Truth Bomb Tuesday: Maybe your anxiety is here to bring you alive..?
You are not broken.
… Maybe just a little bit unbalanced.
I wanted to pick up on something I was talking about last week when I was writing about depression.
And now I want to talk about anxiety.
Now look, the mind is an incredibly complex beast.
If you’re looking for someone to unpack all that complexity and give you a workable conception of self, then you probably shouldn’t have come to a property investor.
That said, I’ve had enough people come to me over the years who believed that they were hopelessly broken, when in fact there was nothing really wrong with them at all.
There are pathologies of the mind, absolutely. There are times when the circuitry gets crossed, the cells get damaged, all the hormones get all out of balance.
But the danger is that, in knowing this, our first instinct is to think that any time we are unhappy the mind must be broken. Sometimes we diagnose problems when there are no problems at all.
Now, let’s talk about anxiety.
Anxiety is seen as a problem. It’s seen as a sort of malfunction.
And we also think that the ideal state for a human being is one where there is no anxiety whatsoever. Just a tranquil lake, cranes flying in the distance.
Both of these ideas are wrong.
It is very natural to worry about things. You are a soft squooshy being in a world full of angry things with sharp teeth. Your social relationships are so complex that even a mathematics professor couldn’t figure them out. You’ve got to come up with a strategy for surviving economically when literally no one on the planet understands how the economy actually works.
So of course you are going to worry. You’d be mad if you didn’t. Like literally. I think your brain would be broken if you told me you didn’t have a worry in the world.
So feeling worried and feeling anxiety (which is what happens when worry gets into the body), these things are perfectly natural. They are part of your survival software.
Now if it’s true that these things are a natural part of being human, then the question is not whether we have anxiety or not. The question is whether we have too much anxiety.
That is, has our anxiety system got out of balance?
Now I see a lot of people struggling with anxiety thinking that the goal is to rid themselves of anxiety completely. But they look at that task, look at the enemy they’re facing, and it feels completely overwhelming.
And they end up adding and extra dollop of anxiety on top of their existing anxiety..
But that’s not the goal. The aim is not to vanquish anxiety altogether.
Rather, the aim is to bring your anxiety back into balance with the rest of your system. To bring it back to a healthy and natural level of anxiety.
Now the question here is, what does that feel like?
Well, I think you know what it feels like. It feels like a beautiful aliveness. It is natural for your body to be alert. It is natural for the mind to work on its problems. When these things are humming it feels good in the same way that exercise and working your body feels good.
You feel alive.
So if you feel like your anxiety is getting out of balance, don’t try to deaden your body and smother anxiety out of existence.
Just bring it back to a level that feels like a beautiful aliveness, a beautiful alertness. See that the right dose of anxiety can be a beautiful thing.
So see if that works for you. Remember, the mind is a complex beast and I am just a property investor with a megaphone.
But still, I think that it’s always worth making sure that we’re not over-pathologising our natural instincts.