The Modern World Causes Anxiety. Here’s How To Fight Back
When you think about it, it seems a little strange that so many people in the modern world have continual feelings of anxiety. Our society’s wealth means that we’re likely to live much longer than we ever did in the past, and we have materially abundant lives. That’s more than most people got throughout history! And yet, there’s an ongoing anxiety epidemic. For whatever reason, people can’t shut down their minds and enjoy being present.
In the past, things were very different. People didn’t know whether they were going to survive another day. Wild animals were chasing them. And they had no idea what disease was, let alone how to cure it. It must have been genuinely terrifying. Feelings of panic and helplessness must have wracked entire populations. How did they survive?
What you have to remember here is that our anxiety mechanisms are ancient. Context and rationality don’t matter. You can logically tell yourself that you’re safe all day long and that tomorrow’s work presentation will not kill you. But the basic biology at the center of your brain conspires against you. It says that uncomfortable situations in your life are mortal threats because it can’t tell the difference. And that leaves you panicked – even when the rational part of your mind knows that there are no real dangers.
The modern world is full of triggers that provoke our ancient anxiety centers in the brain. Worse still, many of these are chronic, meaning that they don’t go away. Our ancestors would have faced transient stress and anxiety, which led them to avoid predators or dangerous landscape features. But that’s not the case in our lives. Our concerns almost always come from ongoing issues in our lives.
So how does the modern world cause anxiety? And what can you do to fight back?
Stop Feeling Like You Always Have To Be Available For Work
Many people feel like they should always be “on” when it comes to their work. They’re continually checking their phones to see if their boss has contacted them. And they can never relax, even when they’re getting ready for bed.
Humans need to experience both struggle and relaxation. If you spend all your day relaxing, you become bored, restless, and desperate to do something. By contrast, if you spend all your time exerting mental and physical energy, you become exhausted, and eventually, your mind begins to dread it.
Our modern work culture, therefore, can be toxic. If you always have to check in with the office, you can never really switch off and get that recovery you need.
Here’s the solution: speak honestly with your boss. Point out the folly of having to be contactable all day and night. It doesn’t work for you and, therefore, it doesn’t work for them. You need to be at your best. And that requires having genuine “downtime.”
Stop Spending Time On Social Media
Some of us are naturally gregarious people. We enjoy the company of others and want to communicate with them as much as possible.
Unfortunately, social media has a dark side. Because it allows other people to continually share curated images of the best aspects of their lives, it can evoke feelings of jealousy in us. We feel like we should be on vacation all the time or have the perfect partners since that’s what it seems like other people have.
If you have these feelings, remember that social media is an illusion. Everyone is putting their best foot forward. Nobody’s life is perfect, and everyone has issues, just like you.
Stop Comparing Yourself To Impossible Standards Of Beauty In The Media
With hard work, the vast majority of people can look good. But achieving the standards you see in the media is next to impossible.
Believing that you have to live up to these ideals is enough to provoke you to buy CBD oil to quell your anxiety. But it’s not realistic. First, you’re always looking at the top one percent of attractive people. These people are naturally stunning – they got lucky.
Second, almost all the images you see are airbrushed and filtered. People don’t look perfect in real life – even catwalk models. Just like you, they have flaws.
The trick here is to see media advertising for what it is – a highly edited form of art. Companies want to show you something idealistic, not realistic. So it is only natural for them to display the most beautiful things that they can. You shouldn’t take them seriously.
Humans need to experience both struggle and relaxation. If you spend all your day relaxing, you become bored, restless, and desperate to do something. By contrast, if you spend all your time exerting mental and physical energy.
You literally need to believe in yourself and practice contentment. Do you believe in living up to these ideals or follow your path? Drop me a line as always.