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A new perspective on anxiety

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Since my childhood I’ve been living in a civil war. With enemies everywhere. I slept with my clothes on until I was 30. To protect myself, and to be ready to escape out the door.

When I was 30 I still woke up in the middle of the night frightened that someone would put their hand under my blanket and touch me. I had to look under the bed to see that there were no one lying there, and I had to go up and check that the door was locked.

Last night I listened to a psychologist called Rafael Santandreu. He has written a book called “El arte de no amargarse la vida”. It’s about cognitive therapy and how to create a life with less anxiety and fear.

I want to share two of the things Rafael Santandreu talks about:

1. Exaggeration

Humans have an ability to exaggerate things that occur in our lives and we invent mental disasters that really aren’t there. This way of exaggerating the things that happen to us leads to emotional suffering,  anxiety and depression. What Rafael says is:

A trap your mind sets for you is transforming your wishes into imagined necessities. Your mind tricks you into believing that certain things you wish for in your life are actual necessities. And your mind tells you that if you don’t get them you are a disaster and have no value left.  This is wrong.

As a human being there are very few things you really need to survive and to be happy.
Basically, you need food and something to eat.
Most other things are wishes. Don’t transform your wishes of how you want something to be into necessities.
For example: If you fail an exam in school. You can be disappointed and sad or angry, but you are not a disaster. You’re still equally worth. You can still live a happy life.

2. When a problem of yours seems unbearable, ask yourself  this question:

When you have a problem that seems unbearable, ask yourself this question:
In what way does this problem of mine prevent me from creating value for myself and others?
For example, if you are so afraid of losing your job that you constantly feel very stressed. You think that losing your job would be a real disaster. But… would it? No. If you lose your job, that’s usually not good, and it can make you sad or angry and lead to temporary financial problems; but is it a real disaster? No. It isn’t. As long as you have your health, you can always start over again. Every day. And create new opportunities.

It’s not easy to change a habit. I’ve been worrying about things all my life. And I don’t see myself being a calm person in the future. But I do see myself being a wiser person with a better perspective on life. And is it a disaster having anxiety? No it isn’t.

I can still create value for myself and others. And I will never stop trying to do so.

Have a nice day all of you out there. And to those of you who are sad or struggling, don’t give up. It may be a rough time around you, but it will get better.



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