“Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future but from wanting to control it.”
The world as we know it is fast changing and our race is confronted by innumerable threats.
The implications of Russia’s war in Ukraine on the global economy, the forthcoming 2023 elections in Nigeria, our decaying infrastructure and healthcare systems, corruption, Nigeria’s dirty fuel saga and the endless fuel queues, poor power supply, failing educational system, traffic gridlocks, rising unemployment, pollution, climate change, inflation, insecurity, terrorism, workplace conflicts, ritual killings and kidnapping, the Covid-19 Pandemic, and concerns over the long-term effects of vaccines, the current wave of brain drain, and the list go on.
Markedly, these are just a few of the anxiety triggers plaguing us as a people.
What is Anxiety? Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress. It is an intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations.
Here are a few tips to help you deal with your anxiety:
Prepare a list of everything you are worried about. Psychologists have found that journaling allows you to understand your thoughts and feelings more clearly.
This is the ability to think about your thoughts. It is an awareness of one’s thought processes and an understanding of the patterns behind them. Now look at your list and determine if your fears are real or perceived. What is the likelihood of occurrence and the severity related to the occurrence that is fueling your anxiety? Your mind is not the trusted friend that you think it is and that seemingly innocent thought can take you to some very dark places that you would rather not go. Identify the things within your control, determine if you have the power to prevent or stall the event and where or if you have a responsibility, and how you can alleviate the impact of the occurrence.
Express thankfulness and appreciation for every aspect of your life – The good, the bad, and the ugly. The bad and the ugly because it could be worse. Have a gratitude journal.
Be gentle with yourself
Give yourself credit. Celebrate your successes and acknowledge that you are doing the best you can. Show compassion to yourself as you would a dear friend.
Practice positive affirmations
This is a deliberate form of empowering self-talk. The human brain is very complicated, and we have so much control over its programming. However, it is important to tell yourself great things that your subconscious mind would believe.
The Dalai Lama when asked what surprised him most about humanity, he answered: “Man. He sacrifices his health to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present.” Do not allow the fear of the future to steal your joy of today, and even if your fears are real, anxiety makes you suffer twice. Be Here Now.
Without a doubt, your anxiety triggers would differ at different seasons of your life. But the principles to deal with it are the same.
Would you still feel anxious sometimes, having done all the above? Yes…It is a journey, not a destination and it does get better. I find that each time is better than the last.
Lastly, when there is so much going on around us, we must remember to be STILL.
Reflections of an HSP