Too Busy To Be Anxious
It’s wonderfully encouraging to see more and more attention on depression. However, today I would like to bring anxiety into the limelight. A lesser understood mental illness/brain imbalance/chronic illness (whichever term you wish to know it by), anxiety is suffered by most people at some time in their life. Some people only experience it in specific circumstances, like before tests or public speaking, but others experience it at such a crippling degree that they find themselves locked within a small range of familiar places. Given most people experience it, I thought it was worth considering some of the contradictory aspects of it.
First let’s talk about life complexity. It s argued that we live in the most stressful time that had existed, but not for fear of life, as might have been the case in some historic times, but due to the incredibly complex lives we lead. We have more information then ever, more requirements to meet in an average day, and much more complex social situations to navigate. All of these things can give us the capability to live fulfilling lives, to do what we desire and access what we need, but this is not the case for so many of us. This leads me to ask why?
So consider this. Anxiety is something also experienced by people who live less complicated lives and also NOT experienced by people who live complicated lives. Of course there is the genetic pre-disposition to anxiety to account for, but is this really all that differs between the anxious and non-anxious? It might well not be so simple.
Here is where we meet the anomaly that is anxiety. It seems that if the mind and body is NOT kept busy, it allows for circumstances where the mind gets completely carried away with worry and fear because it has little else to do. An example of typical avoidance of this is when people do things “to keep their minds busy” in the face of adversity. So is being busy indeed stress and anxiety reducing? It seems that it can be. Also, consider this… At the times in your life that you were most happy, were you busy or did you have all the time in the world? What was life like when you felt most anxious? Here is where I wonder about the other things that can influence this commonly experienced state.
For myself, I remember being anxious as a child. There was reason, but I won’t get into that now. I have however noticed that as my life has become more full, I have worried less about so many things. Perhaps it’s because they cease to matter. Perhaps I now have the wisdom to deal with the possibilities my fears present, or perhaps I’m often just too busy for my mind to have time to go down the path of irrational thinking. Yes, irrational thinking, which is what happens with anxiety most of the time. From the person about to do public speaking who worries about saying the wrong thing or tripping over on stage, to the person who fears walking out their front door, crippled by what might go wrong. It is irrational for all of us.
So where is the balance, between stacking our life full of things that don’t allow our brains to go irrational, and not taking on so much that simply the idea of making it through today’s ‘to do’ list sends us into a cold sweat thinking about how badly our world will crumble if we miss something?
I propose this. It is filling our lives with what makes our hearts sing, what we truly want to do, who we want to spend time with and how we wish to live to be our core selves. I’m thinking this is anxiety medicine at its best. What do you think?
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Please be respectful of others at all times. We are all on different journeys.
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