Change your response from within rather than respond from outside
Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but only empties today of its strength – Charles Spurgeon
I read this quote on the Internet and could relate it to it as so many of us would. Today, we have the latest technology, cars, clothes, incredible holidays and high-flying lifestyles. And have gained along with it anxiety, stress and depression.
The strain and stress to stay ahead in our jobs, spouse, at home, community, friends, with our kids is so incredibly high. There is so much of pressure on women these days to have a job, juggle home and job as well as kids. Women have to ensure that they get ahead in their jobs and also be a nurturer at home. Kids are placed in highly competitive environments and expectations from them are incredibly high. Most of the time, moms have to handle issues related to kid’s learning, extracurricular activities and behavior. There is so much of expectation placed on succeeding and basically coping with the pace.
But for how long can we run at high speed? All this manifests in the form of physical strain, illnesses and even depression. But how can anxiety be managed?
First let’s understand, what is anxiety?
Anxiety is basically thoughts and worries that keep playing like a recording in your inner space. If we watch our thoughts carefully, we will observe that worries arise from the naval chakra. They are basically just negative emotions. And we think they spring from external situations. But have you met anyone rich or poor who has beaten anxiety?
Worry is basically our response to an event. No matter what the event, everything depends on our response to it. For example: Your friend gets a promotion. You may be happy for her but you immediately start evaluating yourself – why have I not got a promotion recently ? What am I not doing right? Do I need to change something about myself ? if I got a promotion and got the additional perks, I could buy this new car for my family or start saving for a new house that my wife liked and so on.
If you find yourself worrying about every situation – you are a ‘worry wart’!
The fundamental reason for worry and anxiety is our desire for approval from others – whether it is family or work or society. Also, worry has become so deeply entrenched within us that we don’t know who we are unless we are worrying. We think because we are worrying, our life is moving ahead. We are worried about not worrying too. There are so many contradictory patterns at play here.
We worry about our kids being dependent on us. But the moment they stop depending on us; we fall into depression and feel unwanted. Our worry seems to give us a solid identity that even when a solution is given, we feel insecure. It is like food for the mind and it keep itself alive. This gives us the false sense of identity.
Just sit for a few minutes and write down all the thoughts that are running through your head for about 10 minutes. You will shocked to see how your thoughts are so unrelated and even contradictory and pointless. They are basically based on our imagination and assumptions. They rarely have anything to do with reality.
Live in Integrity with your thoughts, words and actions
Most of the time, the thoughts running in our head are so contradictory and we want so many multiple things and many are self-contradictory to one another. Media and societal conditioning had instilled in us that we need such and such a thing to feel fulfilled or happy. If our kids are successful the way ‘society defines success’ we feel we will be happy. But even when our kids are ‘successful’ we are still worried. About the next success. When the thoughts and desires are not connected to the action, there is stress, goof-ups and breakdowns.
We want to be happy but we think, happiness is something that the outside will give us if we work hard for it. Then when we have what we want, we are happy for some time, but again new worries arrive and we aspire for something that will give us more happiness. Thinking that, that will give us happiness. And that this will help us be more loved and liked by our family and friends.
It is time to take stock of our minds. After all, we are living with it the whole day.
One technique that can help is being in Integrity. Being integrity is fulfilling the word and thought we give to ourselves and others. It will take a little time but we can do it. Just watch each thought as they rise in the mind. If we can fulfil the thought – fulfil it but if we cannot, then drop it consciously. The first couple of times maybe tough but slowly we will catch the thread of it and slowly become more aware of our thoughts.
Slowly, we will know become more organized with our thoughts. We will know that, not all the thoughts and words given to ourselves and others can be fulfilled. So we will start becoming more careful about our thoughts and words. We will select a few and honour them. Life becomes less chaotic and we can gain more clarity.