Increasing anxiety levels
Things are changing at a faster rate than they’ve ever changed before and people feel stressed out. Like they can’t keep up. When stress continues long-term it becomes anxiety. According to a recent study 18% of American adults report having an anxiety disorder.
In previous generations people would get their news or information from the daily paper or the evening news. It might not have been any less anxiety creating than it is now, but it was contained. People could take a break from it.
Now with so many of us connected to the internet nearly all the time with phones in our pockets and laptops/tablets in our bags, the barrage of information never ceases. Not just catastrophic stories about the planet’s imminent demise, but also unending, targeted ploys for our attention. The lack of downtime leaves us feeling overwhelmed and anxious.
We wake up anxiety ridden and carry that burden with us through the day – feeling like we have nowhere, or no way to release it. What we don’t realize it one of the best ways to get a break from the anxiety is to break from the devices that tie us to it.
Too much device time takes time away from other things
All of us have become dependent on our devices. They help us keep track of our lives and our friends. They’re a source of all information all the time. They also have a way of distracting/involving us to the exclusion of other aspects of our lives, like getting outside and doing more physical pursuits.
We spend so much time with our devices and online pursuits we neglect chances to spend time with other people. Sometimes we may forget it, but human beings are social creatures. We need to spend time with other people to feel connected to things outside of ourselves. That means in person time. Not time clicking thumbs ups on social networks time.
When we’re feeling anxious we’re pretty inward focused. By spending time with encouraging people we trust, we turn some of that inward focus outward. Listening to their words of guidance and resting in an accepting place we can focus on tangible things we can do to make positive changes in our lives. We regain some of the perspective we lose when we spend too much time focusing on things over which we have no control.
Give yourself reasons to feel confident
There’s a strong relationship between anxiety and confidence. When we feel more confident, we feel less anxious. Conversely when we feel more anxious we feel less confident. Do things everyday to help yourself feel confident. Cross something off your to-do list. Help someone else. Make strides towards your bigger project. Each small success is an indication of the control we actually do have over our lives. It is a blow against anxiety.
Reconnecting with the natural world
Sometimes we need an all-stop from technology. A full break from information. Nature is the great un-plugger. Get outside and move around. Go for a walk or a run in a natural environment Engage your senses. Notice the smells. Pay attention to the details of what you see. Touch the leaves of the trees. Immerse yourself in the moment you are in and all the positive things in it.
Feelings are contagious
As we said earlier, humans are social creatures. We feed off each other’s energy and feelings. So much so, that feelings and states of being are contagious. Anxiety is socially contagious. If you are around anxious people you will become more anxious. If you are around confident people your level of confidence will go up.
The company you keep will partially determine how you feel. If you are with people who are supportive or encouraging or positive you will become more positive yourself. To keep your own anxiety at bay, limit your time with anxious people.