The Cure to Anxiety
Recently, I’ve been feeling anxious and difficult to manage my emotion as I am swamped with a lot of works. Besides, this whole pandemic thing seems doesn’t get any better, leaving me with a feeling in the trap. I used to destress by going to the mall, eat great food, and traveling, but for now, it’s definitely hard for me to do all those things. I need to find serenity and happiness only at home. It is really challenging. Now, my home is the only go-to place for me to work, study, have fun, chill, and relax. What a combo.
Feeling endless tired and messed up, I decided to find epiphany from books. I browsed some books to cure my anxiety and I came across a book named “Don’t Feed the Monkey Mind” by Jennifer Shannon. Jennifer is a psychologist specializing in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for anxiety. Through this book, she shared some insights and practical methods to cure the anxiety and I found it really helpful for me to overcome my anxiety.
Here is the takeaway from the book that I would like to highlight:
It’s okay if you aren’t sure about your future / you are not perfect / you can’t make everyone happy
We are living in a world that telling us that we should have a clear plan and goal for our life. We need to be certain about what we aspire to be and what we are going to do with our life. But, the fact is we don’t have to. The reason is everything around us is going to change anyway because they are all temporary. The map that we have carefully planned can change in a split second as humans have no power to control their lives. Again, the only certainty is uncertainty.
Striving for perfection is great. But it is also a double-edged sword because we are also our greatest critic. It happens to me a lot to the extend I’m not capable to love myself and accept my flaws. However, reading this book reminds me that it is okay to make mistakes. Failure is the greatest teacher, so actually, when we fail, we learn.
There was a time when I thought I want to make everyone happy. It feels right to make my parents happy and proud. I should make my partner happy and feeling loved. I should make my boss satisfied with my work. There is nothing wrong with that clause tho. However, we couldn’t make others happy if we aren’t happy. Instead, focus on ourselves first, then others. Cultivate happiness and finding peace within ourselves, then we can help others to feel happy and loved.
Intolerance of uncertainty
Those are three things Jennifer called Monkey Mind and she taught us in this book not to feed them. So, what should we do? Here is my summary from the books:
Identify your anxiety cycle
Take a moment to reflect on those questions:
- What am I afraid for?
- What’s the worst thing that could happen if this comes true?
For instance, one of my biggest fears is to appear incompetent at work. I’m afraid I’m going to fail and make everyone disappointed. Turns out, my boss is supportive and value failures as the way to learn. That realization gives me more courage to explore different solutions for business problems and makes me less hesitant to make failures.
Breaking the Cycle
We can break the cycle by changing our assumption from:
- I must be certain → I’m willing to be uncertain
- I must be perfect → I can make mistakes
- I’m responsible for everything → I’m responsible for myself
Once we have built that foundation, then we implement the expansive strategy by accepting the negative feelings (pain) aroused within ourselves. The basic meditation technique, such as breathing will come in handy to teach us to be more mindful of the sensation and feelings we feel towards the pain response. We teach ourselves to observe the feeling when we feel pain because it will increase our self-awareness toward our own emotions.
There are more practical tips that Jennifer has shared in this book and I thought it would be great to check it all by yourself. To conclude, I would definitely recommend this book to everyone who is currently trying to conquer their anxiety and win the battle to find tranquility. Good luck!