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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Anxiety

Now my major task is to get my anxiety under control. But the problem is that I still respond to every other situation in the same way. I am stuck in the anxious mode, no matter what I am doing. Even after the specific stimulus that was causing me anxiety disappears, the physiological symptoms of anxiety remain, so resolving particular problems does very little good. I am least anxious when writing my book and teaching class. So once again, the work is a salvation of a sort. Preparing to teach makes me anxious. I was anxious at swing dancing club yesterday, though doing the steps made me less anxious. I don't seem able to make the transition from learning the steps to actually dancing. I cannot give myself up the the rhythm.

I am nervous doing errands: can I get everything done on time? Anxiety can feed procrastination, and vice-versa. Sometimes I try to get everything done as quickly as possible, as though a given task were something almost impossible to complete when in reality I have plenty of time. In this way I distort my own perceptions of time and make myself less efficient.

I can appear to be highly functioning. I am, but at what cost?

I think I need the following:

exercise at least 3 times a week

dance, play drums, or sing every day

meditate at least 3 times a week

continue to work on new duplex: I got a welcome mat yesterday and hung a picture. Home has to be a place I can relax

declutter office, make it a more relaxing work environment

8 comments:

Professor Zero said...

You are efficient.

A radical view:

- actual high functioning has no cost, only benefit

- what does have a cost is appearing to function high when one is actually not

- however, functioning high in some areas of life while functioning low in others, does not mean that the high functioning has a cost ... it just means it needs to be extended (this is one place where Habermas is right, it is "unfinished high functioning" ;-)

Professor Zero said...

You are efficient.

A radical view:

- actual high functioning has no cost, only benefit

- what does have a cost is appearing to function high when one is actually not

- however, functioning high in some areas of life while functioning low in others, does not mean that the high functioning has a cost ... it just means it needs to be extended (this is one place where Habermas is right, it is "unfinished high functioning" ;-)

profacero said...

P.S. Oh Blogger, it posted me twice again. I wonder if I am double clicking. Anyway, also: what causes me anxiety is trying to save time -- this makes me want to give up, the idea of not having time. The antidote is authority over activities and also over the interpretation thereof. One has it and should take it. Esto es por lo menos lo que yo he sabido (quoting from Vargas Ll., El hablador).

Jonathan said...

I didn't mean to write that I paid a high cost for my efficiency and high level of functioning (even though that is what I did end up writing) but that I paid a high price for my anxiety. Mh anxiety doesn't prevent me from functioning well, and sometimes even seems to help, but I pay a high price in terms of stress my body by not being able to relax.

Leslie said...

Anxiety, a high price to pay, yes indeed.

But I think it still is not best motivator even if it does motivate. One can have some more grounded form of suspense. I am almost considering martial arts training.

Thomas said...

Norman Mailer: "Going down the aisle and into the ring in Chicago was conceivably more frightening for Sonny Liston than facing Paterson that night ... He knew killers were waiting in that mob, they always were, he had been on speaking terms with just such subjects himself—now he dared to be king—any assassin could strike for revenge upon acts Liston had long forgot; no wonder Liston was in fear going into the ring, and happier once within it."

I've always thought (and I think Mailer intended it that way) that the writer (and teacher) feels similar things. There are some situations that your training lets you deal with without anxiety. But those situations are embedded in the larger social context ... everything else ... and it's the unknowns there, and the fact that you have no particular, professional skills to face them, that causes anxiety.

Leslie said...

Ah -- a tip -- something I discovered by chance, that seriously relaxes muscles, is to lift heavy weights. Somewhere I learned that was not the most efficient thing to do, I guess for other purposes, but I found out that if you start lifting as much as you can, it takes tension away. The antistress gurus want you to sit still to get calm and I am not sure this is the only form of meditation.

Jonathan said...

I do lift weight so I guess I'll have to do that even more.