Alternatively, we can imagine a positive scenario in which things go back to a whatever a desired normal may be, or in which the end result is a better world in which people learn to work together, realizing that we are all in the same boat.
The Illusion of Control
Everything has always been out of control. Thinking that everything will just stay the same, that trends will continue on a reasonably consistent trajectory, is illusion.
When a major change occurs, those who are in denial about the reality of uncertainty, impermanence and change are unprepared and the shock can be overwhelming.
We get used to things working and when they don't, we feel out of control. For example, someone could be uncertain about their ability to get important work done if their computer is down or their transportation no longer works. One might be afraid of missing a call or text if their phone is down. Yet another, might simply be disappointed that their favorite restaurant, or the one they work at, is closed and that it might never open.
Those examples are mild compared to the anxiety felt by a person who has lost their job or has been driven from their home and is living in limbo in a refugee camp in the midst of war and pestilence.
Yet, no matter what the situation, once anxiety takes root, it expands and becomes more intense. Fear takes over and the analytical, thinking mind stops working. The mind spirals into panic, reactive behavior, physical symptoms, and other attempts at getting back in control.
Learning from Anxiety
To avoid anxiety's effects, learn from and about it. Learning from it means using anxiety as a signal to wake up and let the fiery emotions burn away the obstacles to seeing clearly with wisdom and compassion.
This is the path of the warrior, the spiritual seeker, yogi committed to self-awareness and liberation.
Learning about Anxiety
To learn from anxiety, learn about it. That means understanding the way it operates - where and how it feels in the body, the thoughts that precede and follow the feelings. What is the proximate cause, the trigger, and what are the deeper causes?
Insight, embodiment of knowledge, can come with understanding and mindfully observing whatever is going on within.
What to Do
So, what to do? There is no formula, no magic bullet, to get rid of anxiety.
Here are a few things you can do:
- Get ready for anything, be okay with uncertainty and impermanence
- Remember that anxiety is just a complex of physical sensations, feelings and thoughts triggered by an event and uncertainty, and fueled by unrealistic expectations and worry. You are not anxiety; you are being visited by anxiety
- Chant - something as simple as breathing in and breathing out sounding AHHH, the sound of deep relaxation or anything else that makes you calm and happy
- If you are into it, chant and visualize and/or pray to whatever god, goddess, spirit or protector that can help to alleviate your anxiety
- Make friends with anxiety. Treat it like a visitor. Say "Hello anxiety. How are you? What can I do for you?" Let it be and let it go
- Tell anxiety that you will not feed it. Smile and let it go away on its own
- Breathe through it - inhaling positive energy, letting it circulate throughout your body, picking up negativity and then breath it out - slow, deep and easy
- Visualize a positive outcome
- Clean the house, reorganize the fridge, run around
- Listen to music dance and sing.
In sum, as Meher Baba taught, "Do your best. Don't Worry. Be Happy."