I haven’t written for a while because I have been totally overwhelmed with everything going on in my life. Here’s a brief overview. My youngest daughter is getting married, and we’re working on infinite details for the wedding. I had also been booked as a speaker at a Pesach program, and I had to prepare several talks. At the same time, I was preparing a class for a national social work conference. Then I was also preparing for my elderly father to come for a visit, and right after, for my husband and me to go on a long trip to visit my kids on the West Coast. Oh, and did I mention that we’re selling our house? (We’re downsizing—we will be empty nesters—how did I get this old?) All we had to do for that was redo our wood floors (and then barely walk on them), paint everything and make the place where we live look like no one lives there—not a piece of paper out, no dishes, no toothbrushes, nothin’. Piece of cake, right?

Oh, and of course the piece de resistance: My washer and dryer are both broken! Thank you to my neighbor Sandy for being my own personal laundromat.

I have to tell you, if it weren’t for my understanding of Innate Health, I would be totally flipped out. That I was (am) able to keep myself relatively calm while all these things are happening at the same time is, for me, a personal miracle. Several of these things on their own would be enough to flip anyone’s meter way high on the stress charts—and yet, amazingly enough, I was (and am) able to function and not totally go crazy. OK, OK, I may have told my husband once or twice that I was close to having a nervous breakdown. And all right, I was very cranky for a week or so before Pesach. But I didn’t yell too much. Kudos to my husband for helping to keep me calm. Considering I could have had a heart attack (the me of five years ago really might have), it wasn’t so bad.

Just as a reminder, Innate Health explains that we are all just experiencing our thinking in the moment. We live in the feeling of our thoughts. Anxious thinking = anxious feeling; calm thoughts = calm feeling. But for me, the real key thing to remember that is so helpful is that we are doing it to ourselves—nothing and no one from the outside is doing it to you. You are doing it to yourself. And when you really get that, you can just stop doing it…and it all falls away. You’ve cracked the code. When someone else is tickling you, it’s awful. But when you try to tickle yourself, you don’t react. That’s because you know you are doing it. When you really get that you are making all your anxious thoughts up in your head, your mind gets real quiet.

I actually took my own Innate Health advice: I focused on just doing the next logical thing. I was very conscious not to work myself up into a frenzy with my thinking. (It doesn’t help that when I get really stressed I can’t think. I get like a deer in the headlights.) Instead of letting my mind run away with all the fantasizing and worrying—about what I should do, that I don’t have enough time, what might have to be done, what might go wrong, etc., etc.—I just kept doing the next logical thing I had to do. It’s amazing how much you can get done if you just do what needs to be done and don’t spend a lot of time worrying about how it’s going to get done.

So when you see yourself running into anxious thoughts, recognize that you’re going in the direction of upset and freak-out. Nothing good ever comes from there. You’ll just be spinning out into that anxiety. Instead, just focus on the next thing. “I don’t have to think those thoughts. I can just do what’s next.” Just saying this cuts way down on stress and anxious thinking—immediately. Try it.

Before learning about Innate Health there is no way I could have dealt with all these things at the same time, not without freaking out. But these past months I have been able to avoid that train of freak-out and worried thinking, going faster and faster to nowhere. I’m not saying I’d like to schedule the rest of my life like this, but I really am OK.

Yep! This stuff really works.

P.S. If anyone is looking for a six-bedroom in West Orange, let me know. It has gorgeous, newly finished wood floors—and they’ve barely been walked on.

By Jewel Safren, LCSW

 Jewel Safren MSW, LSW, LCSW has over 35 years of experience in counseling, lifecoaching and public speaking coaching. She has worked with people all over the US and in Europe, and runs popular personal growth workshops, webinars and classes. She is recommended by Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz, Rabbi Jonathan Rietti, B.Ed, M.Sci., Rabbi Paysach J. Krohn and Rabbi Mordechai Becher. She lives in West Orange, NJ, with her hubby and two kids, and has two married kids and two grandsons living in California. You can contact Jewel at (973) 464-8556 or, if you would like to be on her mailing list or for more information, visit jewelsafrenlcsw@gmail.com.