I want to introduce my topic a little differently today than I would usually. I want you to think of this paradoxical loop. You somehow get to meet your future self in the year 2025 and can ask that person one question, what would it be…………………………………………….?
I think a lot of us would default to whether or not we are happy, whether or not we are successful or whether or not things happen the way we wanted it to – it seems the most natural tendency doesn’t it?
While this response could go either way, I’m going to venture down the path that what you hear isn’t what you want to – which is a distinct possibility. How do you react to that? Do you actively make changes to your life to ensure that what you heard doesn’t happen, do you worry about every decision you make to the point where you are ultimately 8 years to the good and have second guessed everything that had already been decided for you, and ultimately fulfilled a prophecy you had been actively trying to avoid?
Screw this, give me the winning mega-bucks lottery ticket number for 2020 and I’ll buy happiness.
Let’s face it, there are things that are important to us and we take all the necessary precautions to ensure that things go smoothly and perfectly, but who really teaches us how to effectively handle the wait and, more importantly, how do we not pull our hair out in anticipation… oh, wait.
Unfortunately, we cannot magically go from situation A to desired result B by blinking, it takes time. Sometimes the taxing nature of the wait makes us deliberate and deliver a running verdict wrought with inaccuracies and, almost simultaneously, causes our minds to wander to similarly unlikely parallels to the point where we are drained and nothing useful has been accomplished. Unfortunately, time does not halt between milestones and we cannot take a ninja-break from life while we wait for things to maybe go our way.
I’ve only touched the negative aspects of this situation. While positives are unlikely to be as draining, the romanticism of positive outcomes is equally distracting, although significantly more enjoyable.
Also, let’s face it. I’m really just bitter that girl read my text and didn’t holler back - expletive.
I’ve recently realized that I’m an egg in basket kind of person and what that essentially means to me is that I invest myself to the point where I become vulnerably excited. This I believe can be viewed in 2 different ways, it could be me immersing myself, researching and feeling everything under the sun because whatever this is, I am all about that – which is great, right?
OR, it could be me being careless and exposing myself to the harshness of reality, and that bi**h that is life, in which case I need to manage expectations and not get excited – which is bad, right?.
I tend to lean to the earlier, while I know I fall harder, it gives me the satisfaction that I gave it my all. Rebounding from this is a lot harder, but I personally feel more rewarding when you have those long introspective showers (obviously).
I’ve recently gone through 2 vastly different experiences which touch both my professional and personal life. While one is definitely worth more than the other (at least to me), I went through both of those feeling exactly the same, and I remember in both cases, there was a period of latency between execution and result. What started out very promisingly in my head slowly turned more negative as time wore on. I started losing out on sleep and my mind was constantly switched on, thinking about what should be in an ideal world, coupled with me being a realist and forcing myself into considering the negative aspects – which I thought would help me cope better.
But am I afflicted by anxiety, which is causing me to lose sleep and have my stomach churn, or am I quite simply just nervous because I fear the unknown?
The wait kills me- f**k the wait.
Now, to address this conundrum, let’s look at these 2 words a little more closely and try to differentiate between the 2.
Firstly, anxiety is typically irrational, you know it doesn’t necessarily make sense. While you can give yourself reason after reason as to why you shouldn’t be anxious or worried, you are still literally petrified.
Nervousness is typically related to real life events that you have to deal with: waiting for doctors to give you “interesting” results, finding out if you got into school or got that job, or just before asking that girl out you’ve liked for some time. Nervousness is the sensible reaction to potentially daunting tasks.
Secondly, I liken anxiety to having a physical component to it, such as sweating or nausea. It’s a state of uneasiness and is unique to individuals. Nervousness is not this extreme and is pretty commonplace to most individuals. While the symptoms may be similar, the overall impact to the body isn’t the same as with an anxiety attack.
Finally, anxiety is a prolonged feeling or reaction to situations well after it has been completed. It’s almost as if it follows you around. Even though you may acknowledge it, you may not always come to terms with it and move on. Nervousness, on the other hand, ends when the situation is over- literally every time I get an injection. The outcome might not always be positive, but you feel relieved to the point where you are no longer nervous.
This is also why I choose to (yes, choose to) fail so many times – no more worries or nervousness here, baby!
All things considered, I feel like there is some cause and effect going on here with anxiety being the result of prolonged periods of nervousness.
Ok, so I’m nervous – now what?
1. Eat – Let’s face it, one of the first things we turn to is food, at least for me, and I highly recommend junk food obviously. For some reason, this provides a temporary solace but absolutely no benefit.
As hard as it may be, try to not let yourself go and maintain a semi healthy lifestyle at least. It hurts you in the long run a lot more than that sliver of comfort.
2. Laze amaze – Another great compliment to eating all the junk food is lazing after #sarcasm. This usually involves napping and lounging mindlessly. This more often than not doesn’t even provide you with some respite. It quite literally wastes time. Especially if you are nervous, you could lose hours, maybe even days by aimlessly loafing around.
Physical and mental exercises are essential in producing “happy” hormones such as serotonin or dopamine and can improve your stress conditions and make you feel more positive. Don’t think – act.
3. Consciously uncouple reality – that voice in your head that keeps narrating out different outcomes is the easiest way to a false positive or worse, a depressing negative. I tend to see myself flip flop between both far too much and have noticed that just the processing of one of these parallels takes so much time that I know I can ill afford, but do little to stop.
This is a hard one I found to implement, but you need to overpower these parallel trains of thought and be logical about things. Ask yourself questions, does this really matter? Will this affect the outcome? Will it make me feel better? And the more you think about that, the less likely you are to be drawn to fantasies and nightmares.
Again, this is ridiculously difficult to implement, but we need to start somewhere.
4. Re-wiring – What I’ve noticed is that I tend to relate a lot of situations to previous outcomes, even though they are independent events. Which is wrong for all parties, as well as unfair on the current situation. This falls under habit I feel and while I don’t necessarily stop myself because I believe in semi-caution – I don’t always try to change my thinking of it.
Handling this is purely psychological, when we lose something that we really value or will have valued, it hits us hard and we remember more vividly. I feel like time and, by extension, maturity helps. Another way is to address the issue head on and not look for methods of circumventing. Maybe sometimes you need to go through the thorns to get to the rose.
In summary, we all get stressed and we all panic about things we care about. We try to simulate situation after situation, carefully iterating till we’ve reached a point where we are content, although maybe not always a reality. This is both dangerous to our well-being and counter-productive to our lives and cannot be accepted as common place. There are things we can do to avoid it and things we can do to mitigate it if conditions crop up. Let’s all take some time to be aware of our surroundings and not succumb to the faux-calm.
Of course, the things listed above are merely suggestions and not encompassing of other twitches exhibited, I feel like these are the most common.
I’d love to hear from everybody and see how they both exhibit and deal with such situations. We could all learn something new J
Till next time y’all