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Living well in the Age of Anxiety

Living well in the Age of Anxiety

Some compelling links from around the web as a follow-up to my post this week on staying sane in the world of twitter.

Do we really live in the Age of Anxiety?  “If you start to believe that anxiety is a foregone conclusion — if you start to believe the hype about the times we live in — then you risk surrendering the battle before it’s begun.”  From an opinion piece in the NYtimes in January.

I agree completely.  I coach my patients not to use abstract labels to describe their experience (even if that label’s been given by a professional).  Rather than saying, “I have anxiety,” describe the actual phenomena.  “Yesterday after being late to work, I noticed my palms were sweaty, my chest was tight, I felt pain and pressure in my solar plexus.”  There’s a lot more space within that for experience to come and go and not get concretized in the body as a disorder.

Plus, if you think the world is getting worse (and therefore more anxiety-producing) check out this essential TED talk by Steven Pinker.  His research shows that we may be living in the most peaceful times ever.

For some practical tips on dealing with the obsession of our time, checking our phones, read this post by Sara Calabro of Acutake.  This modern epidemic is part of a deeper issue.  In her words:

“We do the same thing with pharmaceuticals, doctors’ advice, junkfood, alcohol, you name it. Anything to avoid facing what’s in front of us and trusting our ability to handle it. This is why acupuncture can be so profoundly transformative—and also why it remains so misunderstood and underutilized in our fast-paced, over-stimulated society.

Acupuncture, in essence, forces us to put down the phone.

Acupuncture demands that we pay attention to the things we’ve gotten used to blocking out. It does not take away or add anything. Rather, it challenges us to wrap our heads around the idea that we already possess everything we need to be okay.”

And finally, here’s a great site to visit when you’re taking a break from your phone.  Build this kind of thing into your daily routine, and see the results.

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