First step is to recognize the feeling. What is it that you actually feeling?
Different feelings require different approaches, therefore it is important that you give it a proper label so you can deal with it accordingly. There are more than 27 feelings humans can experience, however, most of us are aware of only a few. You got to develop your vocabulary for each feeling and emotion.
According to “Epidemiology of anxiety disorders in the 21st century” anxiety disorders affect up to 33.7% of the population. It is called the “Disease of the 21st Century” and it stands alongside another leading disorder – depression. Interestingly it’s becoming more and more common among youth.
Millennials are a generation of people that were born between 1981-1996 (22-37 years old). We were born with cell phones and computers in our hands. We were born during a technological explosion that made the Earth spin faster. While our parents were gone at work all the time, technology raised us. This generation is a different breed.
The technological boom opened a door into a new world – the world of information. The speed of life has increased dramatically. Nowadays we see, learn and experience more in one day than people did in months or even years before. The hardware in your cell phone is so much different than it was a year ago or even a month ago, however your hardware, the brain, stayed the same. Our human hardware capabilities are simply not keeping up with technology and information that is made available to us. We are drinking from the firehose.
Unlike computer parts, we can’t replace outdated, slow or malfunctioning equipment with a new, better and faster one. Your brain is something you can not replace and you are stuck with. Luckily for you, the hardware
You’re tired of your mind constantly racing. You’re sick of being worried and anxious most of the time. Meditation, breathing techniques, exercise – it all helps to relieve the symptoms, but only for so long. You blame your mind and wish that it can stop thinking, allowing you to just catch a breath and enjoy life. The problem is that you work AGAINST your mind, trying to calm it down. You essentially starve your mind on its food, it’s fuel – the challenge, the mental tasks to solve. You can diet only for so long until you brake into overeating on everything you can possibly get. The harder you try to calm your mind, the hungrier it gets. Don’t fight with your mind, but make a partnership with it. You feed it with information and give it work to do and in return, it gives you a sense of accomplishment, peace and focus.
When you feel anxious, recognize the feeling and welcome it.
Surprise it by saying Hi! Observe what it will do next: “Well… hello anxiety, hello stress! It hasn’t been long since you were here. What is your plan for today? How hard do you plan on hitting me? Common, let’s do it and get over with”
Look at it with irony. Realize its ridiculousness.
Go back in time to your college years. Do you remember how you felt right after a challenging exam or particularly hard class, on a way back to your dorm? Do you remember feeling exhausted mentally? I bet you felt drained, after just a few minutes of hard mental work, where you were required to memorize something or resolve a difficult mathematical equation.
I am sure the only thing you were thinking at that moment was your soft, warm bed. Your mind wasn’t racing anymore, it wasn’t making you feel anxious. Your mind exhausted its energy on the cognitive task you were trying to solve.
The human body energy balance equation states that if you consume more energy than you expend, your body stores the excess as fat. It’s quite simple: eat more than you need – gain weight. Every person, depending on one’s lifestyle, genes, age, weight etc. has different energy requirements. The same goes for the brain…
Mental energy balance
Every person is born with different hardware – the brain. Someone is less smart, someone is more. Therefore every person’s brain energy requirements are different.
Did you know that the brain is the most energy-demanding organ in a human body, consuming up to 20% of your body’s energy?
Just like any organ in your body, you can’t stop your brain from working. If you won’t feed it with a task to solve, if you don’t utilize its capacity, it begins to wonder. It will start bringing up memories from the past, reminding you of that stupid comment you made during a meeting with your boss. It will begin creating events and scenarios in future, where things go sideways, causing you to worry about the staff that most likely will never happen.
Anxiety is a waste product of an excess of mental energy
Unchallenged brain – crazy brain
In order to gain control over your brain, you need to put it to work. You need to channel it’s energy to solving a task that will benefit you. The key here is to pick a task that will truly challenge you, not an easy one. Once the scope of cognitive work is outlined, unleash your brain on it. Exhaust its energy in a productive way that doesn’t harm you, but serves.
When the task is complete or you feel that you have no energy to continue, notice how you feel. Particularly pay attention to the feelings of anxiety and worry. You might find your mind being calm and still. You will feel tired, but relaxed. Remember this sense of inner pacification and link it to the hard mental work. This is your reward, enjoy it.
Physiological causes can be dealt with chemical and physical interventions. The best practice it to begin with natural ways of changing your state: