Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Reducing Anxiety by letting life Unfold

The one thing we can be sure of in life is that things will change.  Nothing stays the same.  Some change is so gradual that we can hardly see it unless we witness some kind of time-lapse evidence such as video or photos that show us "quickly" what we cannot notice when in the middle of the event itself.

Changes that happen more abruptly are harder on we human beings because we spend a large portion of our time living in a delusion in which we convince ourselves that once things are "good", we can somehow keep them that way, or that change will disappear and happiness will remain.

We seem to want the good things to last forever, and the bad things to end as quickly as possible.  So we spend our time striving for things we consider pleasant, and running from things we consider unpleasant.

But here is the truth--and you don't have to believe it from me-- look at it for yourself.  Nothing does Not change!  Or said differently, Everything changes.  Everything!

The torture takes place the most when we try to get things we like to remain indefinitely, and when we try to get things we dislike, to be different from what they are.  How many times have you gone back to repeat something fun, only to find yourself disappointed because it "wasn't like last time"?

From the day we are born, until the day we die, change is happening and we suffer the most when we don't want that reality to be true.  Instead, learning to move more gracefully with change can increase  your sense of well-being and reduce your stress and anxiety.

One way to re-frame this never-ending cycle of change that comes with life, is to think of it more as an "unfolding".  When something is unfolding it has a perpetual movement to it.  You can label the movement "good" or "bad", but it's not really necessary.  It's just what is unfolding.  Some of the unfolding is pleasant, and some is unpleasant, but none of these states are permanent.  Be it pleasant or unpleasant, it will change.  It's only a matter of time.

Thanks to Liz West for the great photo - Melting