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14th of December 2018


Sometimes Anxiety Just Is - The Good Men Project

"I mean, really? I just get out of bed and I’m anxious?  But I did everything right yesterday."

December 2, 2018 by James Gummer Leave a Comment

What is this anxiety?

And why did I wake up with it? 

I mean, really? I just get out of bed and I’m anxious? 

But I did everything right yesterday. 

I went to bed on time like an adult, and I slept well enough by my standards. I exercised. Ate vegetables. I practiced meditation. Took medicine and supplements. 


(Peed a lot. Because of all the water.)

Yet the anxiety gives me its middle finger and pulls up a friggin’ chair to sit a spell. 

In a situation like this, I’ve only one tool left. And that’s to just be with it. 

That’s right. Be with it. 

Sometimes anxiety just is. 

And anxiety isn’t a new phenomena. We like to think that modern society with its internet, it’s awful politicians, social challenges, and sketchy economy are causing us this anxiety and that may be true in part. But the fact is every generation has had their share of struggles and you don’t have to look too far back into history to see them. 

Even the Buddha had to deal with anxiety and fear. He had to deal with Mara. 

In the Buddhist legends, Mara is seen as the demon who tries everything he can to stop the Buddha from attaining enlightenment. The Buddha succeeds in his quest, but Mara isn’t done yet. 

After the Buddha had become deeply revered, Mara still returned from time to time. So the Buddha, instead of trying to ignore Mara or drive him away, would set a place for him and invite him to tea. 

The Buddha would simply sit with Mara and treat him as a revered guest. Mara would stay for a while, but eventually get bored and go. Throughout the meeting, the Buddha would remain undisturbed. 

In other words, the Buddha would simply accept that he was feeling anxious or fearful and just be with it. He didn’t beat himself up. He didn’t call himself a failure. And after sitting with the feelings and accepting them, eventually they would pass. 

We can do this too. 

Some days are crap. Some days we feel like crap. That’s what is. 

But on the days I’m most anxious, if I force myself to go about my business in spite of it, the anxiety eventually lessens. Sometimes it goes away completely, sometimes not. But it usually diminishes some. 

And sometimes that’s the best we can do. 

Photo: Shutterstock


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