I suppose it’s true to say the older I get, the more generalized anxiety I feel – especially as relates to my health. One scare too many, I guess. Near-misses and almosts, thankfully, but they’re the cause and culprit of anxiety that now goes from zero to 60 faster than my car. Covid hasn’t helped, of course. I’m sometimes only one small headache or throat-tickle away from a full-on, full-alert, oh-my-gosh-I-should-get-tested reaction.
Safe to say, the cause exaggerates the effect.
Walking gives me a moving moment or two of peace, a respite from the thought spiral, a shift of focus from myself to the great big, wide open out there.
A walk from within anxiety … to without.
For me, it’s all in the noticing. Moving from big feelings to small details. An intentional pause to find nature’s bits and pieces I might ordinarily walk by – looking without seeing. The way morning light caresses a leaf. How fall colors brighten the poison ivy first. Berries. Nuts. Seeds all but ready to release and drift aloft. Itty bitty oak leaves. And the tiniest little wildflowers I never did see – or notice before.
And that thirty-minute walk takes me both outside into the world and out of my own head altogether. Call it self-medication. An intervention.
One foot in front of the other. Breathe in. Breathe out. Hope.