ON ANXIETY

For some people, not giving a second thought about anything is literally second nature. Should we consider them to be the lucky few? Others have learnt to find the golden mean of life – a balance between worrying too much and not worrying at all.

For many others, life’s not that simple. They lead an existence of endless doubts, questioning and worries. What is it that makes people so different? Is it a hereditary ‘I don’t care’ gene, a personality quirk, or life itself that’s taught them one of its greatest lessons; to live freely?

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I hardly know anybody who’s never worried about a school exam, a medical result or a financial obstacle, but there are various degrees of worry. Although everybody stresses about one thing or another, it seems like some people have a predisposition towards anxiety symptoms in general. Sensitive individuals tend to be affected much more by their inner selves as well as their outer world. Some feel under the weather more often than not at work or in general as their daily life is running its course. The causes of such anxieties are various.

Some assume that those who portray their anxiety in a given situation are trying to coax pity from others. It may be the case, but then again, it may not. Some may genuinely suffer from an anxiety disorder which is often misunderstood or remains undiagnosed. A person who is a constant worrier might also be quite relaxed in one or two aspects of their life. This is very much like pregnancy. An expecting mother can go through different feelings and effects during two different stages of pregnancies.

A constant worrier might start getting anxious if they start to feel that there’s nothing to worry about. Chronic worrying may lead one to think that everybody or anything can be a potential threat. It could also be that some people demonstrate that they’re worried much more than others. Just because a person looks calm and composed, it doesn’t mean that they’re not feeling anxious. Everybody has his own way of dealing with anxiety.

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Negative beliefs, or worrying about worrying, add to one’s anxiety and keeps it festering in the mind. In order to stop worry and anxiety for good, one must give up their belief that worrying serves a positive purpose. On realising that worrying itself is the problem and not the solution, one can regain control of their state of mind. It’s not easy of course, and many seek professional help to overcome this, but there is help and it can be done.

Focus on the things you have the power to change rather than the circumstances or realities beyond your control. The only way out of this vicious cycle is by learning to embrace your feelings. This may seem scary at first. It’s misleading to believe that you should always be rational and in control and that your feelings should always make sense, or that you shouldn’t feel certain emotions such as anxiety or anger.

As long as you can accept your feelings as a natural part of being human, you’ll be able to experience them without becoming too overwhelmed and learn how to use them to your advantage. Permanent changes are about consistency, persistence and repetition. Maybe it wouldn’t do us any harm to go back to our childhood and listen to The Lion King’s Hakuna Matata and remind ourselves that having a more positive mentality won’t change the given situation, but adjusting the way we deal with it can be of great help.

Hakuna