I’m no stranger to anxiety and how it can affect our mental health. Relatively speaking, I haven’t directly suffered from anxiety. But as a psychology student, I’d like to pin down a few points today on demotivation due to anxiety and how to overcome them. The key to overcoming anything is first to understand its causes. Like getting to the root of the problem. Here are a few questions we’ll be focusing on for today:
- What is anxiety and what causes them?
- Why do you feel demotivated when you’re anxious?
- How do you overcome anxiety?
Yeah, it’s time to go slay the demon… – the anxiety!
What is anxiety and what causes them?
Anxiety is essentially your mind responding to stress. It’s often a feeling of nervousness, unease or fear. Think of it like this. Do you know that resistor thing from physics class? Same logic. Well, except anxiety obstructs the passage of free and everyday thoughts and instead open-circuits your mind into this wild, overthinking, and runaway monster. Anxiety is born out of the burden of stress you carry from either difficult experiences in the past or worrying about the future. They’re a consequence of your imagination running wild. And not in a good way.
But how are you supposed to know if you have anxiety? Good question. Okay, so there are different kinds of anxiety disorders and they range across different levels. It can last from a few seconds to even decades. Let’s break down the versions step by step. When do you feel anxious? When you’re on the stage before a sea of audience. When you’re about to enter the exam hall and revise the information you crammed in the night before. Oh no, what was that about nucleophilic reactions? These are merely emotions and a part of life. They usually disappear in a few minutes.
Anxiety disorders, however, persist over a long time and cause significant distress. They often keep a person away from life and joyfulness. The major types of anxiety disorders you need to know are:
- Phobias – They are intense fears of objects or situations. It has to last at least six months before it’s considered a phobia. Phew! Now I know the fear of heights phase I went through in ninth grade was not a phobia.
- Generalized anxiety – It’s when someone worries about a range of topics – school, job performance, finances, world events, relationships, etc.
- Panic disorders – It’s when someone experiences panic attacks that get in the way of their way in some way or another.
OCD and PTSD – OCD is when excessive thought leads to compulsive actions or behaviors. PTSD is triggered by experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event.
Why do you feel demotivated when you’re anxious?
So, for the question that pertains…Why do I feel demotivated? Before answering, let me ask you, have you heard that zen story about the anxious boy?
So, here’s the gist. A few boys wanted to join this zen monastery. The hard part? The boys had to first pass this eligibility test to get in. For the next few days, their eyes are glued to the study material they have. A week later, boy A enters the exam hall, anxious and panicky. The teacher asks the guy “When you entered, did you leave your footwear on the right or left side?” The poor guy knew he lost it.
So, the moral of the story is to check where you leave your footwear? Eh, not really. The guy was so apprehensive about the future (exam) that he doesn’t pay attention to the present. Likewise, anxious people are either buried in their past experiences or are constantly worrying about the future. You can be productive only when you’re in the present. Since anxious people tend to overthink everything, they’re incapable of thinking of anything else. Like a good day outside in the sun. Even if they do go out, they are unable to enjoy it. Being joyful is the natural state of the mind. And since the mind is too cluttered, you do not feel the joy to do anything. Hence, the demotivation.
How to overcome anxiety?
Believe it or not, overcoming anxiety is definitely possible. Okay maybe it isn’t as easy as a loaded gun and boom boom situation, but it’s not impossible. For starters, I recommend trying guided meditations. They help in decluttering your mind of excessive and unwanted thoughts. It might seem an impossible task in the beginning but keep going. The result will be worth it. Seek out to turn your thoughts of worry into thoughts of reflection. We’re so worried about this trapped world we created in our minds that we fail to see the bigger picture. Comprehending your meaning in this world helps a ton. Why should you – a person in 7 billion people on one planet of 100 billion planets in one galaxy of 200 billion to 3000 trillion galaxies — allow yourself to become stressed, anxious, and depressed?
Seek out a hobby. Trust me, it helps. As a person who had a stressful time in the pandemic due to procrastination, I say this out of the personal experience. During quarantine, my phone screen time was going way up while my health was at the other end of the graph. I would write exams, procrastinate, study, eat, sleep and repeat. Thankfully, I redeemed my hobbies in reading and music and I felt my old energy tapping back into me again.
Anxiety can be cured, entirely. But only when you work for it. If you don’t take the effort to direct your mind, no amount of sessions with your therapist is going to cure your problem. Learn to direct your mind. Anxiety is like the evil Horcrux and when you kill it, your mind is cleared of all the bad “juju”.
Mental health is more important and relevant than ever as a society today revolves around work, money, and relationships. Taking time to relax becomes a task where it should be the natural state of a person. Life should be a joyful dance indeed. When it comes to stress, anxiety, or depression, we should primarily understand the reasons and then work to direct our minds. When you’ve obtained a liberated mindset, there will be absolutely no room for anxiety.
Have you guys ever felt anxious? What methods have helped you calm down?