When I’m anxious or afraid, it has a noticeable effect on how I show up in the world – I do less of it.
Fear is a paralysing force; I tend to contract or retreat from the world and others when anxious.
I wilt a little, and the worst thing is it becomes a habit. It’s the same with other emotions like anger and frustration; the rage and fury force me to turn inwards and deal with the inner turmoil.
It’s hard to see a way ahead clouded with such fear or fury. I avoid working on projects I know are important because the emotional storm is such a problem I can’t ignore it. The fear becomes a distraction from work.
Worse still, my attitude towards life is altered, expectations are lowered, pessimism sets in, passion and enthusiasm wane. Lassitude is the norm as excuses arise and procrastination sets in. At worst, it becomes a self-pitying voice in my head.
‘We seem to want the certainty of failure more than the uncertainty of success.’
Such mental lousy weather makes it difficult to find connections and do the I enjoy or find meaningful.
The real lockdown is when you’re afraid to go forward, risking mistakes and rejection coupled with the fear of staying the same, of regret.
Caught between these two forces, the result is paralysis. Stagnation is the real problem, and fear is the villain.
Any action taken becomes a half-hearted attempt. A way to convince yourself you’re trying, but the chances of success are unlikely, failure reinforces the attitude that you don’t deserve success.
All this turmoil and retreat makes for a life filled with alone time. Such lack of connection and the feeling of struggle can dip me into a short term depressed state.
The answer lies in changing the habit of retreat; instead of contracting, expand. Reach out to others and talk. Create something about your feelings, write, make art and then share it.
Changing bad habits into good ones is to adopt a skilful means of living, a lifestyle that helps you flourish and achieve.
In our day to day lives, neurotics like myself can spend too much time in their head because it becomes the place we turn to when troubled or upset. The solution may be to turn more outwards and seek answers by connecting to others.