Sometimes when I go to my grandmother’s house I like to check out her bookshelf because she is really into motivational books. A few months back she gave me one that caught my attention because it talks about our Emotional Wisdom. It is a self-help book by Walter Riso, a cognitive psychologist and Magister in bioethics, and it deals with the emotions that we have throughout our lives, that is: happiness, sadness, anxiety, stress, and so forth. Because I am a very anxious person myself, I was very intrigued by the author’s approach to our emotions.
Thus, after reading his book on our emotions, I concluded that when it comes to anxiety, there are 3 things that we need to know:
1. Anxiety comes when we overthink something and that raises a red flag in our brains making it think that it needs to prepare us for the catastrophe that is about to come.
2. Anxiety Disorder comes (not specifically, but usually) to those whose minds are strongly and distinctly immersed in the future and thus are unable to live in the present.
3. Stress is anxiety’s baby: Brain thinks we are in danger, red flags are raised, we blind ourselves thinking about what is to come and that’s when the uncontrollable tension begins to rise inside of us making us stressful and desperate.
So I guess these are the basics when it comes to anxiety, and when we have these sort of problems I believe that it all starts with the power of OVERTHINKING.
Well, here’s my theory: Overthinking is what leads us to those “worst case scenarios.” That’s when we start getting anxious. Our brain prepares our body and our minds for what is to come, and then when there’s nothing there, the brain keeps building up these shields, like barrier over barrier in order to protect us; which eventually pushes us into desperation and stress. However, who can blame a person for overthinking when it’s basically a part of our human nature? We are always thinking three steps ahead, thinking about the outcome instead of the process.
For that, we need to learn how to not overthink everything.
Riso claims that the secret is to find an environment where happiness and repose can coexist. Finding something or some place where we can calm our thoughts: a place in the world where we can just stop and do whatever we want to do. It doesn’t matter if it’s in our car, our shower, under the rain, at a coffee shop, or with a special someone. What matters is that you let yourself stop, breathe, and be happy with the moment.
Sounds beautiful, right? Did you feel the motivation? Shed a tear?
No? Okay, so moving along.
Well for anxious people, or at least for me when I first read it, my thought was “This is complete and utter bullshit.” How can one repose when we live in a world that’s going 100mph? How can I not overthink and fixate on the future with everything that is happening around the world? How can I not overthink about my future job, family, life?
But then again, that’s the whole point of Mr. Riso’s book, isn’t it? To make you realize that nothing good comes from overthinking. No matter the life you live, your overthinking leads to anxiety which leads to stress; which in many cases leads to depression and mental and physical exhaustion. Thus, going back to Riso’s points about dealing with anxiety, I guess one should at least try. Myself included.
So, I think that any person with anxiety disorder should also know these 3 other things about anxiety:
1. Anxiety comes from overthinking, and there’s this quote that says “Overthinking kills happiness.” Thus, try to take the overthinking down a notch.
2. Anxiety Disorder many times comes to those who are fixated on the future. According to Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Enjoy each moment that you have. Be it good or bad just live through it and learn from the present instead of thinking about what will happen 10 years from now.
3. Stress is anxiety’s baby! And you are the mommy or daddy!!! Here’s a fun story: our Department’s Interim Associate Director has a paper on her desk, just beside the chair. So once you sit down it’s the first thing you see. It’s basically a flowchart asking if you have a problem. The lines that follow ask if there’s something you can do about it. It doesn’t matter if the answer is yes or no, both lead to the same result which is not to worry. So every time we were stressed out she would make us sit down and follow the flow chart and tell us not worry. Life will take its course. Just let it happen.
So think about these things, my friends. (BUT DON’T OVER DO IT) Meditate on your lives and just be thankful that you woke up to another day. ❤
Until our next time,