We live fast and look for compensatory solutions; then we resort to yoga, meditation and other times to psychotropic drugs.
But… Why not get rid of the great anxiety? Well, it’s clear that there are healthy practices, but they often only work as an antidote. I will tell you why.
Anxiety as a social phenomenon
Today we live in the age of speed, without stopping to see what is happening inside of us. The Spanish Medicines Agency (AEMPS) confirms that 11% of the Spanish population consumes anxiolytics. Many other people use antidotes to find a short-term solution to relieve anxiety and stress. There are countless recommendations for reducing anxiety. We tend to seek out external responses and compensatory practices to lessen the consequences of uncomfortable anxiety. But, by the way, that’s not the way and I’ll tell you what they never told you.
The Fallacy of Fighting Anxiety as the Great Enemy
When we feel high anxiety we tend to think we need more time for rest, vacation, yoga, or meditation. We often search for a series of tips to “fight anxiety” like an enemy and we find a few actions that seem to be the perfect antidote:
- Practice relaxation exercises: mindfulness, meditation, breathing, yoga.
- Consider natural remedies: supplements, infusions, herbs, oils.
- Diets with special nutrients.
- Light a candle and relax.
- Spend time outdoors, with your friends, with a pet.
- Receive a body massage, spa day.
- Take a weekend, vacation, sleep more.
We are looking for ways to relieve anxiety, reduce it, calm it, confront it, control it and even fight it to eliminate it. Start with a lot of hope we start with new routines: yoga classes, a new meditation, etc.
However, we have to leave work in a hurry to go to yoga class, we can’t concentrate on meditation because ideas are racing through our heads, we light the candles but the cell phone keeps ringing. And then you say to yourself: I’m going to have a stressful day so I’m going to have to disconnect for at least an hour. Even so, the anxiety remains high and you fight against it to compensate. Does that sound like something to you?
But have you noticed that anxiety is the high voltage in the body that tells you that you need to make a change instead of fighting it as if that was the real problem?
The practices that relax us are neither good nor bad in themselves. Later you will find out when they are an antidote and when a healthy habit.
Why are we looking for antidotes?
An antidote is something whose function is to counteract the effects of a toxin. Here I call an antidote the practices we use to prevent the adverse effects of high toxic anxiety.
Have you wondered why we seek almost magical answers to avoid suffering from high anxiety? I’ll give you a few of the many possible answers:
- We just do something to fight anxiety and free ourselves from guilt.
- We trick ourselves into thinking that we are leading a healthy life and this reassures us
- It is difficult for us to look within, to know ourselves and to know what we need.
- We seek more to compensate than to change the causes that generate anxiety.
- Because we are looking for recipes to follow and armed answers valid for all.
- Because we adopt the ideal of simply being happy and rejecting unpleasant emotions.
- It is more difficult for us to build ourselves an artisan lifestyle.
then, we stick to the easy: following a recipe, advice, the new fashion, fighting not to change. It also happens that it is easier for us to repair than to change. For example, we prefer to take a digestive after an excessive meal than to limit the quantity we need to eat.
So whatever we do to mitigate or fix, unfortunately it’s a failed solution in the medium and long term.
Healthy habit or antidote?
As we said, the practices that relax us are neither good nor bad in themselves. Now you will find out when they are an antidote and when a healthy habit.
You will now wonder… How do you know if the yoga you’re doing right now is an antidote or a healthy routine? For example, tell me if you run in class, if you think about what you have to do in class, if you identify several sources of stress in your day. If the answer is yes, then yoga will be an antidote. Here, yoga is not bad as it at least alleviates anxiety, but it is not the cure and it is not an indicator of a good life.
On the other hand, if you take your time going to yoga class, enjoy the ride, you focus on the activity. Add to that: proper time management, demand regulation, among other health indicators, here it is possible that yoga is part of a healthy life.
So, to know if it’s a healthy habit or an antidote, the secret is revealed when you ask these questions:
- What are you doing it for?
- How do you do?
- Is it part of a balanced lifestyle?
find the balance
When anxiety is very intense and lasts for a long time, we can get sick. There are various mental illnesses, from panic disorder to phobias or anxiety attacks. Diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, among others, are also common.
So seek balance in the realm of your behaviors, emotions, and actions so that anxiety can find its way in healthy amounts. Keep in mind:
- Don’t use an activity as an antidote because it’s a failed solution. This same activity as part of a balanced life is health.
- You are not looking to lessen the anxiety or make its symptoms more bearable.
- Seek to make changes so that anxiety is rediscovered in its proper measure as a driver of your actions.
Remember: do not naturalize high anxiety. You don’t justify the bad life. Get to know yourself and make the necessary changes. Since we can’t always do it alone, consider having a professional guide to find the most effective ways to make the changes you need to live life to the fullest and maximize your well-being.