THE BLOG

Unexpected Cure for 3 A.M. Anxiety

06/30/2015 11:07 am ET | Updated Jun 30, 2016

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One of those crazy mornings. Awake at 3 a.m., thunderstorm outside, mind thrashing with things I must do today... and tomorrow... and the next day... I must be nuts if I think I can carry it all off...

Will my superwoman neurosis ever give me a break? Used my OASIS Strategies to get me back to sleep at 4 a.m.

Alarm at 6. Tons to do before the 8 a.m. appointment in my office. Had the wisdom to do the absolute must-dos first: shower, dress, pack what I need for the day. Then to the computer to face the e-notes I must respond to before I leave home at 7:30.

The e-note from Anne Jolles caught my eye: The GRACE Trail. Aha! That's what I can do before I go completely bonkers. Maybe I can walk virtually with Anne's five G-R-A-C-E questions. I gave it a shot:

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Anne Jolles - used with permission

What am I Grateful for? -- That I am alive, healthy, and interested in so many things.
What can I Release? -- The compulsion to do ten things before I go out the door.
What do I need to Accept? -- That I'm not superwoman.
What is my Challenge? -- To choose one thing I can do now and let the others go.
What can I Embrace as possible? -- My No. 1 choice: cut some roses from my front yard to bring to my office.

As I went out with my scissors I was rushing a bit, but the sound of the garbage truck brought me to the "right-now" moment. On impulse, I waved to the guys, and decided to cut some roses for them.

Presto! When I handed over the first rose, the man's face literally lit up: His eyes sparkled and his wide smile showed two front teeth missing. His words? "This is the first time in my life that I've been given a rose by a beautiful woman!" Now I was smiling. To think that I almost missed this moment in my "must-do" rush.

Got to the office a few minutes late, with five roses in a pasta sauce jar.

And guess what? My 8 a.m. client was a no-show. She thought the appointment was for Thursday, not Tuesday.

Long live roses, time, space, garbage men, smiles -- and the GRACE Trail, even when it's virtual.

Anne created the GRACE Trail when her son was on duty in Afghanistan and she was worried out of her mind. She created a real trail in her neighborhood, and walked it every evening after supper. It helped. Now hundreds of people walk the trail, whether for colossal concerns or for little worries like mine. Give it a shot yourself.