Do you remember that naughty cousin you had growing up, who came to stay for the summer holidays and who teased and tormented you endlessly? Who did his very best to trip you up and scare the living daylights out of you, and when he eventually left you breathed a sigh of relief? Let us for now call him Anxiety. He randomly and unannounced turns up in our lives by breaking down the front door to our carefully arranged lives, upsetting us, and leaving us with a dry mouth, thundering heart, shaky legs or worse. Desperate for relief, we long for normalcy. Will the naughty cousin slip away if we refuse to feed him and give him shelter? Plainly ignore him?
We then start looking for ways to get rid of Anxiety. Then a thought comes to mind; isn’t anxiety really ‘just life’ as our grandmothers told us? A circumstance to be endured? We hope (bank on even) that her ‘this too shall pass’ magic formula will work this time, as we somehow scramble on in mental and physical anguish, our central nervous system in over-drive.
Another thought: is anxiety really such a bad thing? Doesn’t it sharpen our senses, we reason, keeping us on high alert as we pull off that presentation flawlessly, nail the interview, or give a performance of a lifetime?
Someone might tell us that we bring ourselves into this state of fragility because we need to literally shake things up in our life. That it is an opportunity to choose a different path, to stop and pause to figure out what it is that is lurking away just under the surface. Could it be that the avoidance tactics will keep us in a state of anxiety until we stop to have a look?
Perhaps it is a calling from our soul to stop resisting, to stop judging and accept life as it presents in this moment? Didn’t some wise person tell us that this is where we will find peace?
Could a state of anxiety be the moment before, between the old and the new?That excited nervous anticipation of ‘maybe this time’?
Could it be all of the above?
As we grow and become more aware, we may start to realise that it is not something outside of ourselves, for instance, a family member, a partner, a circumstance or life itself that makes us feel a certain way, but in fact, our thinking about the person or event. Some would go as far as to say that we are indeed living in the feeling of our own thinking. Anxious feelings equal anxious thoughts and anxious thoughts equal anxious feelings.
There is a saying: “it’s all in your head”, or “you live in your head”. Are we the ones scaring the living daylights out of ourselves through our thinking? Can the anxious turmoil simply be attributed to habitual thinking that appears real to us in its manifestation?
Could it be us – and not the world?