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When in Doubt, I Thank My Anxiety.

·392 words·2 mins
Mental Health

I don’t know about you, but the more I try to ignore my anxiety, the worse it gets.

I’ve heard tales about people who could run away from their problems indefinitely. Even find a sort of peace there.

But not me. My problems always catch up to me. And the longer I’m on the lam from my troubles, the bigger they have grown when they finally catch up with me.

Oh, look, my anxieties are back — and they brought friends.

Ai yai yai.

Really, there’s no foolproof cure for ridding myself of worry. And it’s arguably something I shouldn’t want to do anyway. Because as annoying, bothersome, and terrifying as worrying so much can be, the alternative is scary in a different way. The possibility that I wouldn’t be properly concerned with things that are harmful.

Fear, after all, serves a productive purpose. It’s just trying to protect us. The problem, however, is that modern life bears little resemblance to the environment that our fear centers evolved to manage. (We’ve biologically changed a lot less than civilization has in that same time.)

So a lot of what was helpful once upon an ancient time is now… well, really unhelpful. And can actually cause more harm than good.

What’s a person to do? There are of course a lot of high-octane interventions that can be sought out — pharmaceutical help, talk therapy, etc.

But what if you can’t afford that or don’t need that level of help? Or — what if you’re already doing those things and still struggling a bit?

I’ve found one thing that’s completely free and very easy to do that, weirdly enough, always seems to help a touch. It’s not a cure-all, mind you. But it definitely helps.

And that’s thanking my anxiety. Yes, really. Sounds kooky maybe. But the more I try to pretend I’m not anxious, the worse it gets. And anxiety is just trying to do its job, to let me know that something scary maybe just happened, is currently happening, or might be about to happen.

Anxiety screams and screams at me until I acknowledge it. So I make a point these days whenever I feel anxiety to thank it. To let it know I’ve heard the message loud and clear and appreciate the warning.

Sounds weird maybe. But it does help a bit.


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