December 24, 2020 | Acharya Prashant
Especially in the modern world, unfortunately, a degree of constant anxiety has become an almost normalized state for us. A large portion of our mental health problems as a collective is very much about anxiety and fear. Burn-outs, career pressures, problems with self-esteem, fear of others, stress about studies etc.—all of this is anxiety at its root and very commonplace.
It is actually a good sign if you see that anxiety rides your mind because then you can do something about it. Most of us probably do not even realize how tense and insecure we are within.
Read these five points and see that freedom from anxiety is possible—if you choose it.
How to deal with anxiety? Well, there is a part of anxiety that is related to facts, and there is a component of anxiety that rests upon imagination.
What is purely imaginary will lose its sting the moment you see it is merely imaginary. There is no end to the self-inflicted anxiety you can cause to yourself if you go on imagining.
The factual component is bound to cause and effect. If the arrow has left the bow, it will travel the distance. Why not say, “There is no point worrying now”? What is bound to happen will happen.
In either case, what is the point in remaining anxious?
How to ease anxiety? It is not anxiety that bothers you but your anxiety about anxiety.
Let anxiety come and go. Why must you plan to kill it or react to it? You energize the anxiety by giving it undue importance. You have given it a bad name! Why can’t you let anxiety be?
You cannot have depth in your life until you have gone through the entire rainbow, the whole spectrum. You need to experience maddening anger, you need to experience the razing force of lust, you need to experience the terrible temptation to be dishonest.
And you need to go through all of this without suppressing it, without being equivocal about it, without giving it a false name. You need to call anger as anger, lust as lust, shame as shame, and yet stand firm.
And when you are through it, you must be able to laugh at it. And even more wonderful if you can laugh at it even in the middle of it.
As a person, please understand, you are not designed to be perfect. All perfection is just idealism; fanciful imagination.
Give yourself the license to be outrageous.
Give yourself the freedom to be unburdened.
There is no obligation at all to be carrying the loads that you are accustomed to.
You can be perfect even in the middle of imperfection. There can be Truth in the middle of the false. You can be Joyful even in the middle of anxiety.
Make peace with the false. It’s not about waiting for some ideal sunrise. It’s about being there this day.
Not just managing anxiety but really understanding it.
Overthinking is a kind of imagination. Imagination takes you away from the fact of your life.
Understanding is intelligence. Anxiety is a thought. The presence of the thought implies a lack of understanding. Thoughts cannot dominate in understanding.
If I really understand what is going on, and what is going on is going on right now, then from that understanding action will result; clear, direct, forceful, energetic action.
And when I am in the middle of the action, there is no anxiety, no disappointment; there is only the beautiful and smooth flow of action.
Right action is needed.
Anxiety comes out of non-action.
There is no time for anxiety in right action.
Immerse yourself in the right action. Immerse yourself in the right work.
Then where is the time to get worried?
What fuels anxiety?
There are two types of objectives: external and internal.
External goals and targets are inseparable from fear and panic. You cannot strive for them without the fear of loss or failure.
When the objective is not external stuff, it is then that you work very energetically without the fear of loss or failure. Internal objectives come from a sense of completeness.
Learn to distinguish what your objectives are really about. How do you want to spend your life? If your engine is fear and greed, how can you work joyfully?
How to beat anxiety?
Listen to the fear. Maybe fear is to tell you that a lot of things about you are wrong.
Fear is never reasonless, purposeless. Fear is there to tell you about your insecurities, vulnerabilities. Fear tells you where you are not real.
It’s only fear that would drive a little humility into you. Otherwise, you can license yourself to keep feeling like a superman.
Fear is not an external object. Fear is your relationship with that object. It’s not the things that affect you; it’s what they do to you that terrifies you.
The more vulnerable you take yourself to be, the more anything will be able to terrify you. Take care of your vulnerability. Ask yourself, “Why have I become so dependent? What is it that the other can take away from me? Surely the other can take away something from me, but what is the value of that something? Is it really essential?”
Acharya Prashant is an emerging champion of socio-spiritual awakening in the world today. An alumnus of IIT-Delhi and IIM-Ahmedabad, and a former Civil Services officer, Acharya Prashant is an acclaimed Speaker, Vedanta Teacher and author of over 50 books. Apart from that he wears various hats: a veganism promoter, an environmental activist, a science activist, a campaigner against superstition, and a champion of essential human freedom. Know More