I have really, truly, grown to realize that the cure to crippling anxiety is to accept the nature of the now: to realize that each moment, no matter how important or insignificant, how beautiful or painful, is fleeting. All we have is the moment we are in. That is the one thing that we can know for sure. Once we recognize and accept this, our the thought of the future can turn from terrifying to thrilling, if we allow it to.
Let me first discuss anxiety as a whole. It has become a bit of an epidemic in our country, with the way we are so infatuated with the future – which let me just say, is not a bad thing by any means. Thinking about the future is a good thing if it is in a proactive way. Mental health has gained so much light and attention over the last few years, which is exactly what we need. However, sometimes I think we are also hypersensitive. Although these are the conversations that will create revolutions, we should not completely succumb to the idea that we are what are brains are telling us we are. Sometimes we need to overrride our thoughts and just fight those ideas to see true beauty in living.
We just need to learn that with this topic, and with our evolving society, mental health is not something that we must always place negative value on. In fact, particularly with anxiety, we should stop owning it as a parasite that destroys us, but rather a small fraction of our being that gives us edge. I like to view my anxiety as a gift: something that makes me especially empathetic, sensitive, bold, and outgoing. Without it, my own edges that define me as a human being would be a whole lot softer and more boring. While anxiety has been especially prevalent at certain times in my life, it is not who I am, it is only a part of me. I understand that not everyone knows what it is like to live each day with an anxious brain: to question decisions and have simple thoughts whirlwind into a web of “what ifs”, but I can tell you that we all will experience it at some point. And it can be the most uncomfortable thing in the world. I have learned that calming my anxiety (when it is not so pleasant) means focusing on breathing the air that is surrounding me at the current moment. The only truth that we are promised is that what we have, right now, is what we have right now. Everything is ephemeral.
Appreciating moments is something that I have learned is so essential to living a life of true meaning. I have found myself tearing up in a good way on a day-to-day basis, simply by recognizing the fragility of each day I am given and knowing in my whole soul that simply being alive on this earth is something to be grateful for. Being able to feel things is a gift. To see , touch, hear, smell. Beautiful intricacies are everywhere is we just open our minds and our hearts to them. I really am in love with living. I am now and forever grateful to know the beauty of the things we so often take for granted. Silence, as it is a time to reflect and appreciate. Laughter, as it is a time to unleash pure and combusting happiness. Nature, as it reminds us that everywhere we look, there is art that exists in the purest form, a metaphor that extraordinary miracles in this life can pop up naturally without us having to do anything. Sunrises and sunsets, because no matter what can happen between them, we know for certain that they will always be consistent. Human connection of any kind, because there is nothing more intense, or special, than the way that two humans wired with different DNA and experiencing different lives can somehow coexist and shape each others’ identities through compassion and interaction. What makes life worth living? Look around you and feel it for yourself. No one can shape your mindset but yourself, and even when we need the extra push to get out of bed or to calm our raging thoughts, when we feel the sunshine in our pores or laughter in our bellies, it makes all of the difference.