Anxiety is a gift… I hope writing that doesn’t tick you off. Either way, it’ll make sense by the end of this article. Fortunately, for anyone who doesn’t enjoy this gift, I have two remedies to remove almost all anxiety from your life. The first is particularly simple and easy to follow. To remove all anxiety from your life, remove all choice. Choice is the root of anxiety. In our Western society, choice has become an overwhelming commodity and is wreaking havoc on the average person’s emotional state. Have you tried buying shoes for running lately? (Salesman) “Do you want shoes for indoor running, outdoor snow running, outdoor gravel, Astroturf, or grass running? Did you want the new phone-shoe that lets you text with your toes while running or the new catheter shoe with attached urine bags so you never have to stop? Or do you just want the shoes Jesus wore?” (Me): “Sandals?” (Salesman) “No, cross trainers?” Get it? Cross trainers… Jesus died on a cross… Yeah, I’m not as hilarious as I as think I am. When I buy shoes I look for two things: what’s the best sale? And what are the prettiest? I mean manliest. That’s when the salesperson rolls his eyes and attempts to give me a lesson on functionality, but… I don’t care. What looks good and what’s the best deal? Call me superficial, it’s true, so this is how I buy shoes. But even with reducing choice to these two criterion for buying shoes, shopping can still be overwhelming because there are so many shoe stores and options from which to choose at each store. Our society is full of choice; there are options for everything, which can make the day to day overwhelming. Who hasn’t been out driving and at one point thought: (Driver) “I should have taken the other road. This one is jammed.” How we get to places involves choice and our choices have consequences that can leave us angry with ourselves or other people. Even picking movies can lead to anger: (Angry person) “My friend said Pain and Gain was a good movie. Apparently, they were either sarcastic or mentally stunted while watching it.” Having to face unpleasant consequences due to making a bad choice can lead to decision making being a scary endeavor. For some people, facing consequences can be too much, and they’re left in the rut of saying: (Broken down person) “I don’t care; you choose.” This is a person tired of making decisions and/or afraid of screwing up. And that’s just the day to day. Then there’s the bigger questions like what career should I pursue? Do I go to school and where do I go? How will I pay for it? Do I get married or should I just fool around for awhile? Who do I marry? How do I choose or know if I’m ready? Or the biggest question, do I eat a KitKat or Twix?
Life is full of choices, big and small. It’s no wonder in our society there are people who end up feeling extremely anxious. So, what about my first solution? Remove all choice. That would essentially mean giving someone else all the control of your life. Someone else like the government or your parents would tell you who to marry, what career you’ll have, where you’ll live, and how you’ll get to work. Maybe you’ll even have the grocery store nearest your house give you a set meal plan to follow with what brand of food to use so all of your meals are preset. Then, at night, your parents or your partner would tell you what to do in your couple minutes of free time before going to bed at your regulated bedtime. You’d essentially live your life set to an extreme time budget where you just do exactly as you’re told. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Don’t you wish you could be told what to do every minute of the day? If everything in your life was decided for you, you’d never feel anxious… but you’d be a slave. The nicer way of looking at it would be your life would be like being an eight year old in an over controlling family where you’re protected but trapped doing what someone else tells you to do. There wouldn’t be any anxiety, but there wouldn’t be any freedom.
Thus, anxiety means that you are free to make decisions. With anxiety you get to be responsible for your own life. Anxiety is a gift! Anxiety is wonderful because it means we are allowed to choose our own path. The next time you feel anxiety you should stop yourself and think: “This is wonderful; I feel anxious because I get to choose what I want.” This may sound a little silly, but by embracing the fact that anxiety means you have freedom you won’t hate it as much. If you can learn to appreciate anxiety then you won’t fear it or fight it, which means you’ll have less anxiety. Isn’t that weird? The more we accept anxiety, the less we’ll have to face. Therefore, the best solution to the problem of anxiety isn’t to eliminate choice, which is a ticket to slavery, but to embrace the privilege anxiety implies; we need to be grateful for the opportunity of choice.
This week may you start to realize what a gift anxiety is thereby reducing its negative power over you.
Rev Chad David, Emotional Sex, emotional tune up