The Anxiety problem
We convince ourselves our lives are very important and making the right decisions and performing at our best is of the utmost priority. We are much more concerned about what others think of us than what we think about ourselves.
Our desire for respect and success is high. But we also tie that to our performance each day.
How impressive we are in a business meeting, a romantic date or our ability to tell a joke is all quite concerning. When we doubt our ability in any of these area's we build anxiety.
We worry if we can do it and second guess ourselves.
The tragic irony is that the thing to be most afraid of is our own fear.
When you think you will fail, you surely will.
When we let our anxiety control us we panic and perform worse.
You lie awake at night worrying and then get a bad nights sleep. Poor sleep directly makes us worse at pretty everything (it also makes us more unattractive physically).
It reduces our ability to think clearly as there is permanently an alarm going off. Imagine trying to do an exam with someone constantly nudging you that it's really important and you are running out of time. It's the thing you need least in the world.
In relationships we worry if we are worthy of a similar level of love back from the person we have such strong feelings for.
We can overcompensate and put the other off.
We can under compensate to appear cool or to protect ourselves from the impending broken heart we fear.
If you only give a piece of your heart away, it is already going to end up in pieces
Whatever we do, we are overthinking, an obsessing mind shows.
We would be much better at life if we were able to relax and not worry. If we just do the thing without this anxiety impairment.
This sounds obvious but it is critically important to recognise. You need to really sit yourself down and tell yourself that the only thing to be anxious about is your own anxiety.
You need to acknowledge the only thing getting in your way that matters is yourself.
Plenty of things can go wrong and life will never go as you want. Our concerns are much more arbitrary that we realise. It may well be the thing we are pining over is not what we want any way.
We need to surrender to the hands of fate and the external world more. We can't control those things. So the only thing to worry about is controlling ourselves and giving ourselves the best opportunities.
When we expect less of ourselves and are kinder, we actually perform better.
Instead of obsessing about the ways things can go wrong, we should instead look at the opportunities and use some logic to see why we don't need to worry.
These questions have honestly helped me come some really terrifying things:
- What is the thing I'm anxious about today?
- What is one practical thing I could do to prevent or prepare for it?
- What's one reason it's probably not going to be as bad as I fear?
- What's one reason I know I can handle it?
- What's one upside of the situation?
Baggage reclaim - anxiety podcast (Jan 2020)