Why is our culture so caught up in anxiety? This is a question I am asking myself as a counsellor because the overall rate of anxiety is rising at an alarming rate, even for children. So, I thought it might be helpful to sift through some ideas about possible reasons and then list some possible practices to quiet our systems to a more manageable level.
- Pace of life is faster than the natural pace of mind & body
- Information overload
- Living mindlessly rather than mindfully
- Paradox of choice: both freeing and oppressive
- Deeply attracted to our feel-good chemicals: we are wired & tired & busy
- Bombarded with troubling societal and global issues
- Fluidity & ambiguity in role formation (gender, family, parenting)
- Temporary nature of our work
- Pervasive & persistent sense of loneliness & isolation
- Clamor of competing voices trying to convince us of something
- Inhabit our selves & our spaces (paying attention to our sensory information and our internal experience)
- Embodied presence (being truly present in the moment—not anchored in the past or future—and aware to our external experiences with the world and with people)
- Establish values & beliefs and working them out in our lives (these are the things that give us meaning and purpose)
- Establish rhythms & rituals (patterns of being and belonging that ease the pressure points)
- Orient ourselves toward health and healthy changes (Do you want to be well? If so, what does wellness look like for you?)
- Learn how to be comfortable in both solitude and community
- Create space for spirituality in our lives and in our stories (mystery & miracles—the things that are beautiful & good & working well)
- Ask better questions as a sacred act (getting unstuck from our ‘Why’ questions and moving into our ‘What’ and ‘How’ questions.
- Unplug from the tech world for periods of time—and create some ‘high touch’ activities (those daily, creative and restorative practices, such as hobbies, hiking, or hilarity)
- Create something (music, art, a new building…anything really)
Well, this list is a bit brief, for sure, but I think it’s enough to get anyone started on a different life trajectory. Remember, it’s the difference (any small change) that makes a difference and that practices are for practicing, not perfecting.
Peace to all.