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Decompressing, Sometimes

When I am anxious, there are a few things that sometimes help decompress. These things do not work always, but most of the time they do.

Because I don't like street noises, which are particularly painful, I seek out isolated park-like areas when I am not home. In Dallas earlier this year, I found several amazing park-like settings, include an enclosed mall with a duck pond and sculpture garden. Parks, arboretums, and gardens are followed closely by museums and galleries.

The worst places for me are urban downtown areas. Even the park areas are often too close to the buildings and streets.

If I am at home, I turn to cartoons and family entertainment, from Disney to Warner Brothers. I love films with a family pulling together in the end. How can you feel bad after a Pixar movie? Friends and family always win the day in a good movie.

I do seal the windows, close the curtains, and drink herbal teas when I am at home and anxious. I do not want to think about where we live, which is much too urban for me. I want to forget about the neighbors, the buses, the sirens, and any other inputs. I'll sit with the cats and write while watching DVDs.

At night, I turn to music and radio dramas. I need to drown out the world at night because too often the only loud sounds are the local sirens. Welcome to a city, I realize, but I hate it. I listen to a lot of music while typing and when I go to bed I'll fall to sleep with old-time radio mysteries.

My iTunes library has a "Happy Place" collection of songs that are upbeat and make me feel good. I love "novelty" songs, from "Atomic Dog" to the classics of the 1950s and 60s. The sillier a song, the harder it is to be tense listening to it.

When all else fails, there are baths and bed. Who doesn't like those things? Some days, you just need to sleep.

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