I am naturally and unfortunately inclined to stress out pointlessly. I think everyone has a bit of that inclination at one level or another, but since anxiety disorders are something that my family has historically dealt with, my tendency to stress over stress has always been rather acute.

At a pretty young age, after I experienced my first panic attack, I learned some strategies to keep my anxiety from overwhelming me. Mostly I learned controlled breathing and distraction techniques.

The older I get, though, the less easily I am distracted from worrisome things. I recently realized that distraction probably isn’t a very healthy tactic, anyway.

Distracting myself from my stressors is like putting a band-aid on a mosquito bite. It ultimately makes the stressor itch more, and I eventually tear off the band-aid and scratch the itch until it bleeds.

Lately, my technique has been rather different.

Instead of simply looking away from the mosquito bite of a stressor, I instead focus on it. Will this matter in ten years? I ask myself.

And suddenly, perspective!

Very few things that I pointlessly worry about will matter in ten years.

So then I go down the line. Will it matter in five years? Nope. A year? Unlikely. A month? Possible, but doubtful.

Perspective for everyone!

Right now is the only moment that you have. Why waste it stressing about the past or future?

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