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Soothing Sneaky Worries With Mindfulness

Friday and Saturday are crammed full of sessions at American Headache Society symposium, Sunday is the American Headache & Migraine Association patient conference. I’ve been fretting for days about how I’m going to feel over the weekend and which sessions I’ll be able to attend.

The worrying was initially disguised as planning:

  • Which talks do I most want to hear?
  • Should I conserve energy for the patient conference or go all out at the symposium?
  • Do I go to the Saturday night cocktail hour and mingle or rest?

Those are all reasonable questions but they devolved quickly into worrying:

  • I haven’t been able to get out of the house before 1 p.m. in weeks, how can I expect to make it to the meetings?
  • Will I even have enough stamina to commit to a few hours Friday and Saturday and all day Sunday?
  • The forecast shows rain for the weekend, will I be able to attend anything?
  • I hope I don’t waste the money I spent to attend the symposium?
  • Will I even be coherent when I meet people at the patient conference?
  • Will I even be able to stand at the patient conference?

Stressing out now is not going to improve my chances of having a successful weekend, so I’m practicing mindfulness to keep myself calm and grounded. When I catch my mind churning, I remind myself that I can’t know what will happen this weekend until it arrives and that right now is the only moment that matters. I bring myself back to the present, close my eyes, and breathe for a few minutes.

This strategy kept me from getting worked up yesterday and I’m determined to keep practicing mindfulness throughout the week. Maybe reducing my stress will give me a better chance at being able to attend all the sessions I want to. Maybe not. At least I’ll know I attempted to live in each day this week rather than giving my moments over to fears about something I cannot control.

(And I hope that committing to a mindfulness practice publicly will help me stick with it.)

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