Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, I NEVER heard the words anxiety or stress used in conversation. I’m sure there was some but the pace of life was definitely different than it is today. It seems that life was just life and people dealt with it. There was a different texture to people then. The rhythm of daily life was slower. There were 3 channels on the TV and the news that you heard was very low-impact.
I don’t ever remember anyone saying how stressed out they were. None of my friends were on anti-depressants or anxiety meds. We didn’t see a therapist or go to counseling. Although I’m sure that would’ve been helpful at times! I just think we didn’t know any different. Anxiety wasn’t a “thing” and wasn’t discussed.
Anxiety & Tech
I didn’t use a computer until the 5th grade and didn’t even have a cell phone until college! To you younger folks that probably sounds very quaint and nostalgic even. But there’s a part of me that is actually thankful I went through my childhood and certainly adolescence without EVERYTHING being documented for the world to see. I thank God all my teenage stupidity didn’t go viral. Lol! Now that would’ve caused some anxiety!
We didn’t have the concept of knowing what everyone else was doing or what they had. The only people we compared ourselves to were in our small country school. And we were all in the same economic boat so you didn’t have too much to feel insecure about. No one was having MTV style “Sweet Sixteen” parties, not even close!
In the days before social media, my friends and I didn’t know anything about plastic surgery. We
probably didn’t even know anyone who had ever had it. We weren’t getting boob jobs for graduation. Now we definitely cared about our appearance but it was more about hair and makeup not our noses and inner thighs.
Feeling Safe in the World
I admit that I grew up in a bubble of sorts. A small, rural town in Arkansas where my family had been for generations. I don’t remember experiencing crime, violence or hatred. My teachers knew who my parents and grandparents were and they looked after us like we were their own kids. I remember one of my teachers saw me talking to a boy that probably didn’t have my best interest in mind and my teacher quickly had me come inside the building. I felt safe and protected. We didn’t EVER worry about a tragedy happening at our school. That wasn’t something we had ever heard of. The worst tragedy we faced was what was for lunch in the cafeteria.
It is only now when I reflect back do I realize how lucky I was to not have fear of the world around me. I feel sadness for the kids today who have fear of a simple thing such as going to school.
Busyness as “Badge of Honor”
Just exactly when did busyness become a “badge of honor?” We certainly had responsibilities and plenty of activities when I was growing up but I don’t feel it was so “serious” as it is now. If things got done than great, but if not, there’s always tomorrow. There’s an urgency to life in our culture. What exactly are we all trying so desperately to accomplish?
When I ask my clients what they have going on for the weekend most of them rattle off about 5-10 things they’ll be doing. Birthday parties, sports commitments, work commitments, charity events, and on and on it goes. I almost feel embarrassed when they ask me and I say “I’m not sure yet.”
It’s not that these aren’t worthy and important things to be doing. I don’t advocate we all sit home and stare at the cat all day. I just pose the question, how much of it is truly adding value to the world and how much is just to fill a void? And what is the price to all the busyness? There is always a price.
Answers to an Anxiety Culture
Are there answers to all these different elements of life in our culture? The invasive technology, the fear of an insecure world, the eternal busyness. I’m not one who thinks that the “glory days” of the past are better than today. No, life is supposed to keep moving. Life doesn’t slow down for anyone.
Instead of asking life to get easier for us, maybe we should ask how we can get stronger and better at dealing with it. We need to question if this current pace of life is sustainable. For ourselves and more importantly for our planet. The current state of our outside world is just a reflection of what is going on inside us as a collective whole.
Instead of living in fear and disgust at what our world is reflecting back to us, maybe we should start being brave enough to see where the projection is coming from. It’s coming from each one of us.
Play the Game but Don’t buy In
I think we can stop this anxiety and stress culture the moment we refuse to buy into it. We can make a conscious choice to stop living in fear. We can begin to cultivate the idea that life is our friend not our enemy. That even though we don’t understand why seemingly terrible things happen we can still choose what we focus on.
Are we going to focus on the ugly, the mean and the unfair? Or are we going to make a DECISION on what we choose to see. I want to see the beauty, the brilliance and the glory of life on this planet. Anxiety and stress are labels we put onto emotions we don’t know how to deal with. You are NOT those emotions. They are NOT who you are. They’re just by-products of an untrained mind.
Strengthen your mind, your heart and your spirit. Find out who you really are and you will be anxious, no more. I’ve done all of these things and I can attest that it truly works. I trust that EVERYTHING that happens to me is for my highest good and it’s up to me to see it that way. We MUST get stronger in our minds and tap into the strength of the source that created us. We’re not meant to be weak. If we want to stop being afraid of life, we must turn on the light to see that the monster under the bed is an illusion. Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.
Please SHARE this post if you feel this message needs to be heard. Also, be sure to check out my video on 3 Practical Ways to reduce anxiety fast! Thanks for reading!