of my life, the joy of my day, and the perfection of my relationships with them, my husband, and family.

Leonidas Rabbit thumps abruptly. With grand royal furor. The cockatiels are too loud to this bunny's way of thinking. Silly rabbit.

A big sausage of a blue nose Staffordshire lays on my foot fast asleep. He must always be in physical contact. His crinkly muzzle whiskers tickle my ankle. He sighs. A whisper of I love you.

A huge mug declaring, This Coffee is Making me Awesome, doesn't hold coffee. It holds chai tea, double bag steeped. With honey and oat milk. Steam rises to meet my nose. The smell. Enchanting. Other worldly. Home. Comfort. I sip. It's hot. It's spice. It's sweet. It's rich. I close my eyes. I share with Butters. She's on my shoulder waiting for her moment as well.

The truth about illegitimate thoughts.

  • Anxiety prefers we remain unfocused.
  • Anxiety needs the fertile ground of blurred thoughts going nowhere in particular.
  • Depression requires the footing of your focus looking at what others have or have done.
  • Both need you comparing you to others. What others think. What others have. What others are doing.

Get off the internet. Get onto inventorying.

Log off. Stop for a while. Go spend time being, sharing, playing, laughing with your companions. Stop posting their photos. Stop with the videos and the commenting while the harsh light of your monitor washes your face and life pale.

You are more than enough. YOU are the abundance for your companion animals and family. Do not let the distractions of a website lie to you. Do not buy that lie. It isn't important. You, your life, your relationships, and your companions are important. They are your treasure. This place called internet, it's just a mist of chaos and voices competing for your attention. The real things are waiting for you to inventory. Waiting for your look. Your attention. Your perfect you to join them. 

Into the Midst! That is how a life is lived well. With or without companion animals. Get into it, into the middle of it. Slow down, pay attention to the details that fly by a million miles a second. Delve into your truth. Your life. Your perfectly perfect you.

Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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