THE ANXIETY TRADE-OFF
COSTS VERSUS THE BENEFITS OF "RELIEF" AND DISTRACTION
THE GREATEST COST OF ALL?
Draft, you can get the key points
Anxiety keeps us down in the weeds of life, unable to rise to a higher perspective where we can be objective and marshal our resources to make those crucial decisions that will most direct and impact our lives! Even the most intelligent anxious person fails to use the higher brain to make the higher decisions that will most beneficially cause a great life - and then he/she is left wondering why he/she hasn't progressed further in life. Well, this effect of anxiety is the reason. I suggest you fix it as soon as possible! (The activities in using the higher brain are listed in Quadrant II, of the four activity-productivity quadrants. The anxious person is busy, trapped in the other three quadrants.) The loss of productive hours from having to seek "relief" from anxiety, either completely or by suppressing the feeling, is huge, yet we often forget about the huge losses of productivity resulting from not using our "productive hours" well, with huge declines in our efficiency-effectiveness ratio. If we but shifted the latter, we would have so much time left over that we could do anything we wanted to do and have no anxiety.
The benefits of anxiety are only based on illusional (delusional) beliefs of there being benefits, beliefs that the constant vigilance and review have protective value. They do not. Correcting that belief is essential to freeing up one's emotional entanglement and dysfunction.
THE TIME AND LIFE COST OF ANXIETY
You (and I) do things to cause and/or not alleviate our anxiety, with the end result being that we pay a high cost in time and in psychology - a cost that we do not have to incur, if we do a bit of strategizing.
At times, it seems to be worth it to get the payoff from an activity that later has costs.
But, it's not.
The cost is, instead, far too great - in happiness, lost productivity, lost payoffs, our health...
We need to, instead, approach this from looking at the cause and not just the symptom/effect - or we will suffer the consquences and the costs of having to relieve the symptoms over and over and over and over and over... (Read Cause And Effect.)
BESIDES NOT FEELING SO GOOD, ANXIETY HAS MANY COSTS
Of course, you cannot feel as good with too much cortisol circulating in your system.
And your brain will be "turned down", so that your resources can be used to restore balance in the anxious, tense, fear-run body and mind. You'll make worse decisions, which will in turn, have a cost in terms of bad payoffs AND more anxiety. You will be less able to pay attention and to notice what is really going on.
You won't be able to do as much, because the anxiety takes up too much of your pipeline/bandwidth of thinking and of energy. You'll be distracted, off path, trying to repair the undefined problems and vague uneasy feelings.
And you'll be spending time "dropping out", in a sense, because you will be seeking relief from your anxiety. To "escape" you will eat foods to comfort you (for a short term effect, which will cause a drop or a dullness soon afterwards) and you will go numb in some ways, sometimes being zombie like, turning into Pokeyman or El Blobbo, living in "suspended animation" (not living life!) - all in order to handle anxiety feelings.
THE RECYCLED SIGNAL
Anxiety signals the mind that things are out of balance and that you are less capable of surviving, so the body and mind have to go into a mode to motivate you to do what is necessary to restore good survival ability. But the longer we allow anxiety to be around, the more the mind is locked into uncertainty, soon entering a quasi-panic mode of living.
THE PHYSICAL COST
Cortisol, overeating, lack of moving, stressing the body - all have incredible costs to the body, including cancer, heart disease, bad feeling later years (not to speak of some now), and the loss of a decade of a good life (at least). And when our bodies decline further in functionality, our ability to produce what we want in life also declines.
MY EXPERIENCE AND THE "CUES"
When I get into a low state of energy and don't feel like doing much or facing much, I go into a kind of lethargic anxiety state, one that I must turn off, to relieve the "bad feeling" and the feeling of danger sent to my mind about my non-ability to survive - I don't know what to do - and I can't even "think". Thinking takes too much energy, but...
To the rescue! Along comes Spider Solitaire (my experience), which will absorb my attention so I can't think (much) about the anxieties. It's just challenging enough to give me a little shot of dopamine (like a rat pressing a lever) to keep me involved - sometimes for 12 hours at a shot, but always compelling enough for several hours, with no ability to stop at a few tension-relieving games for distraction.
As with all bad habits, I've got to use the tools for changing "bad" behaviors:
Get out of the "low energy state", where I am in a "weakened state" and less capable ("fatigue makes cowards of us all"). Use the Instant Energy From Something Good sheet.
Script what I will do (and say) when the cue (the environment, a state, a mood, a time of the day, an event) occurs (it will!).
BUT...HANDLING THE SYMPTOMS IS NOT THE CURE!
Willpower, self control, self discipline - all wear down into a lower level in our tanks. The myth of being able to always be powerful and strong is a bunch of bullbleep. As human beings things occur physically and mechanically in our bodies and minds to limit us. It is proven that making alot of decisions, using alot of thinking power, and losing energy will all deplete our reserves of willpower, to the point that if we do not have pre-made decisions (including a pre-decided task for each time period of the day), we will be operating in dysfunctional ways.
If I don't "cure" the cause of the symptoms, I am forever doomed to keep on repeating the problems, the feelings, and the dysfunctional behaviors. Yes, I will still need some coping strategies for symptoms at times, but I will build up strength and reduce my anxiety circle so much that I will stop living with a "background noise" of anxiety.
For that, I need to implement the strategies in Rx For Anxiety - and keep doing them until I reach the criteria of seldom being anxious (except in highly important activities where it is an important motivator and experiencing virtually no stress all day. Anxiety is not an acceptable state!
THE TIME IT TAKES TO CONQUER ANXIETY HAS MANY TIMES MORE OF A PAYOFF THAN THE COST!
Ignoring for the moment the psychological costs, add up the time we spend doing useless, personally unrewarding and unsatisfying behaviors and you'll see that you are wasting a huge portion of your life:
TV time (beyond a high interest 1/2 to 1 hour): 20 hours a week
Screensucking (getting sucked in by a screen,
emails, browsing) 10 hours
Addictions (drinking and being stupid, computer
games...) 10 hours
Of course, your exact amount will differ, but this is in the range for most people. And of course the loss of time and what could have been done with it has a high cost in reduced payoffs WHILE at the same time serving to further increase your lack of confidence in yourself to pull through well in life, which further spirals up the anxiety.
YOU CAN'T AFFORD NOT TO PACE AND PAUSE
I'll just do this one more thing, even though it stresses me.
I'll cram in one more email, do something extra...instead of relaxing and breathing.
I have to keep running or I'll fall further behind (aka running on the treadmill of life).
Unsettle the body and the mind and you'll increase the anxiety tendency quotient by...
It's the great congestion of the mind. It fills up a good portion of the pipeline/bandwidth available for thinking and living and lowers the ability to make good decisions - and it impairs the future ability to experience life as well.
It causes procrastination - I can't stand anyt more anxiety, so I need to not take this thing on, I just can't stand the pressure or the boredom....
I "escape" into living at the zombie level (at the El Blobbo level), in "suspended animation" (aka "not living life).
I numb out...
I become frantic, not even taking a break, driven by some vague emotional force...
I experience free floating, get tired, my body constantly has to deal with the danger signal while it is constantly trying to get back to functioning balance, devoting resources that take away from resources that can be used valuably to forward one's life instead.
WHAT IS ANXIETY? DO YOU WANT TO CONTINUE IT?
What is anxiety? uncertainty, and there is danger in "not knowing" , threatens life survival.
BUT I CAN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. I'M STUCK WITH IT.
You can't become a highly "life productive" person if you have more than e a low level of anxiety - it is a myth to believe you can be, as the "machine" will give way somehow, leaving you somewhere in the lower productivity range in living life.
If you are truly unable to direct and control yourself, then use a program that has proven results, where you are immersed in the process with full assistance and direction, guided through the whole process. Such a program (the only one I've found in my considerable searching) is The Hoffman Institute week long program. Actually, I'd recommend the program for consideration by any human being at any level as it will sharpen and deepen your understanding of how humans work and how to re-form beliefs into what is true and workable. Indeed, it is invaluable.