Anxiety hides from itself.
Anxiety is an enormous issue in society, maybe more so now than ever before in human history. We all have carried or do carry it in some form or another. For some, it is a mild irritant. For others, it runs their life. It seems that all of us go through a period of intense fear and dread at some phase in our lives, and if we do not handle it correctly, it can be a never-ending cycle.
There are many ways anxiety manifests, and there are several ways in which we can deal with it. While I am certainly not an expert, I have had my fair share of worry and can say that my days are filled with gratitude and joy, rather than apprehension and restlessness. Thanks, Gary and Tony.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by avoiding it today.” Our anxieties often come from things we are not getting done that we know we should be. Whether it be a task at work, asking that person out, confronting someone who has wronged us or forgiving someone from the past, the worry is our bodies way of telling us that we have unfinished business.
Weed your garden while you can still see your flowers and vegetables. Mowing over everything haphazardly is not useful, and breaks the separation between yard and garden. We need to always carry a sense of urgency.
Anxiety likes to hide from itself, using other emotions as cover. This can show up as anger, irritation, sadness, and short-lived, unsustainable pleasures. There can be other manifestations, but these are the most common and most easily recognizable. When you notice yourself acting this way, (such as yelling or impulsively eating junk food, for example) ask yourself- “What is causing me to act this way?” Wait for an honest answer. More than likely, it will be what you don’t want to hear. Run with it.
Understand where it is coming from, and why.
Our brains are marvelous, complex creatures in and of themselves, capable of holding over a zettabyte of memory. It is quite unfortunate that many people never take advantage of this powerhouse. Without diving too deeply into how our brains function when we worry, just note that the neurotransmitters GABA, Serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine all play a significant role.
GABA, which is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in relaxing our brain, is functioning slowly. Serotonin, which is found to be the control center for our moods, is also performing slowly. Noradrenaline, which plays a role in focus and attention, is hyperactive. Dopamine, which works with our reward system, is also hyperactive. What this translates to, in short, is that we are focusing short-term pleasures and problems, which do not make us feel good, as our body knows it needs sustainability.
Another cause for anxiety is our social setting. I cannot stress this enough; we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. If the people you are around are worried continuously, then you will be too. How you talk to yourself is also a huge kicker. Change the way you speak, and it will change how you think, and vice versa. I would like to put into context something that I have heard quite a bit, but have not yet experienced. Parents often say that it doesn’t matter when you have kids, you will worry. I do not fully understand this, however, but I can understand that having a child changes your whole world.
With that being said, it okay to have a little bit of stress, a bit of struggle. It is what keeps us moving forward, towards something better. As a parent, (once again, I have no idea, no experience) I hope to have faith in mine and my wife’s ability to raise children to make smart decisions. Along with that, everyone makes bad choices, and this is how we learn. Don’t let anxiety run your whole life, but instead motivate you to have it better.
The sole purpose of anxiety is for our body to push us in the direction of conflict resolution. One of my mentors once told me that “Change happens when existing circumstances are more painful than the process of change.” Instead of waiting for life to be unbearable, take the initiative and prepare.
Circulate that energy into something positive.
Regardless of what your anxiety is, you are expending energy thinking about everything that you do. If you spend your whole life worrying about what might go wrong, that is exactly how your life will turn out. At the end of your existence, are you going to look back to all of the things that you did wrong, or all of the beautiful memories you had?
Gary Vaynerchuk hits home in this short video here. (Two Gary V videos in one article? Hell yes.) We all are going to die. It might be tomorrow; it might be in a hundred years. Either way, time is your biggest asset and the only one you can’t get more of. You cannot go into debt with it, and we all have the same amount. Do something productive with what you have. More importantly, do something that brings value to others lives.
As Tony Robbins said in the video in the second paragraph, you cannot have gratitude and anger at the same time. You cannot have appreciation and fear at the same time. 2/3rds of the planet live on less than $900 a year. Some people don’t have appendages. Some don’t have families. Some don’t have clean water. What are you worried about, and how much is it going to matter in five years?
These statements are not to be said as insults. Merely observations, but I cannot help how you interpret this, only you can. How many religious people do you know, that are consistently criticizing others for how they live? How many believers in God do you see worrying about what everyone else is doing? If you trust God, what are you worried about. Everything between your ears and out in the universe is part of the plan. Trust it.
Be okay now. Your trust in life is either there, or it isn’t. It can be spotty, yes, but that isn’t authentic trust. That isn’t genuine faith. When you start listing and focusing on what you are grateful for, rather than what is going wrong, life becomes infinitely more manageable. Just by being able to read these words on a screen, you have it so much better than so many. Do something that allows you to be in a position to help more people be able to read this.
The opportunities are all there for you, what are you waiting for?