I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t get a little bit anxious from time to time, and I guess that most of us would see as normal the varying degrees of anxiety that we experience as we go through life. Much like eustress, that positive stress which motivates us, anxiety can force us to do better, overcoming that fear of the unknown. Anxiety can also become so overwhelming that it becomes an impossibility, a paralysing fear which stops all action. Some recent research from Liverpool John Moores University would suggest that in some cases the fear of the unknown, that anxiety, can lead to significant mental health issues.
Where do you find yourself on the anxiety scale? A laid-back 1 or 2? Occasionally a 5 or 6, yet still functioning and able to push past the fear? Or do you hit an 8, 9 or 10, changing plans and not doing things because the fear is just to great? And are there patterns? Many people find that most of the time they’re in control and can manage the anxiety, and it only gets out of control in certain situations. Some are anxious about everything. Who, then, are you?
Anxiety is, though, a decision. Just as you can decide to be anxious, you can decide to be calm and unconcerned. It may be a real, anxiety-raising challenge to make that decision. And just imagine, right now that you are calm, you are in control and you are unconcerned. Think about all the things you are doing by being calm, in control and unconcerned. Imagine the richness of life. Create the opportunities and choices you now have. It will be life-changing, won’t it?
Ben Grant is an author and responsible for the Daily Overview, an Instagram account which started by showing aerial photographs of different places around the planet. The pictures are stunning on so many levels; above all else because of the perspective from which the pictures are taken, shedding new light on, and new understanding of, our world.
And perspective can play such an important role in our lives. It's easy to get caught up in our own models of the world, dividing life and experiences up into good, bad and indifferent, and a whole other range of terms and classifications. And, how often do we take the time to consider how that world looks through the eyes of another? What are we missing by only considering our own perspective? What might we want to do differently if we could take ourselves out of our own shoes and stand in those of another?
Just for a moment, then, take a step back. Think about a decision you recently made. Review that decision and ask yourself what others would have made of it. Put yourself in their shoes. Be bold. Challenge the decision from the perspectives of your best friend and your worst enemy. From your favourite superhero and your lifelong idol. From yourself 10 years ago and ten years from now. What would you do the same? And what would you do differently? And deep down, had you done this prior to making the decision, you know that you would have done something differently, wouldn’t you?