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Why nitpicking is not such a lousy idea … for me


At worst, my anxiety seriously affects my ability to sleep, leading to panic attacks and the inability to perform basic daily activities. At best, it’s an uneasy feeling in my stomach that occasionally affects my breathing pattern, and while annoying, it’s manageable. For those who don’t live with anxiety, the phantom itch and momentary panic you experienced when you thought about head lice is a taste of what it feels like.


In an effort to control my anxiety, I’ve thrown everything at it: booze, meds, yoga, mindfulness apps. I’ve even considered shaving off our thick, long hair to avoid getting head lice ever again. Yet treating head lice is the one anxiety cure that no one talks about.

Instead of clippers, I grab a fine-toothed metal comb to slowly and accurately remove all lice and numb nits from my daughters’ hair. After each stroke, I wipe the comb on a white tissue and check for lice or nits. Then I keep combing until no more appear on the weave. This process can take up to two hours.

The exercise is repeated every few days to prevent eggs from hatching, which could lead to another scary rebellion. With every combing movement, my mind is less chaotic; before I know it, my breathing has slowed. Sounds compelling and groundbreaking, right? Somebody get Gwyneth Paltrow on the phone. This is Goop-worthy content.

In our fast-paced, technology-obsessed lives, it’s even harder to learn how to be fully present and engaged in the moment. not scratch your head as soon as I say “nits”. And being aware of your thoughts and feelings without judgment is almost impossible.


The process of eradicating the troublesome critters helps me get rid of something sinister – and that is the urge to constantly “do” and “think”.

And I think I’ve only just scratched the surface.

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