How to cope with anxiety?

How do you deal with anxiety? Well, first of all: who said anxiety was a bad thing?! Nature (or God, in gematria, it is the same thing) created us with positive emotions like joy and enthusiasm, and with negative emotions like fear and anxiety. And every such emotion has a role. Imagine that we were not afraid; for example, we would not immediately notice when danger lurks for us, and we would not react accordingly. Fear is good in this respect! When is it bad? When it turns into panic, it paralyzes us and prevents us from dealing with the danger.


I would liken our body to a telephone for this purpose. Anxiety (or fear) is the ringing, which follows a message that our body has received from our senses or a thought that has arisen for us, that lurks danger for us. The chronic anxiety (or whoever thinks he or she is "sick" of it) simply acts foolishly by continuing to listen to the ring instead of responding: simply picking up the phone. How to do it? We will see later on.


Just as negative emotions are not necessarily bad, so positive emotions are not necessarily good. For example, peace of mind, joy, and enthusiasm can sometimes cause us to deal incorrectly with certain situations.


Having said all that, let’s concentrate on our topic: anxiety. I guess you all know the feeling of anxiety: it is sometimes expressed in sweating and especially in butterflies in the stomach, a very unpleasant feeling that sometimes lasts for hours.


The anxiety about which we think of it immediately is the anxiety for the future (immediate and distant). But there is (and how else!) Anxiety towards the past (near and far). For example, I am anxious when I recall cases where I was ridiculed in the companies I worked for and the suffering my ex-wife caused me when she treated me the way she did. And here, logic does not help us because logic is a thought, whereas anxiety is an emotion. Think for example of the beautiful saying but how ineffective in the context of anxiety about something that has happened in the past: "Too bad to cry over spilled milk!".


Well, what to do when the anxiety phone rings? How do you pick up the phone?


First of all, what not to do:


- Do not take medication. That's my opinion. I'm not a doctor, and perhaps the anxiolytic drugs are justified in some cases, but they do not always work; they are addictive, and they have side effects that may be worse than anxiety. To get back to the phone's image, they "deal" with the annoying ringing problem by hiring a technician and asking him to do so that the ringing will no longer work! Once again, anxiety has the role of alerting to danger (real, semi-imaginary, or completely imaginary). What we need to do is this: to address the problem.


- If I wrote that you should not take drugs, then all the more so, and I say this as a former smoker: do not smoke!!! (Is it even necessary to explain why not?). And also, do not take drugs, alcohol, and so on.


Everything I said should not be done will sound banal and obvious, but a great many people (including very intelligent people) use these methods to overcome their anxiety.


So, what to do?


First of all, ask ourselves about the danger that lurks us this question: What might happen to us in the worst case scenario? In 99% if not 100% of cases, the answer is that it's something we can live with. This thought can stop immediately, almost completely, and almost magically the feeling of anxiety. Now, we can take the time to address the issue. This question should be asked immediately, as a reflex.


I will give 3 personal examples:


Example 1:


My bank in Israel refused to pay me the pension I was entitled to for my work period in France because it would have come to me by order of the name Frank Lopatnik, which was my old name before I passed it on to Yossi Patt. Because as for the French authorities, I did not change the name. The bank only knew the name Yossi Patt as the owner of my account. I will not waste you on uninteresting details, but the struggle with insurance in France, and at the same time with the bank in Israel, has been going on for months. When everything seemed lost to me, I went into anxiety and nerves. So, I asked the magic question: what can happen to me in the worst case scenario? So, I will not receive my pension from France, and I will live only on my pension for my years of work in the country! So, what's up with that?! In any case, this is not a serious sum (I only worked for seven years in France).


When my anxiety stopped, so did the damage to my behavior and the nonsense it caused me to do. For example: to threaten the poor clerk at the bank that I will write to the press (as if it moves her!) or move to another bank (I will have the same problem with the other bank). On the other hand, when my mind resigned from the annoying ringtone, it handled the problem correctly: I came out assuming I would get what I wanted in the end because I was right. Of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants, there are probably some who have a similar story. I went to the Interior Ministry and asked to add the old name to my ID card. It still did not help, but I am stubborn! So, I tried to open an account at another bank, and at the same time, I turned to the Public Inquiries Bureau. And they gave me my wanted at last!


Example 2:


I did not receive sympathetic responses from the others about the WhatsApp messages I would send them in my choir. From this, I deduced that they did not like me! I panicked a little until I remembered this unconventional weapon of the question: What can happen to me in the worst case scenario? So they do not love me!!! So, what's up? There are billions of people who do not love me!


Then I thought:


1) There are still three people in the group - and it's quite a few, and that they're liked by the others - that I'm sure they like me. So, let's call them and deepen that connection.


2) Let's examine and correct if necessary what I did: Maybe I wrote stupid things on my WhatsApp, or that one of them was harmed?


3) Finally, on the occasion of Passover, I wrote a personal greeting to each of them and received a simple and honest response from everyone, so that I realized that I was really worried in vain.


Example 3:


On this magical ability to stop anxiety and the damage it causes: dysfunction. In this case, as you will see, even panic and failure to adequately address the problem is extreme and even hilarious.


I once fell asleep at the wheel. I woke up immediately and continued driving (I was not driving on just a road but a freeway), and again I closed my eyes and opened them again. The third time, I found myself slipping with my car to the side of the road. I saw the car deteriorate when there are obstacles such as trees, left and right. I panicked. Then, fortunately, I had in mind the magic question. And in a split second, I had the following dialogue with myself:


What can happen in the worst case scenario?


The answer came to me in the blink of an eye: then I will die! So what?! It had to happen to me one day anyway!


After this thought calmed me down, I knew how to properly handle the problem: maneuver between the trees and brake gradually (even though I was not on a smooth road.) Until I completely stopped the car.


And here's another tip:


Apart from the question: "What can happen in the worst-case", here is another tip for cases where you are anxious not to meet a certain task (for example, I admit that I felt that way before I started writing this post: I will have nothing to say, I will write nonsense, etc.).


Sometimes the anxiety that we will not be able to meet the task causes us not to do it. Then not only is the work not done, but you experience guilt for being lazy and wasting your day. So, the tip is: just get started! At most, if your fears are clarified as justified (this book is really boring, the subject does not interest me, I am too tired, not too focused, etc.) - then stop. And what you managed to do, you did!


I gave another example in the post: "How to work effectively?", Under the section: How can you not lose your temper when not everything is going as expected? "


In conclusion:


We have seen that the anxiety problem is not really a problem. Anxiety is a normal and healthy response to the danger that lurks for us. It is problematic only when it causes us to misbehave (for example, when we are angry or panicking).


We have seen that what helps me stop the anxiety is to ask myself: what can happen to me in the worst case scenario? But let's clarify me: you may not ask yourself this very question! The main thing is that you will be aware that you are anxious as soon as it happens to you. And to reinforce, when you dealt with the problem correctly just because you were aware that you were anxious, encourage yourself for the following cases.


I invite you to write in the comments your own examples:

- What problem did I have?

- How did I recognize that this problem made me anxious?

- What could, in my experience, be an incorrect response to this type of problem?

- How did the awareness of anxiety help me properly address the problem?


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Below is a quote from Aldous Huxley, which was reported by an Internet user, and my reaction to this quote. There is only one part of the universe that we can definitely change: ourselves. Aldous Huxl