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How did I know my anxiety had gotten the better of me? When I found myself taking meticulous notes on a forthcoming book by Erica Feldmann called HAUSMAGICK: Transform Your Home With Witchcraft (HarperOne, $25.99, available in March). The year 2018 hadn’t been so great, what with the death of a husband and, possibly, a republic. Maybe 2019 would be better if I bought certain purifying elements for my home. The right crystals, sage sticks and — salt? Apparently, you can sprinkle salt around the house after a person with “toxic energy” visits. Attention future dates: If you see me reaching for the shaker as you’re leaving, you know things haven’t gone well.

If my nerves are frayed, I take cold comfort in knowing I’m not alone. Whether it’s our political situation, the jangling distractions of everyday life or argued that anxiety stemmed from the “dizziness of freedom,” the paralysis that comes from infinite choice and possibility. That was in 1844. Imagine what he would have thought about today.

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