It comes in two shapes and forms.
Yesterday I wrote about anger. Why anger is produced, and how it is nothing more than a signal from your body that your needs are unmet. Also, I spoke about the three ways in which anger may be dealt with. And how there’s only one way that gets you respect and contentment.
If you have not yet read that post, I highly recommend you read it first before diving into this one.
If you have read the post on anger you can probably already guess that anxiety is also a signal from your body. Anxiety is neither good nor bad in and of itself. Just like anger, it just is. If you live in the same world that I and the other homo sapiens live in, then you ARE going to be anxious form time to time. There is no way around anxiety.
So how is anxiety produced?
Well, here’s how…
Your mental reserve is confidence. The higher your confidence level, the lower your anxiety. Anxiety and confidence are anti matter and matter. They cancel each other out, and if you have more confidence than the amount of anxiety that gets in, you won’t get anxious. In other words, if you believe that you can deal with the “problem” that can possibly cause anxiety, you won’t get anxious in the face of that problem. The higher your confidence, the lower your chance of getting anxious.
This is just like well being (state of having your needs met) and anger. The more your needs are already being met, the less angry you get. Similarly, the higher your confidence, the less anxious you can be.
Where there is confidence, there is no anxiety.
The threat of losing something makes you anxious. Look at any anxious person, and you’ll see a person who worries about losing something. This “something” can be anything. Money, respect, relationship, social status, material possessions… anything at all.
If a person feels that they can not easily get sex, love and affection, and they are no very confident about their attractiveness, then they will get VERY anxious as soon as they detect a possibility of losing their partner. A person like me… I might miss someone, or be sad about losing someone, but I never get anxious.
If a person is not very confortable with money matters, and is always struggling to make ends meet, then in the event a large unexpected bill comes in the mail, this person will get very anxious.
You get the drill.
Of course, threat of loss can mostly come only when you have weak boundaries. When you realize that there are things that are beyond your control, and those are the things you just can not control, then you don’t feel like you are losing something at all. However, intimacy is the act of letting someone else get into your boundary, and in such case, the threat of losing them might just be real.
But it is still worth mentioning that as long as you realize that any relationship is a gift from one person to another, and can be withdrawn at any point of time… even if you have been very intimate with that person, you have good, solid boundaries.
With solid boundaries, you really do realize what it is that you control and what it is that you don’t. That is how I have always defined boundaries. When you have good boundaries, it is rare that you feel like you can lose something that belongs to you.
I mean what could possibly happen?
It is rare that someone can unexpectedly breach your boundary.
Maybe you are overdue on tax and the government will send you a notice to pay up by a due date. But then you were already aware of this, right?
One thing that might happen is that you might get robbed at a knife-point. Now that is real trauma, and that will bring with itself real loss. But if you are confident about money, then you won’t get anxious.
Now, the threat of losing a loved one does cause anxiety. But that’s just life. Everyone has to die, and all relationships end bad. The worst way a relationship ends is with someone’s death. The wounds that you can’t heal yourself (like the death of one’s parents) are healed by time. So it’s OK to feel sad about those unfortunate events. And anxious about threat of losing them.
Like anger, anxiety bounces right off your boundary if you have a solid one.
But sometimes a fear of losing can get in. Once the fear of losing does get inside your boundary, then it is yours, and it becomes anxiety. Like I said, anxiety is a form of stress. The other form is anger.
So what do you do when you are anxious? You will be anxious from time to time. That much I can guarantee you.
Like anything else, there are three ways of dealing with anxiety. The first way is to do nothing. The second way is to enter a negative momentum loop. The third way is to build a positive momentum loop. Arguably, most people choose either the first way or the second way. Only rare individuals use the third way.
Personally, these days I try to build a positive momentum loop as much as I can.
Here are the three options you have when anxiety gets in…
The favorite method of the masses – indecision. People are very good at not taking any decisions. And so this is what I see the vast majority of people doing…
Consequently, the anxiety becomes chronic. You can guess what happens next. Food addictions, alcohol and drug abuse, overeating, overspending, even workaholism.
Even excessive aggression is sometimes caused because of chronic anxiety. My own father suffers from this, unfortunately.
All these things come from doing nothing when you are anxious.
See when you make decisions, you can not be in the past or the future. If you find your mind drifting off into the past or the future most of the time, then the best way to bring it back to the present is to make a decision. Or to eat something. Or to have sex. Or to simply focus on the sensation in your body and in your muscles.
When you are anxious and make no decision at all, you get addicted to something. This does happen over time, but it also happens very quickly. I have battled food and sex addictions myself.
Thankfully, I have been able to leave that behind.
Obviously I do not recommend you do nothing. I absolutely positively recommend you choose a different way of dealing with anxiety.
OK. The second method.
Or in other words, blame someone else.
See, most people have week boundaries. As such it is quite easy to dump your anxiety onto someone else.
This is similar to the second way of dealing with anger. The way to build a negative momentum loop with anger is to dump your anger onto someone else. That’s what I call uncontrolled aggression.
Similarly, the way to build a negative momentum loop with anxiety is to dump your anxiety onto someone else. Just blame them. Tell them how they are responsible for everything that is going wrong.
This is, by the way, the exact opposite of what I recommend.
If you are fat, you are responsible.
If you are poor, you are responsible.
If you are lonely, you are responsible.
If you are not getting your needs met, you, and YOU ALONE are responsible.
But some people, when they have anxiety, they simply blame someone else. Obviously this does not solve the problem at hand. It simply makes you feel good for a while, while making the other person feel bad.
Of course, the other person has to have a particularly weak boundary to let you treat them that way. If you even tried to blame me for something that is wrong with your life, or for something that you are anxious about… I will slam my boundary shut so hard on you that you will be left wondering if I ever even opened it for real, or if you were merely dreaming the whole time.
But unfortunately, almost everyone has poor boundaries. And so for a while, you can use the win/lose mentality. You can dump your anxiety into someone else’s boundary, and they WILL take the abuse for a while. How long this can continue depends upon a whole host of factors. How long they’ve known you and been in a relationship with you, what kind of a person they are, how many other people they have in life, and what your relationship with them is. All these things will play a role in determining how long they will let you abuse them.
But the bottomline remains… Even if you blame someone, and they accept it… The problem really does not get solved. This is a win/lose game you are playing here. This is toxic for any relationship as well. This way also encourages your sadistic and the other person’s masochistic tendencies.
But most importantly, it constantly kills any confidence that you might have had.
And so I highly recommend you use the third way.
Like with anger, there is an excellent way of dealing with anxiety. Using this way, you will build a positive momentum loop. Or in other words, your confidence will continuously rise. And that method is…
See, the next time you are anxious, realize that your anxiety stems from two roots. The first root is your lack of confidence in THAT particular area. You believe that you will not be able to replace whatever it is that you are about to (or can) lose.
The second root is a threat of losing something.
The anxiety you have is simply your mind’s and body’s way of telling you chemically that you are not very confident in that area.
So act courageously.
If you are feeling anxious about money, act courageously, and look for a second job, or an extra gig that pays.
If you are feeling anxious about a relationship, act courageously, and go out and flirt with other people.
If you are feeling anxious about losing ANYTHING, act courageously, and seek more of that thing.
Of course, it won’t be easy because you have your own fears. You are not confident that you can flirt with people. Or make more money. That is the only reason you are anxious in the first place.
But the way that works is this… You act courageously… You act despite the fear (not in absence of that fear) and overcome it. You rise above those fears by acting through them. And when you do, your confidence levels are high. Way high!
Courage is the act of moving forward despite the fear, not the act of being fearless.
With that said, I’d like to conclude today’s post.
Remember, stress is either anger or anxiety.
Anger is produced when you are low on well being (state of having all needs met). Anxiety is produced when you are low on confidence.
You get angry when something external threatens to hurt you. You get anxious when you fear losing something.
If you have solid boundaries, both “hurt” and “loss” will bounce right off is most cases.
When “hurt” and ”fear of loss” get inside your boundary, they become anger and anxiety respectively.
If you are in a state of well being, anger will be diffused. If you are confident, anxiety will be diffused.
The best way to deal with anger is to be assertive. The best way to deal with anxiety is to act courageously.
When angry, assert! When anxious, act!
Master anger and anxiety, and you master every single emotion you have.
Until Next Time
P.S. If there is any specific situation you wish to discuss with me, leave a comment. If you are anxious and/or angry about something in particular, leave a comment.