Are You Getting Derailed by Generalized Anxiety?

by Eric Disco
Aug 15

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I’ve had a relatively good day.

Got up early in the morning to work out. Felt refreshed and relaxed during the day.

At 630, I meet up with my friend. We are going to hit the happy hour bars in New York City.

We meet up in the Barnes and Noble cafe. We chat a bit. Then we take a walk around Barnes and Noble.

That’s when I notice it: Anxiety.

My breathing becomes stilted and shallow. I feel a tightness in my chest and too much adrenaline in my stomach.

But it’s not approach anxiety. There are no women around to approach. It’s generalized anxiety.

Generalized anxiety is approach anxiety’s cousin. It’s an anxiety that you get just going about your day, doing things that normally don’t give you anxiety.

You may feel it in the morning while cooking breakfast. Or in the afternoon at work.

It can make you feel like not interacting with people. It can make you feel like going home. It can make you feel like having a few stiff drinks. (That’s a big reason people like to drink: They don’t feel anxiety while drunk.)

The fact that I’m feeling anxiety is not the worst thing in the world. In fact, it’s okay. It happens from time to time to everybody.

Feeling generalized anxiety from time to time is not an indicator of problems.

What you do when you feel the anxiety is what’s important.

If I am not consciously aware of the fact that I have anxiety, I get myself into trouble. My brain–on its own–starts to search for the cause of the anxiety.

Maybe I am not as far along in life as I would like to be. My sister has a husband and two kids already, and I’m not even married.

I’m not as rich as I want to be. My best friend already has enough money to retire, and I can’t even quit my day job.

My brain may even start to focus on smaller worries, like whether I paid the electric bill on time.

Or whether I missed an important opportunity with a girl.

And now, I am focused on this worry. I start to think about that issue.

I wrestle with it in my mind. That feeling of anxiety has given birth to some tumultuous thoughts.

Pretty soon, I’m feeling even more anxiety.

In reality, this anxiety I’m feeling may have stemmed from something completely different. It may not even be a real “problem” per se.

Maybe I just drank too much coffee. Or maybe I drank too much alcohol last night. Getting drunk has been known to leave me with a hangover of generalized anxiety.

Whatever the cause may be, this feeling comes and goes regardless of my real life problems.

When you’re not conscious of it, anxiety can easily shift your focus from the good things in your life to what is missing from your life.

There is always, always, always something to worry about, no matter how great your life is going. If you are continuously focused on what’s wrong, it can be very difficult to enjoy life and take the action you want to take.

If I am aware of this feeling right when it happens, I stop mentally searching for a cause on which to pin that feeling.


posted in Acceptance

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