11 Ways of Dealing with Anxiety
11. The next step

This is the final instalment of 11 Ways of Dealing with Anxiety, an ongoing experiment in meeting life with gusto.

Take the next step

There is one fundamental way of dealing with anxiety. Instead of sitting there worrying, get up and do something.

I admit I find this difficult. What if I make a mistake? What if it all goes horribly wrong? What if I don’t know what to say? What if I am insufficiently prepared? What if I mess up and look ridiculous and everyone laughs at me? What if I end up jobless, moneyless, homeless, friendless? The list of worries in my head, for the most part fallacious, seems endless.

While it may be important not to make hasty decisions impelled by a natural wish to alleviate the sensations of anxiety, it is also true that worry stymies action. Anxiety tends to procrastination. Each procrastination, however small, is disempowering and we lose trust in ourselves.

Feel your anxiety, honour the one in you that fears, but don’t let that stop you from taking action. “Feel the fear and do it anyway,” as Susan Jeffers and Robert Glover advise.

Take the next step. Perhaps it is just getting out of bed, looking for information on the Internet, walking out the front door, making a phone-call, writing an email, talking to a friend or colleague, posting a letter. Each step, however small, is empowering and we grow in self-respect.

What if it does all go horribly wrong? What if we lose, or look ridiculous or, Heaven forbid, the bottom falls out of our world? It is said that, in the end, nothing can separate us from the love of God. This is a tough call; deep faith is rare. Only with deep trust like this do we finally face our ultimate fears – fear of death, fear of annihilation, the very real apprehension that ‘I’ am not real.

Trust in God is not intellectual assent. It is opening the heart. It is a choice. It can be practised. Deep trust is made of many small acts of trust that become a habit over a lifetime.

Perhaps the next step is to practise one small opening of the heart to God.

And repeat.

2 thoughts on “11 Ways of Dealing with Anxiety
11. The next step

  1. This is truly marvellous. Remembering how dangerous and disempowering procrastination is, is very useful, and the outlining of the smallest of steps that can help us feel we are making progress is very helpful and encouraging. Practising opening the heart, to make the active choice of faith and trust, yes, very good. It somehow becomes more manageable if it’s partly a question of good housekeeping – dust one room at a time, rather than make the whole house pristine (I have to play these mental games to cope with housework as well). I may not be able to imagine myself successfully tackling the whole house, but I could do this little task in this room, now…

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