How To Deal With Anxiety While Moving On With Life

How To Deal With Anxiety While Moving On With Life

Anxiety isn’t stirred by aimlessness; rather, it’s our hesitancy to act in the midst of uncertainty that leaves us fearful

Somi DasUpdated: Saturday, January 27, 2024, 05:04 PM IST
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Pic: Freepik

Ever found yourself deep in the YouTube rabbit hole, stumbling upon videos that make you ponder life’s mysteries? Recently, I experienced one of those moments, immersing myself in the vast ocean of psychological insights. A particular perspective, delicately hinted at by the controversial yet celebrated public figure, Jordan Peterson, prompted me to question the intricate dance between aimlessness, action, and the elusive spectre of anxiety.

Does aimlessness truly lead to anxiety? I posit that it’s not the absence of aim but the inertia, the reluctance to take an action in the face of uncertainty, that often fuels the anxiety.

Anxiety persists as long as one is not ready to act, even in the absence of clarity. Figuring out life’s grand purpose isn’t as simple as selecting the next Netflix show; it’s a messy, unpredictable journey— a series of trial and error, a meandering path toward self-discovery. Knowing your aim doesn’t necessarily evoke positive emotion; it’s about actively engaging, sometimes in endeavours you’d rather avoid, to discover your passions.

The subtle twist here is that anxiety isn’t just the sidekick of aimlessness; it’s the ghost that creeps in when you choose inaction amidst uncertainty. The unwillingness to act in uncertainty and bet on yourself to figure it out along the way is what causes anxiety. Picture standing at a crossroads, surrounded by a thick fog of unknowns. Instead of forging ahead, you freeze, and there it is — anxiety, patiently waiting in the shadows.

By the way, there is no stopping anxiety; there’s no overcoming it. It’s about keeping it in the background and doing things despite the anxiety, a somber truth. Peace isn’t solely found in knowing your destination; it’s in the journey, in the act of doing things even when the path is hazy. Positive emotion stems from cultivating deep connections with people and creating a secure and loving environment. Consider aim as the distant shore and action as the vessel; you may not have a detailed map, but setting sail often brings unexpected discoveries.

Certainly, not everyone can instantly pinpoint their life’s calling and sprint towards it like a superhero. People take time, and that’s perfectly okay. What’s less okay is standing still, expecting a lightning bolt of clarity to strike you. Life’s not a scripted movie; it’s an improv gig where action is your best cue.

In essence, my philosophy revolves around action. It’s about nudging yourself into motion, even when wandering in the labyrinth of aimlessness. Action becomes the torch in the dark, guiding you through twists and turns. It might get messy; it might feel like a blindfolded dance, but therein lies the beauty of it all.

In conclusion, while some voices in the vast echo chamber of wisdom emphasise aimlessness as the enemy, I whisper a different tune. Anxiety isn’t solely a consequence of lacking a clear goal; it often taps its fingers impatiently when you hesitate to take a step. So, here’s to embracing the enigma, making mistakes, and finding clarity not by standing still but by waltzing through uncertainties, because life’s grandest adventures are seldom scripted. Keep moving, keep trying, keep doing even in the face of uncertainty. Sometimes, not knowing what you must do comes along once you’ve figured out what you don’t want to do. And to do that, you must act now.

(The writer is a mental health and behavioural sciences columnist, conducts art therapy workshops and provides personality development sessions for young adults. She can be found @the_millennial_pilgrim on Instagram and Twitter)

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