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Anxiety is a big problem for me, and I now realize I gambled to relieve it (as well as drink and smoke pot). I have been grinding my teeth for years and wear a mouth guard at night, but unfortunately my teeth are really suffering from all the abuse now and it is painful to chew, and my gums have receded to the point that I can’t have anything too cold or hot without pain. My dentist has said these problems are from grinding teeth, and i know this is my bodies way of trying to release the stress. I don’t want to lose my teeth at an early age, but if this continues I know I will. I go to sleep anxious many times and know that I won’t be sleeping well and sure enough I wake up feeling anxious and not rested at all. My chest is tight, I have jaw tightness, slight headache and feel exhausted. This is demoralizing and makes it hard to face the day with any enthusiasm. I know that my job makes me anxious quite a bit. My old gambling self ignored this problem. My new self is working on understanding what behaviors may make it better or worse and adjust accordingly.

So far I noticed one thing that is makng it worse. I have an automated email sent to me every day from craigslist telling me about used cars for sale. I set this up because I am searching for a car for my daughter. However, this has become a way for me to think my own 2003 Volvo is not good enough, so I have begun searching for a new car for myself. I have learned that I have a very hard time being calm when I start believing something about my situation is not good enough or unsatisfactory or needs to change. I convince myself that my old Volvo has too many rattles, smells of smoke from the prior owner, and take offense when my kids criticize it. I need to upgrade! I can afford it, so why not? Wouldn’t a BMW be more fun to drive? My mind goes to work and I begin searching for a replacement car relentlessly. How much should I spend? What mileage is OK? What model? Big or small? Sedan or SUV? And on and on my mind goes, day after day. It’s ridiculous, I know. My Volvo works fine, gets me around reliably and does the job.

What should I do? Recognize the stress this is causing, and stop looking at cars! Tell myself how happy I am with my old Volvo. Realize that a new car won’t make me a happier person. Realize it’s just a thing, and things are good, but should not tie me up emotionally. The main thing is to be happy with how things are, right now, today! —– my blessings, and redirect my thoughts of desire towards what I already have! I need to work on this relentlessly, until it becomes second nature. I know it will increase my happiness, and help me sleep better. May even save my teeth! 🙂