In 2021, our minds will be preoccupied with an unrelenting feeling. Anxiety!
Though the feeling itself is an “old-god” of sorts amongst others, it is one that brings a particular type of discomfort. Anxiety brings about paralysis. Emotionally, Physically and Spiritually.
That debilitating feeling of being trapped in an internal loop of “what ifs” and ” then whats” is profoundly pathogenic. The deeper the Anxiety, the more rooted we are in our inability to garner any momentum.
The Catch 22 here is that you can’t completely and permanently kill Anxiety. It is a primal instinct that has helped our species survive across millennia. However, there are specific ways to tame this most maleficent of beasts when and if it gets out of control.
1. Lean into the unproductiveness.
Creativity and productivity tend to have an inverse relationship. The more productive you are, the less creative you become. What we really crave in times of Anxiety is a sense of creativity. You need to look at creativity as a cycle. Creativity and productivity have a Yin-yang relationship where one feeds into the other. So if you feel unproductive, lean into it. The routine that you have put in place and religiously adopt may not be working for the time and place you are in right now. Take a break; in fact, do nothing. The step-change innovation or paradigm shift you are looking for may come from the deepest recesses of “nothingness.” The more you try to fight and struggle against your perceived lethargy, the more painful it becomes. Consider yourself in a deep state of cognitive overload. You feel drained because, In the background, your brain is tapping into your total experience, knowledge, and wisdom to find the right combination to generate that one light bulb moment.
What we really crave in times of Anxiety is a sense of creativity.
2. Revalidate your assumptions.
We all have an envisioned personal story of success. Explore the assumptions that underpin this story. Financial targets, relationships, investments, and popularity may all be part of that narrative. These Assumptions are the “Things” once achieved are supposed to make us feel “Successful.” Are they as important to your mental health as you think they are ?. Sometimes we believe in what the world wants us to think; in reality, none of those grand and lofty goals may really matter when it comes to your mental wellbeing. Reframing your paradigm of success can actually lead to a greater sense of freedom. It’s not about wanting to do less; it’s more about wanting to do what is meaningful.
Reframing your paradigm of success can actually lead to a greater sense of freedom.
3. Live the simple life:
Cut back on the frills. It’s time to be real. What are you spending on to feed your ego VS what are you spending on to create value? In times of abundance, we tend to be lavish with our lifestyle; there is no shame in shifting gears when the times are hard. Comparing your lifestyle at different stages of your life and coming to a conclusion about your success narrative is futile. “it is what it is” and you need to do what needs to be done. Trying to keep up appearances in real life or on social media adds to your false reality. This feeds back into your psyche and creates more Anxiety. More counterproductive is comparing lifestyles on social media. Nothing may be more perplexing than seeing your social media friends on a luxurious holiday in the middle of a pandemic when you’re trying to make enough money to pay your utility bills. Rewire what you’re looking at. There are plenty of people creating a difference for themselves and the world in simple but meaningful ways.
Rewire what you’re looking at.
4. Don’t look for motivation.
look to tap into your curiosity. Motivation is good; what’s better is curiosity. Motivation takes effort; curiosity is natural. It comes from you and is within you. Find out what you’re curious about and follow the trail of breadcrumbs. I know, the last thing you want someone to come and say to you when you are paralyzed with Anxiety is “motivate yourself”. This is why looking inside and exploring what you are curious about can make a huge difference. Don’t force it; the keyword here is to explore your curiosities and see where they lead you.
The last thing you want someone to come and say to you when you are paralyzed with Anxiety is “motivate yourself”
5. Cut the fat and find the marrow:
There is no bigger pressure than that placed upon you by counterproductive friends and family. Cut out the people who cannot give you a balanced perspective, stop living to match your peer group’s expectations. Instead, find people with marrow! The real stuff of substance. Those able to ground you in difficult times and provide a simple yet profound perspective to get you through difficult times.
Find a balanced perspective
There is no better way to feel rich than giving. There is no bigger release than seeing how your work affects others positively. It doesn’t have to be on a grand scale. Give what you can to who you can. It could be time, it could be your skills, it could be your love. The recipients of these three gifts maybe your family, your next-door neighbour or the less privileged. We all have a tremendous capacity to give, by word or deed. There are so many people around you and in the world that can benefit from what you have to offer.
There is no bigger release than seeing how your work affects others positively.
2021 is a year of shedding the falseness we’ve accumulated and firmly rediscovering the truths that make us human. We have all been humbled and put forth into deeply unsettling circumstances. Amidst the madness and chaos, know that taking care of your emotional wellbeing is probably the most critical priority. As a diligent gardener uproots the weeds in his garden, so should you maintain the sanctity of your mind.