Author: Meredith Simonds

The Sweetest Boy She Never Knew

The Sweetest Boy She Never Knew

Has your anxiety ever convinced you to reject someone you really wanted to be with? I’m not talking about some obvious asshole, who you’re attracted to but know would be nothing but bad news. I’m talking about rejecting someone sweet, who seems like they’d be […]

Wendy Whelan’s Story Begs the Question: What’s Wrong with Seeing a Woman in Decline?

Wendy Whelan’s Story Begs the Question: What’s Wrong with Seeing a Woman in Decline?

I need a reminder now and then that getting older is a good thing. I found one in Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan, an extraordinary documentary about her retirement from the New York City Ballet. Here’s a piece I wrote about it for The Huffington Post — Wendy […]

The Worst of It Is Cheese

The Worst of It Is Cheese

“The results will take two weeks,” my doctor told me. “But you’ll only hear from me about it if something is wrong.” As she explained this, I got the sense it should be a relief for me to hear this – that as long as I didn’t hear from her, my pap test was fine and I had nothing to worry about – but all it did was freak me out more than I already was (see my pre-doctor’s visit anxiety).

What if “two weeks” isn’t exact? What if it sometimes takes two weeks and a day? Or two weeks and two days? Or, worse, what if my test got lost but my doctor didn’t notice because it’s only when the results come through that she’s reminded of me and that I’m waiting to not hear from her? (A doctor whom I picked because she looked friendly in her picture and she turned out to be exactly that friendly, so I’m holding on tight to the notion that she doesn’t actually suck.)

The point is, even when the two-week mark came and went, I refused to let my guard down. Because in that anxious state, I was at least prepared for the worst. What if I let the worry go only to find out something was horribly wrong? How would I handle it? For a mind like mine, being surprised by bad news is worse than my active (prepared) worry coming true.

Fortunately, this is all water under the bridge as it’s been six weeks since the test and I haven’t heard a thing.

Well, that’s not exactly true.

No word on the pap test, but it turns out my cholesterol is a little high so the doctor said to cut back on red meat (no problem, as I haven’t had it in years) and cheese (a big problem, as I eat it every day in great quantities). But considering all of the horrible things I was worried about being wrong with me, I’m pleasantly surprised to learn the worst of it is cheese.

This should prove (for the thousandth time) that the things I worry about hurting me rarely happen and, in fact, it’s the worry itself that usually ends up hurting me the most. But worry plays tricks on you. It wants you to think it’s like that burn you get when you’re exercising. That it might hurt, but it’s good for you. With the help of my worry journal, I will continue to remind myself that it’s just not true.

The Doctor Is Going to Find Something Horribly Wrong with Me: Worry Journal Exercise

The Doctor Is Going to Find Something Horribly Wrong with Me: Worry Journal Exercise

I haven’t had a physical exam in over 7 years. Not because I’m afraid of going to the doctor (even though I am and self-diagnose every chance I get). Or because I was raised to stay away from doctors (even though I was, because the […]

Foods for Anxiety: What to Eat and Why

Foods for Anxiety: What to Eat and Why

In all the attention I’ve paid to anxiety-minimizing things in recent years, I’m sorry to say eating foods for anxiety has been close to the bottom of the list. The thing is, I’ve never been one of those people who notices much of a difference […]

Happy International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day

In celebration of International Women’s Day, I devoted much of mine to editing and uploading to Pinterest 64 pics of the best signs (and crowd shots) I saw at Women’s March Los Angeles. I hope this collection makes you feel as good about both of these empowering days as it does me.

Female Friends United and Divided Over Women’s March and Trump

Female Friends United and Divided Over Women’s March and Trump

My good friend Danny Pulley went to the Women’s March on Washington. I sat down with Danny a few days after she got back to ask her about why she marched, the DC experience, and how she talked to her students about it (she’s a […]

Resolutions You Can Do Just Half the Time and Still Feel Good About

Resolutions You Can Do Just Half the Time and Still Feel Good About

If you like the sound of resolutions you can do just half the time and still feel good about, I’ve got some ideas for you. Check out my four resolution suggestions (whether you start in January or July) in my guest post for Outrageously Wonderful.

Paint by Touch: Guided Color Meditation (4 Minutes)

Paint by Touch: Guided Color Meditation (4 Minutes)

In this 4-minute guided color meditation, you begin in front of a giant white canvas. No watercolors, no paintbrush. But that’s okay; you won’t need them. Use the recording or, if you’re leading a meditation, you can read it yourself using the transcript below.

Paint by Touch

Close your eyes and breathe easy.

You’re standing in front of a giant white canvas.

You see no watercolors. No paintbrush.

But that’s okay; you won’t need them.

A sign above the canvas reads, “Paint by Touch.”

You take a step forward and study the canvas more closely.

Written in pencil, and scattered randomly across the canvas, are the numbers one through seven.

You place the palm of your hand flat on number one.

The canvas fills in with red rock mountains.

You place your hand on number two.

The mountains sprout orange and yellow marigolds.

You place your hand on number three.

Here comes the sun.

You place your hand on number four.

The mountains grow evergreens.

You place your hand on number five.

A stream runs through the trees.

You place your hand on number six.

The sky turns indigo blue.

You place your hand on number seven.

Violet butterflies dot the landscape, from flower, to tree, to stream.

You step back to look at what you have created.

A blue-sky day in the red rock mountains.

Where the sun shines, water flows, and life grows.

Open your eyes.

What will you paint next?

Paint by Touch: Guided Meditation [4 Minutes]

See other guided meditations.

For unguided sessions, try this simple approach to meditation.

It’s Never about the Centerpiece: The Anxiety of Entertaining

It’s Never about the Centerpiece: The Anxiety of Entertaining

Andy and I planned on going to his parents’ house for Thanksgiving dinner. Those plans changed in the sweetest of stomach-turning ways – skunks moved in under their house and sprayed the place. It seeped into pretty much everything and lingered for days. Rather than […]

A Simple Approach to Meditation

A Simple Approach to Meditation

One quiet night a few weeks ago, I did something I don’t usually do. I started meditating out of the blue. I was in our living room. The lights were out and I was sitting at the windows that look out over the hillside. I […]