The Anxiety Show

By: Taylor

Anxiety is something that’s a part of everyone’s lives. It’s a makeup of the human condition; a part of the gig no one necessarily wants; yet it exists regardless. It can be predominantly present or hiding under the bed, but that in no way means it’s non-existent in your life. Just because you don’t feel it now doesn’t mean you never have or never will. The thing about anxiety is that people (very much so) experience it differently. The kid on the bus silently reading a book could be stressing hard over x, y, and z; you’d never know he’s on the verge. Or there are people like myself, Taylor, who have let anxiety take over some pretty awesome moments due to what can only be described as a crippling sensation of a bomb aftermath.

 

And . . . fun times were had by all . . . No, not really, but this anxiety that we all experience, it’s seldom spoken about; seldom understood in a comprehensive way. If we asked, “What is anxiety?”—Would your answer start with, “The feeling when…”? Look, we aren’t claiming to be the anxiety experts over here, either. We just have taken the education and thought on anxiety to a different level for you; for any and everyone.

 

There’s already so much misconception around what anxiety is, and we’d like to clear that up and shake that down a bit. Here, we’ve defined anxiety in our own words, and that goes as follows:

 

“To be fearful of the future and lacking a sense of security about an uncertain situation that is under consideration.”

 

that may be a lot to process, but bare with us, here. When you feel anxious, it’s generally about an unknown; work, relationships, or health—you name it. Why are you fearful about it? Because you don’t have a solid, clear end result in mind, and that’s a scary thing. Why’s it under consideration? You obviously want it, but there’s a clear layer of fear surrounding it because you want it. But with that want, there’s the whole “unknown” thing. That’s the part that shakes you to your core. It’s the risk of a, b, c, or d that comes with any road you may or may not take. The thing is . . .you can’t sit in an indecisive zone for very long without repercussions. You have to make decisions; that’s another part of the human condition. Whether you’re feeling ready or not is beside the point because truly—you’ll never “feel” 100% ready, ever, about anything. New parents don’t have a guide telling them how to be a parent, they just do. So maybe, just maybe, it’s about saying screw it and diving in, wherever you are.

 

If there’s any constant in life, it’s the existence of uncertainty in your everyday. There will always be things you don’t have answers to, situations you can’t possibly plan for, and events you simply don’t have control over. The key to life isn’t having the answers; it’s knowing that it’s OK to not have the answers. Say you have a big presentation coming up at work in front of a group of peers that you seldom work with. You’re going to be nervous, and you’re going to have anxiety. That’s natural. That’s normal. That’s expected. Why wouldn’t you be nervous about it? It means something to you, and no one wants to enter a room only to leave it feeling like a complete moron.

 

That’s the anxiety talking, though. Chances are you’re not a moron, and you’re just being outrageously hard on yourself. For whatever reason, we’re all usually much harder on ourselves than we would be to literally any other human being. So what would happen if we were to start speaking to ourselves the way we’d talk to a dear friend? Would that anxiety begin to melt away? The answer is yes and no. Obviously one small shift isn’t going to instantaneously move mountains, but it’s crucial to identify that it will, in fact, make a change. Even if it’s a small one, change is still change, and when it comes to anxiety, even the smallest steps should be look at through the most victorious eyes. As we’ve discussed before, this is part of a shift in perspective, which is no easy task. If you’re the person who doesn’t believe a shift in perspective could genuinely, meaningfully and positively impact your life, yet you suffer from anxiety, well . . . you’re walking a thin line between reality and delusion; between accuracy and avoidance, and it might be time to take the blinders off.

 

This isn’t saying we minimize whatever it may be that you’re going through. We know anxiety is real, and we are right there with everyone who experiences these feelings every day. We also know how beneficial a shift in ones perspective can be, and we want to guide others to the same realizations. Generalized anxiety can be crippling—take it from those who are first-hand battlers of said anxiety. But here’s the thing . . .you can’t sit around your whole life being the victim of your circumstances. We’ve all been down; we’ve all fallen victim to this way of life; to the poor-me mindset. Some of us (or one of us…OK it’s me) felt that way merely 5 minutes ago. But guess what? To get off the floor, you can’t just sit there, twiddling your thumbs. You have to actively try to get the hell up.

 

Sure, it’s easier to cry in the midst of your anxiety overload and let it run you, but where’s that going to get you? We’ll tell you—nowhere. It gets you stuck in the mouse wheel of life, going nowhere fast (and in an anxious way, at that). If this isn’t what you saw for your life, then change it. Decide that now, and 5 minutes from now, and 3 hours from now, and tomorrow, and next month . . . that you won’t let this bullshit run your life. That you won’t let it run you. Your mind is powerful, and when you use it for the better as opposed to it using you . . . beautiful things will unfold. You’ve got to hold onto the strength you’ve been given and use It for good, for the bettering of yourself; not for the crippling of your mind.

 

Avoidance and Pragmatism

By: Aaron and Taylor

When it comes to avoidance, you probably already know what we’re talking about, but just to clarify let’s go ahead and check out the dictionary definition: Avoidance- the action of keeping away from, or not doing something.

Okay, that seems like a simple enough of a definition and you’re probably thinking of the grand scheme. But what happens when you zoom in? Like… Really zoom in?

Most the time it’s not so obvious what it is you’re avoiding. This makes sense to a degree, you’re avoiding them for a reason, and the more distance you keep fro something, the less harm it will seem to be doing, especially over the course of time. Things associated with avoidance are uncomfortable. They’re inconvenient. You may deem something as unimportant because of your ability to avoid the problem or occurrence. When you’re practicing avoidance, which essentially means just that; you’re practicing it and likely getting better at avoiding current things and at avoiding more now, too… Your avoidances are making you willfully blind, and it is the act of being willfully blind that is the biggest threat to both yourself as well as those who are closest to you.

It is most useful to look at the things you are avoiding with a pragmatists point of view, which is to say that instead of being someone who looks at the world as if it is made up of physical matter like atoms and molecules, you’d say that the world is made out of what matters; or meaning.

This actually makes a lot of sense when dealing with something such as avoidances. After all, avoidances aren’t tangible things that are made out of matter, rather they are truths in which you act out based on the structure of their underlying meanings.

Having now pulled our pragmatists thinking cap from out of our closet and put it on our heads, we’ve so far made two conclusions. The first being that the world is not simply made out of physical matter, but is also shaped just as much by “what matters”. Second, we’ve concluded that avoidances are abstract in nature and are made out of meaning. We illustrate these two conclusions to lead you to the third pragmatic conclusion that might be hypothesized after the first two, and that is that meaning is derived from the mind-body connection that lie in our memories. We know this connection to exist because of the automatic responses you have when certain events or patterns repeat themselves. If you’re scared of snakes, you draw on that fear from your memories (mind), and use it to dictate your living out that fear through your actions (body).

It also make sense for us to talk for one paragraph about it means when we say we’re thinking like a pragmatist. You might be thinking, “in comparison to what”. I certainly didn’t learn what it meant to exercise different modes of thinking from the public school that I went to. So, when we hear someone speaking of something as if it were definitive fact, we would say they are speaking “objectively”; whereas if they were speaking of it as if it were a belief, in terms of it not being able to be definitively proven, we would say they are speaking “subjectively”. Objective thought would be grouped with science and facts and subjective thought would be grouped with philosophy and belief. The method of viewing the world as a pragmatist is best described by Charles Sanders Peirce, when he summed up the process of pragmatic thought by saying to

 

“consider the practical effects of the objects of your conception. Then, your conception of those effects is the whole of your conception of the object”.

 

You actually practice thinking pragmatically all of the time. Think for a second what it wouls mean to you if I told you to think about “a building”. Okay, now imagine if I asked you to compare what’s in your head right now with what pops into your head when I say “a school”.

What we’re trying to do here is help reveal to yourself what we mean when we say that pragmatic thought has an element of mind-body connectedness. When you consider “a school”, and you extract the embodied element of what you mean when you say that, that embodied element would be no different than the embodied element that would be represented if you referred to the school as “a building instead. This is obviously the body aspect to the mind-body connection we’re illustrating. The mind aspect is derived from the implied meaning you apply to anything within the category of “a school”. Without your preconceived notions of what it means to be a school you’d see no difference between “a building” and “a school”, but since you instinctively act those differences out, you could make a case that the pragmatic truths derived from meaning are as real as anything else.

So, now that we’ve hopefully sold you on the idea that the world is made out of meaning, it’s time to talk about how to use that mode of thought to find the meaning behind the roots of your avoidances. The reason we mentioned memory earlier is because all avoidances stem from a memory of one kind or another, and the key to analyzing your avoidances is to figure out the memory or memories that is the cause of your avoidance. It’s not always as obvious as you think.

Some of your avoidances ARE memories themselves. The reason you’d avoid a particular memory is probably going to be because it makes you uncomfortable. Why would thinking about something make you uncomfortable? It’s probably because you haven’t come to an understanding with the underlying meaning of it yet!

How do you find the underlying meaning of a memory than makes you uncomfortable. It starts by facing the memory head on, in it’s entirety, and stop avoiding it. It’s also helpful to know why things tend to be meaningful. Meaningful things that manifest through the memories that stem your avoidances are generally consequences of you living out a series of actions, and the outside world not responding to your actions in the way you expected. It is in knowing that allows you to then analyze the series of actions you acted out both alone and in relation to the actions the rest of the world lived out, and use your analysis to figure out you did not end up with the expected end results. If you determine you didn’t get the responses you expected because of external forces, you’ll be able to drop the negativity that harbors your tendencies of avoidance. If you realize the reception of your actions was a direct result of the way your actions were perceived, it would help you to know that too, so that you could correct your behavior in order to bring about the responses you want and expect from the world.

If you can’t determine the reason for your avoidances by deriving meaning from the memories of those avoidances, don’t get discouraged. Avoidances are the materials, memories are the tools, and the meanings are the pieces of architecture we are building with our bounty of materials and tools; and when you can’t seem to put your finger on what the “meaning” of something is, it’s probably because you either need more “tools”, or more “material” to work with.

The Human Condition

By: Taylor

Every day is a new day, and every day we’re faced with new challenges. With those challenges comes alternative measures of resolution. Anxiety comes and goes, emphasis on the go part. Why? Because you need it, but in moderation. Walking around with the heaviness of total and full anxiety is exhausting and unnecessary.

 

I’m not talking to you as someone from an outside perspective; rather someone who’s walked a mile—or 10—in those shoes, and has come out of, and gone back into, the flames of anxiety.

 

It’s an eerie place to be; to not have answers, thus letting the idea of fear creep into your mind. I know because it’s been like clockwork to me. Ridding myself of anxiety only for it to manifest, disappear, or translate itself into a different life form in my world.

 

Where does anxiety even come from?

 

There’s no one place, and that’s part of the stigma around it. Anxiety is everywhere, and everyone’s experienced it in one way or another. So maybe you don’t have full-fledged panic attacks, but does that mean you’re not entitled to your anxiety? Of course not. The first step to resolving your anxiety is noticing it’s presence, and not being afraid that it exists.

 

Because if you think you’re alone in the world, trying to fight the good fight single-handedly, you’ll feel isolated. Isolation has its positive moments; it’s good to have time to reflect on yourself and your goals. But to feel jaded? Ain’t nobody got time for that. You’re not jaded; you’re simply lost in translation with the rest of us.

 

Life’s tough whether you’re going at it in solidarity or with support of some sorts. Regardless of your current disposition, we’ve all had our highs as we try and minimize our lows. The thing is . . . we shouldn’t minimize those lows. The lows are what make us human. They’re a part of the human condition that we all experience around the world. Yeah, there’s a sense of solitude in going at it alone, but there’s also solidarity and strength in knowing that you don’t have to. There are others thinking the same thoughts, with the same struggles, facing the same uphill battle. It’s about recognizing the faults in the human condition, in ourselves, and in others. That’s the solidarity we truly need.

 

It’s All By Design

By: Taylor

While we’re keeping you on the edge of your seats about all things existence-related, we thought we’d share something that’s inspiring us today.

If you’ve ever found yourself in a personal of professional rut, it can seem like the easiest thing to do is fight or flight, and your internal instincts may or may not get the best of you. In 2016, we started hearing more and more about design thinking in many terms, even being incorporated into mainstream corporations values.

What we didn’t see coming was using design thinking to get out of a rut.
But then again, why wouldn’t we?
After stumbling upon this article thanks to google keywords, we felt it best to share with the rest of the world, as well (Bueller. . . Bueller . . .).

Read the story from Forbes here.

Existence is______

By: Taylor

What does it mean to not only exist, but co-exist? Must we co-exist to say we exist on our own? Do others shape our reality more than we’re consciously aware of, and does our sub-conscious hold the keys to the intelligence we pound our heads and crack open books page after page in an attempt to find it?

These are the topics we’re interested in this week. This is what’s making us curious. If you’re curious about them, too, shoot us an E-mail. We’d love to chat with you.

Patience, friends; Podcast to come soon 🙂

A Little Longer

 

What is time if it’s purpose is to keep you waiting for the next moment? Is there a such thing as time in the way we view it in actuality, or is it a figment of our own creation; our imagination; how we want to see the world?

See, we go through life wandering from moment to moment as if we’re on cruise control and there’s an alert set out solely to  notify us of moments to come, as each moment passes. Why is it so hard to be fully present in each moment? To feel each emotion, to really delve into what the moment has to offer, rather than bracing and hoping for the next one? Why does being alone have to be terrifying, even if only for an instance? We find ourselves uncomfortable by our own presence, and look to fill the void with something; anything. But if time is just but a figure of the imagination, what’s the sense in wondering and worrying about anything in the now or later? Learning to let go of the what ifs and the nay sayers to accept each step for what it is; a step. There is no right or wrong, only what you choose and what chooses you.