Anxiety, what do these three things have to do with anxiety? Well this time I am not talking about ‘tells’ as in my earlier post. No, this time I am on a different tangent altogether. This time it is all about how these things cause/can cause anxiety. I know, not everyone is affected negatively by this kind of anxiety. For me though it has always been a source of unwanted anxiety. Sounds like I have had this under control all my life, right? No. It is only just recently (I’m not going to tell you just, how recently!) that I put this together.
The one thing I have always known is that I always like to read the end of a book before I start from the beginning, with team sports I like to know the result before I watch the game, and with movies I ‘prefer’ to know the outcome at the beginning – otherwise all the way through it I am guessing the result, it helps to reduce the anxiety because I can kinda kid myself that I know the answer (for another explanation why other people like to know the conclusion first, click here). However, this is not an open and shut case with me. There are movies that I enjoy and have watched numerous times, yet there will be certain points in the show where I will suddenly jump out of my seat and go and make a cuppa or go to the bathroom. Just something about that part suddenly makes the anxiety hit the ceiling.
So why did I say ‘Team’ sports? Well I can watch golf, tennis, motor sport, etc. and it doesn’t affect my anxiety. The conclusion I have come to is that with ‘individual’ sports, the person in many ways is playing against themselves. The fact that other people are there can be almost inconsequential. Now obviously they want to beat the others because there is prestige and money at stake, but how often have you heard a competitor say that while disappointed that they lost, they are really happy with the improvement they have made? Some people will obviously say that they are just saying that to make themselves feel better, maybe, however that is exactly how I feel about it. When I play golf with others, I tend to experiment and just enjoy the experience, I don’t even care if we don’t keep the score because I know if I am playing better or worse than last time, I don’t need it written on paper.
Okay so I know how to avoid some of that ‘day to day’ anxiety, isn’t that a good thing? Well anything that stops you having an anxiety attack can’t be all bad.
However, according to one clinical psychologist (if you want to read the article, click here) “Avoidance … can create new problems, such as addictive behaviors, Greenberg said. And the more we avoid something, the more anxious and fearful we become.” This same psychologist also made a good point in saying, “when we avoid something today, we don’t give ourselves the opportunity to learn new skills or solve problems”.
The problem that I have with all this good advice is, I never get around to putting it into practice! You see, I am just not the kind of person who sits down to watch something, and says “this is a good opportunity to practice….”. It just won’t happen. So to this day anxiety is a part of every day life. Fortunately I have got past the high level of anxiety that had me on drugs, so I will just put up with it and continue with my little oddities.