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.
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.
Perhaps the next step is to practise one small opening of the heart to God.
[Last in the series: Roundup.]