Categories
Life & Philosophy Politics & Society

Don’t adopt other people’s anxiety

We rely on other people’s testimony. It’s no wonder, therefore, that their anxiety becomes ours. We then cognize every piece of information to fit our nervy narrative.

Worries spread like viruses. And they provoke an unwarranted shock into mass health scares, money problems, and job pressures.

Humans are a strange and contradictory animal who can barely see through the apparition of fear. The brain’s chemicals are so easily triggered and duped.

Society is just the storyteller. It’s the citizens who exacerbate panic.

To avoid falling ill to anxiety’s publicity machine, we need to convert the abstract energy of positive motivation into something with meaning. We have to put a mental finger on the synchronicities between facts and hope.

People who can stay light and grounded without falling into the trap of the mind’s filmic productions know how to separate truth from fiction.

It’s the obedient clerks that manufacture all the negativity. It’s the interested folks that refuse to buy into the algae of stress.

Keep our perspective. It’s a passport to freedom.

Categories
Life & Philosophy

Running to safety

Acceptance precedes change, the self-help books proclaim. One can’t advance unless they agree with their current state.

Similarly, uncertainty boils with anticipation. The only way to calm the nerves is to take action that scratches the itch. Doing instead of wondering is a litmus test for hope.

Both acceptance and initiative can make us feel more alive. The trick is to learn when to accelerate and when to dip.

Trapped inside of fear, unable to inhabit our own experience — the last thing we should do is run away and let pass opportunity by.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Psychology

De-essentalizing the response

We’re never safe from the torch of fear and anxiety.

The only thing we can control is our reaction to the current circumstances.

Wrote the poet John Milton in the seventeenth century: “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”

When we reach the end of our life, our experience will be an accumulation of responses.

What we process and pay attention to is what we become. Distractions are a fungus.

Inculcating calmness helps preempt the of dizziness each stimulus.

Unless we develop the steadiness of thoughts, the world will always find a way to intrude on our ideals.

Best moving on then unpinned from the forced manipulation of other people’s identities.

Categories
Psychology

Making peace with fear

We can make peace with the anxiety of anticipation. But it’s the hope that kills. What we need to gauge the nerves is preparation.

One way of accomplishing this is through fear-setting, a practice which requires that we envision the worst outcome. By going toward the fear, we undermine its strength and power our resolve. 

The counterintuitive nature of the fear-setting approach is why it works. Using our imagination, we literally live through something before it happens. The mere process of visualization provides action steps that tame the monkey mind. 

Wrote the Stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger: “We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” At least we have mental exposure to help stem the tide. 

Categories
Books Psychology

The link between imagination and anxiety

Cover for book Anxious: Using the Brain to Understand and Treat Fear and Anxiety

“Anxiety is the price we pay for an ability to imagine the future. That’s what anxiety is, an imagination of a future that hasn’t happened yet, but that you are concerned with, worried about, dreading, and so on.”

Neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux, Anxious: Using the Brain to Understand and Treat Fear and Anxiety
Categories
Politics & Society Psychology Uncategorized

Anxious/Hopeful

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Anxious, hopeful or both? A new installation wants to know

Categories
Books Psychology

The epidemic of worry

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“He doesn’t give out energy for the benefit of others. He absorbs energy at others’ cost.”

– Francis O’GormanWorrying: A Literary and Cultural History

In other words, the worrier is the opposite of a lighthouse.

Categories
Postaday Psychology

Worrying is a waste of time. Greet your anxiety instead.

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It is human nature to ponder anxieties that do not exist.

The mind is a fabrication machine, developing worries before they deserve any attention. Wrote Carlos Castaneda in Journey to Ixtlan (Amazon):“To worry is to become accessible… And once you worry, you cling to anything out of desperation; and once you cling you are bound to get exhausted or to exhaust whoever or whatever you are clinging to.”

The only way to assuage the nerves is to focus on what’s in front of you, to do the work regardless of the way you feel. Progress happens to the relaxed.

Don’t worry before it’s time

Writes Eric Barker on his life advice blog:

You’re not your brain; you’re the CEO of your brain. You can’t control everything that goes on in “Mind, Inc.” But you can decide which projects get funded with your attention and action. So when a worry is nagging at you, step back and ask: “Is this useful?”

As a survival mechanism, anxiety pushes us to take action — the most basic fear is that we need to eat and have a place to sleep for the night. But anxiety is also a thinking problem that needs to be neutralized by greeting it at the door where it appears wearing the same costume as it did before.

Everything is going to be alright, just like it was yesterday.

gif via Jason Clarke

Categories
Life & Philosophy

Anxiety is a thinking problem

Anxiety is a thinking problem. It is a presence in flux, stuck in gear between looking backward and looking forward simultaneously.

To better cope with the onslaught of worry, you need stronger cognitive tools or algorithms to live by. You need some cognitive presets and habits to inculcate them.

For example, a basic tenet of Stoic philosophy is that ‘What’s outside my control is indifferent to me.’ Another way to step back, is to realize that imagination is always worse than reality.

If you’re looking for more tactical strategies for coping with anxiety, particularly Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), please consider reading my book Rule OCD: 20 Tips to Overcoming OCD where I outline 20 tips for dealing with the doubting disease. 

Habits will change your life

If you want to get unnecessary doubts under your control, consider practicing some positive daily habits like meditation, fear-setting, or journaling. I recommend writing by hand in a daily journal like The Five Minute Gratitude Journal or if you’re an artist, the ever-popular Morning Pages JournalIt’s these kinds of diurnal practices that reinforce affirmative beliefs like bicep curls for the brain. 

People worry as a preventative. But it’s not worth worrying before it’s time, inching closer to the giant sucking sound of a depressing gif loop.

“I’ve suffered a great many catastrophes in my life. Most of them never happened.”  

Mark Twain

Try to avoid looking forward to a future you can’t control. The sooner you embrace uncertainty and greet your anxiety instead, the more present and happier you’ll be.

Pro tip: One of the ways I also encourage people to get unstuck is to blog out their anxieties (btw, you can start a free blog on WordPress right here). When it comes to blogging effectively, you have to be a little vulnerable. Don’t tell all but don’t hide everything either, especially if your advice will benefit the lives of other people.