Anxiety is a normal reaction to stressful situations. But in some cases, it becomes excessive and can cause sufferers to dread everyday situations. According to psychology today, the chances are fairly high that either you or a loved one has had a history of anxiety. In any given year about 17% of us will have an anxiety disorder. Can you learn to control your anxiety?
Anxiety isn’t helped by the fact that when we turn on the TV or radio all we hear is bad news. Unfortunately bad news sells, the majority are attracted to it and therefore it acts as a reminder to us that we need to be aware as danger looms. Because we are constantly bombarded with bad news, we think that we are in greater danger than we actually are, and like carriages on a train the next anxious thought follows and the next, resulting in us feeling anxious or developing anxiety disorders.
In eastern psychotherapy the mind is often described as a monkey. This is the part of our mind that, if left unattended, can run off and create havoc for us. It is the part of your mind over which you feel you have little or no control. Actually, you can tame and control your monkey, it is just that you need to get to know it. This is called self discovery.
Monkeys come in many varieties. Some are mischievous, funny or playful, while others can be negative depressive or angry. When people lose self esteem and self-worth it is monkey business. When people become addicted to drugs, moaning or misery the monkey is at work. Whenever the mind plays tricks and does things that we do not want the monkey is out to play games with you. Sanity is when we know our monkey and are able to tame the beast and gently put it back in it’s cage.
The devil finds work for idle hands
The unoccupied mind will allow the monkey to run off and throw bananas at you. They may be bananas of joy and hope or misery and hurt. In human consciousness the most common monkey that most of us need to deal with is the anxious monkey.
Anxiety is simply the fear of the future
The reason we call what we do ‘Live In the Present‘ is because in the now there is nothing but the present. When we bring the unresolved past into the present we call it depression and, when we bring unhappened and feared futures into the present we call it anxiety. Anxiety is the fear of what is yet to come.
The only way to overcome anxiety is to live in the present – LITP
Ed and I meet each week and have our own LITP time. We were talking about people who do actually LITP. A racing driver travelling at 200 mph must live in the present or die. A lack of concentration can easily lead to a miscalculation and death. Equally, a surgeon with scalpel poised over a brain or a heart must LITP to complete a successful operation. In fact anyone who is focussed on who they are and what they are doing is living in their present. As soon as they allow their mind to slip into either the past or the future they are lost.
The Mindful Moment – Control Your Anxiety
My connection in the now, my LITP, comes mainly through meditation. The focus on breath and body through Vipassana is the experience of the present moment. The current heart beat forms the present just as the last one was the past and the next one will be the future. Ed’s route to LITP is through learning. He lives to discover new things, uncover new experiences and learn about places he has not yet visited.
Anyone who can get into the zone of concentration is living in their present.
How do you live in your present?
Sad to say but, few people really do live in the present. Most people are in the depression of the past or the anxiety of the future. The only way to tame anxiety is to discover your way of living in your present. All medication does is dull the sensation of anxiety. we get the same effect from drugs or alcohol. When the medication, drugs or alcohol have worn off, guess what? Back comes the anxiety just as before.
The bottom line is this: if you want to tame your anxiety engage your consciousness into something that excites you, something that makes you feel good. It might be a sport, a job, a skill, a hobby, a craft, whatever it is you will be focussed in the now and you will no longer need to worry about what will be. You will have tamed your anxiety and be living in the present.
How will you live in your present?