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Kathryn Swegart offers six tried-and-true strategies for keeping anxiety at bay.

Recently, my husband and I celebrated “Meeting Day.” We remembered the day our eyes first met and yes, it was love at first sight. As in the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, I was Mary, and he was George. All went fuzzy in my world, including my brain. My husband thought that probably was a good thing since we weren’t exactly well-established in the job market, shall we say. That’s a whole other story. 

I look back on this moment and can picture me as a young lady working in a department store, folding shirts, blind to the fact that my life had just changed forever. My future husband invited me out for lunch. I even remember that he ordered clam chowder and his necktie fell into the bowl. I guess he was nervous too. 

That necktie-in-the-chowder moment was an alert that the habit of worry would often invade our married life. Blessed with three precious children, our budget shrank with each new bundle of joy. Out of necessity (not out of holiness), I began to pray more. I will pass on some words of wisdom to young families struggling as I did.  


Thoughts Matter.

Tune into your mind chatter. Don’t try to stop the noise. Just listen. Bring them into Christ’s healing light and you will notice over time, peace will trickle into your thoughts. 


Be thankful.

Look for little blessings. Ann Voskamp wrote a N.Y. Times bestseller, One Thousand Gifts, that can be a game changer.  By chronicling little things—1,000 of them—thankfulness becomes a habit. Ann is married to a hog farmer and homeschools her six kids. She knows the nitty gritty of life and is thankful for “washing the warm eggs, crackle in fireplace, still warm cookies.” 


Connect with nature and limit social media.

Just a breath of fresh air can clear out the mind. I find comfort in gazing at the constellation Orion that fills the sky during dark winter nights. Read actual books instead of scrolling through Facebook. I keep a “kitchen book” handy that I can pick up to read instead of checking emails. 




Pray the Rosary every day.

Venerable Fulton J. Sheen wrote:

The Rosary is the best therapy for these distraught, unhappy, fearful, and frustrated souls, precisely because it involves the simultaneous use of these powers: the physical, the vocal, and the spiritual, and in that order.

I take my Rosary walk every day: a habit that helps to keep my mind centered in a mostly peaceful place.


Smile more, even if you don’t feel like it.

Your kids will notice (and maybe wonder what’s wrong with Mom). I make a point of smiling at store clerks and neighbors. 


Take a break.

Having a rough day at home with the kids? Reset the mood by having a dance party, baking cookies, or reading books together. The laundry can wait. 




Click to tweet:
Out of necessity (not out of holiness), I began to pray more. #CatholicMom


In January, many people make New Year’s resolutions, some of them silly or unattainable. It would not be wise for me to resolve to climb Mt. Washington this year. That would lead to discouragement. One of the more amusing resolutions is for a pet lover vowing to “be the person my dog thinks that I am.”    

I look back at that necktie-in-the-chowder and realize that the bucking bronco of anxiety that once dominated my thoughts has been tamed to a large degree. Only through self-awareness, discipline, prayer, and the sacraments have I stayed on a more peaceful path in my life. 


Copyright 2024 Kathryn Swegart
Images: Canva