I have been thinking about anxiety lately. I have a friend that is originally from Jordon and her life was in jeopardy everyday. She tells stories that only sound like they are from a bad movie. Yet she tells me that she didn’t have anxiety, about what she lived through, and had panic attacks, until years after she moved to North America. she said anxiety, as we know it, isn’t much of a thing where she used to live. This is what triggered my recent thoughts on anxiety. Her approach is to deal with anxiety is to heal it, to get of her medication, and to face it head on. I look around my culture. A culture were we seem to have everything going for us. A culture where we are spoiled and our problems seem so silly compared to hers. And they are and yet they are not. While our life’s challenges are more “unseen”, we struggle too. I am not saying that a horrible breakup is as bad as taking your child and running for cover because you hear a plane in the distance. We all face hardship, we all face loss, we all feel pain. Some more traumatic than others. And awful crimes happen in our country too. Some cultures are more prone to displaying the everyday challenges with anxiety, while in many counties were issues are just absolutely horrid, anxiety is lower. Statistically Amish people have low anxiety but Mennonites have high anxiety. While it is in interesting topic to look into “why”, I am not going to delve into the various causes of displaying anxiety verses coping or displaying in other ways. I am just hear to observe. To comment.
I remember, when I took psychology in university, that there are 4 outlooks on life. 1- I am OK, the world is not. 2- The world is OK, I am not. 3-The world is not OK and I am not OK either. 4-The world is OK and I am OK too. This stuck when me, even in moments when I felt my own anxiety. When I think of those that have anxiety disorders or panic attacks. Isn’t that what it all boils down too? We don’t feel we are OK, deep inside. In our innermost we don’t feel that we are enough to be loved or have our human needs met. Or it may swing the other way. We don’t trust our world. We don’t feel it is safe to relax because someone will hurt us. Perhaps normally you don’t care what people think, but that co-worker hat doesn’t like you matters. If your boss values their opinion, this person’s opinion of you could cause you to loose your job and than how would you feed your kids… survive? This may sound like dramatic irrational fearful talk to some. To others, that have had people act in irrational ways before, know that this type of thing does happen where others try to punish you severely even when you did nothing wrong or made an innocent mistake. If you don’t feel your world is safe, how can you relax in it? Today I challenge you to notice when you feel tense. Question it. What is it that you don’t trust. Yourself? Your environment? Both? Back and forth between the two? Today, if or when you feel tense or anxiety, inquire of yourself what is blocking you from feeling relaxed and that everything is OK.