Rethinking Anxiety

Anxiety

The other day I was watching National Geographic. The documentaries are so much better in details and color now, than in the days that Jacques Cousteau was still the number one. It made me again realize how much further we got as a whole in filming animals in their habitat. Anyway..

This was about the life of a mouse, in the wild. Nothing special on first sight, yet what a constant danger hit the mouse. When underground, a snake was trying to catch him. While running though the fields a big bird of prey wanted him for lunch. And after that, there was a bunch of wild horses that almost crushed him. Heavy rain nearly drowned him and much more mayhem was being poured down on him.

Being a mouse is not an easy task, there is danger around every corner. Why didn’t he stress out? Blessed are we humans in our mostly civilized environment. We can be relaxed. No need to watch over our backs, in the sky to be eaten.

And yet we are hardly relaxed. Did you ever wake up and immediately start beating yourself up on all the things you need to do, did not do, or all the people who got in your way? What is I got sick? What if we cannot pay the rent..? What if…?
Common signs of anxiety. I have mostly when I wake up. Some might have it before going to sleep and some wake up in the middle of the night with these feelings.

The mouse needs to be alert and scanning his environment for danger. It is an instinct. His life depends on it pretty clearly.
What if we humans have the same instinct still working. Scanning our life for danger, part of our brain looking for what can go wrong, scaring ourselves with horrible thoughts of disasters that might happen in the nearby future.
It might just be that our brain wants to warn us of risk and wants the other part to think about unrisking our fears.
As soon as I saw my anxiety mornings as a sign of warning, not to panic, but to do a risk assessment, things cleared.
The paralyzing thoughts, became guides. It helps seeing it this way.

Luckily we do not have to run like the mouse. But our instinct might still be on the lookout for us.

Thanks to Nat Geo for the picture

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