Felling anxious yet?
Good morning, another day in paradise!
Anxiety, what a terrible, terrible beast! Gosh I’m so happy I am not “anxiety” because I would have a lot of enemies. But what’s really anxiety all about? At the end of the day, it is the expression of some fears that are quite embedded in our own life experience. If we are anxious about doing something, if we’re feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, we shouldn’t try to get rid of anxiety or pathologizing it. Anxiety is there to tell us to be careful, because maybe in our life experience we have learned that if we fear a particular situation we won’t get in any trouble, whatever the trouble might be. Listening to our anxiety instead, it is helpful to understand where that anxiety is coming from. Having a mindful approach to anxiety is therefore one of the best ways to regulate it, instead of thinking of getting rid of it. It is not always easy to do by ourselves, that is why we often need professional help, or even simpler, we just need a good friend.
Also, if you are an anxious person, you might have found yourself that your anxiety can be a real pain when it comes to begin and finish something. You know it already! I’m talking about procrastination. This is another beast. When we talk about procrastinating projects and slowing ourselves down from reaching our goals, a lot of the time we hear things like: “You need more will power, you need to be more disciplined, read more stoic quotes ,LOL.” In reality, as science proved, there is no such a thing as will power. In fact, a lot of our actions are guided by the oldest part of our brain, which is located in the back of our head. That part of our brain contains our narratives so to speak, our visions of self. And it is also the part of our brain that regulates our emotions, including our survival mechanisms. When we procrastinate and we think that the willing power will save us, we’re asking the prefrontal cortex, also known as the youngest part of the brain, to summon some magic power. As science has proven, this young part of our brain doesn’t have the capacity to overcome our embedded and old narratives, unless dutifully trained.
Among other things, when we procrastinate, we are letting our anxiety in the way of succeeding. In other words, imposter syndrome! Yes, I know you know A+! And what are we gonna do about it? Well, oftentimes when we do not finish things, there are some reasons behind it, and it’s not necessarily laziness (I know some of you out there can be hard on themselves!). What if we do succeed at something, and even though a part of us is incredibly happy about succeeding, there may be another part of us that cannot tolerate success; that identifies success with something scary, even dangerous. Here we have two parts conflicting with each other. In this situation, anxiety serves us as a way to avoid having to deal with this pesky internal conflict. Wow, and we just thought we were lazy, huh?
Curious to learn more about anxiety yet?