The most common complaint clients come to me with, which they sometimes see as a cause of their anxiety, is a sense of feeling overwhelmed and out of control.
Sometimes I have to begin by explaining that the actual cause is elsewhere. The cause is an innate mismatch between the mind they have and the mind they need in our present day. What we need today is a well-trained mind.
An Olympic mind to deal with the Olympic pressures of our modern world.
A basic habitual tendency of the human mind is one of distraction and randomness. A person with an untrained mind, when exposed to our current world of hyper-information and hyper-distraction, must end up feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Some people do sense their disconnectedness from their true self, and that is why they seek help.
As human beings, we are not naturally equipped to live in a world with computers, radios, TVs, mobile phones, clocks, dense traffic, a constant wave of bad news through a multitude of channels and in addition, enormous mental and psychological demands and long hours at work. For most of us, this situation is exacerbated by unhealthy eating habits, as well as lacking natural activity, such as spending time in nature, with moderate physical activity, in silence or in a nurturing, peaceful environment to de-stress and rebalance.
The result of these prolonged heightened stress levels is one the biggest silent epidemics of our era with an upward creeping trend: endemic anxiety, depression, short-temperedness or mental toxicity. With it comes the compulsion to try and control this manifestation, which stems from an inner sense of lack of control or insecurity, by the means of power, money or prestige.
Some people who experience this, manage to keep their symptoms at bay with the use of alcohol, drugs or various other coping mechanisms. Still, the statistics are self-evident. The epidemic is already here.
Here are three very simple and easy to use methods, which are proven to increase resilience, and to prevent or counteract anxiety and depression.
When applied with discipline and tenacity they can greatly benefit you:
Train your mind
As you learn to observe, without judgment, the habitual tendency of your mind to randomly jump about and point out, go over and hold onto what’s wrong, you already begin to undo the damaging habit of our Western world to continuously compare, analyse, outdo, convince (control), criticise and put down.
Certainly, in order to succeed within the largest part of mainstream society, you will quite often have to use your mind to analyse, compare, calculate or strategise, but you can be assured that your mind is naturally able to perform ANY task that you set for it. The human mind is more powerful than anything else it has invented.
The decisive question for your well-being is: Can you drop it?
If the answer is yes, your body can rebalance and rejuvenate during your downtimes, as intended by nature. If the answer is no, you could be addicted to thinking. In this case, you will, as with any other addiction, feel mad and out of control, unless the feeling is numbed through other means or mechanisms. This will over time wear out your body - physically, emotionally and energetically - more than is necessary or healthy, and have a number of repercussions. Anxiety is only the beginning.
Practice to keep your focus on one thing at a time, to single-task and radially prioritise. Allow for deep insight and creative imagination, which arise from beyond the mind. This will not only make you a much more effective and efficient user of your intelligence, it will also give you a sense of control and relief. “NOW” is an example of a useful mantra to stop your mind from doing its monkey dance, which keeps you trapped in distraction and overwhelm.
Most of the emotions produced by anxiety are very effectively counteracted by practicing an attitude of gratitude. Try and feel deep gratitude and any negative emotion all at once – it is not possible.
Cultivate a Sense of Humour
Having grown up in an incredible adverse environment, I was lucky to be exposed to great comedians such as Charlie Chaplin, Heinz Erhardt, Loriot, and many others since early childhood. A healthy sense of humour has given me the resilience to deal with an enormous amount of difficulties and setbacks in life. Try it for yourself. I have observed that people who struggle greatly with anxiety have not cultivated this capacity of our mind as well as they could. Some practice can help your body and mind.
If you are stuck in bleak black-and-white-thinking or constantly seek to control and predict; you are engaged in a fruitless activity, which will drive you only further into a sense of powerlessness and mental exhaustion.
Laughter, by contrast, triggers a range of hormones and processes in your body which serve to strengthen your health and well-being. You would be well advised to put it on top of your to-do list when you start your day.
 If you are suffering from a long standing anxiety, depression or addiction you should consider consulting a mental health or health professional.