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I have frequently expressed my distaste for confronting Christmas decorations in stores before Halloween, but I do not recall the presence of black and orange bags of candies showing up in stores the first week of August!  Not just a small display-oh no, this year there are aisles of treats! While most of us realize this is a marketing ploy to get you to buy your Halloween treats early, we know this early buying will result in our cracking open that family sized bag of candy corn on one sleepless night when we are up watching( for the eight time) You’ve got Mail. Marketers know this too. By putting out these tempting treats early, they hope you will succumb to your kids whining, or the sale prices, buy the stuff now yet consume it way before you even unpack the autumn sweaters. This way, they get TWO Halloween seasons and sell more candy.

If we simply say no and leave those Reese’s Pieces family packs out of our carts until October 30, this is just a harmless little marketing tool, right? Well, maybe not.

Anxiety is frequently based on worrying about “what is to be”. Most anxiety- whether we are conscious of it or not is a reaction to anticipating something in the future-from the minutiae- “Will I have enough dessert for my guests?” to the larger, “Will Johnny get into college?”, “ Where will I live after my divorce?” or “Will the annual mammogram reveal a problem?”

By living in the future( buy my candy now, what if the stores run out?), we are trying to make ourselves feel prepared, safe, secure, we often miss just how great today is. Andy on the long running show The Office commented on the finale, “I always thought my college days were the good ole days, I wish someone told me that these would become the good ole days.”

Our culture totes “Preparedness” in all forms and while it is good to have extra batteries, I am not sure we need to run out before every predicted snow and fill our carts with toilet paper and bread. Living with a constant focus solely on the future, robs us of the present and creates SO much anxiety. Of course, I am not suggesting you cash in your 401K and buy a Harley or quit your job impulsively, I am simply urging you to look around you, in this minute of this  gorgeous summer day and take a deep breath.  Are you taking advantage of this precious moment in time to do something you love or are you cleaning out cabinets, trying to get a jump on Monday’s work load, or in the mall shopping for school clothes? I would bet your cabinets can wait until a rainy day, you will get your work done tomorrow and that your kids will not be naked on their first day of school.

The best way to quell anxiety about “what is to come” is not to give in to it, ever struggling to be “ Super Prepared” and at the ready, but to kick back, distract yourself and simply enjoy this day. Sitting on the deck with a book, taking your kids to the beach, spending time in the garden, golfing or whatever brings you pleasure will decrease your anxiety by releasing calming chemicals that are restorative. This will certainly make those upcoming challenges much easier to deal with than chowing down a family size bag of Nestlé’s Crunch Bars at midnight.

“Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”  ~Henry David Thoreau~

 

© 2013 Donna F. Ferber, LPC, LADC is a psychotherapist in private practice in Farmington, CT since 1986. She is the author of the award winning From Ex-Wife to Exceptional Life: A Woman’s Journey through Divorce now available in Kindle format for $9.99 as well as in paperback

4 Comments

  1. caryn on the 11. Aug, 2013 remarked #

    You are so right on, Donna. We spend much of our time thinking about, preparing for, feeling anxious over, the future. Your words have made me stop and “smell those roses” and enjoy the here and now. Well, at least for now!

  2. Wendy on the 12. Aug, 2013 remarked #

    Still working on this…thanks for the reminder.

  3. Deborah C on the 12. Aug, 2013 remarked #

    This is so true as I am maturing I am really starting to get it. Some days are better than others, but I when I start worrying about the future I bring myself back to the present I enjoy your weekly blog very much. Thank you

  4. Jan on the 17. Aug, 2013 remarked #

    So timely. I was just thinking that I feel like sitting on the porch and reading, but I “should” vacuum instead. Off to the porch! 🙂

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