Anxiety: Hindrance? Or Hero Power?
It seems in the present day that Anxiety is a negative attribute to have. As if it’s some sort of ‘disorder’. However, I’m of the opinion that, in fact, anxiety is perfectly normal and, in most cases, healthy.
Being able to second-guess, internally debate and question ourselves is a trait that we should see as a strength, yet society strongly recognises it as a weakness. The tremendous growth of diagnosed anxiety is remarkable, from teenagers to adults. 30% of the British public ‘admit’ to having experienced a high level of anxiety in their lifetime with many ‘solutions’ being delivered including, squishy toys, fidget cubes and of course, every teacher’s nightmare, the fidget spinner. Notably these solutions also supported those with ADHD alongside anxiety and in some cases I’m sure they ‘worked’ but even the inclusion of these devices, it only increased the negativity surrounding the anxiety epidemic.
With a (not-so) simple change in perception we could change anxiety into our greatest human superpower.
My name is Adam. I’m 35 and a ¾ years old and I have Anxiety.
And these are my (fantastic) four reasons why Anxiety is a superpower.
Specifically, when it comes to decision making, I take my time. Very rarely do I make an impulse buy. To be fair, this is usually split between me being anxious about buying something and trying to find it cheaper elsewhere. Items have been known to sit in my basket for days whilst I ponder paying £2.85 on a second-hand book on eBay. Underlining our anxiety is our desire to create a good impression, to be valuable. The anxiety makes us feel uncomfortable is we deviate from doing what needs to be done. Our time management skills are on point because of this.
Talking to myself
This is a big one. The number of times I probably seem crazy because I’m (internally) talking to myself but pulling faces whilst having this conversation. Though If we’re experiencing a bout anxiety our sometimes talking to ourselves and making the nerves ‘real’ helps us feel released from some of the pressure, we can better talk ourselves into the taking the next step. This is how we succeed; one-step-at-a-time.
Risk is overrated. Sure, we need some of it in our lives, but there’s no harm in taking things slow and playing it safe. That being said, the value of risk should be understated. Its power can be the leap from losing all confidence in yourself, to actually feeling what your worth. The adrenaline rush that often comes with risk can be where the lines between excitement and anxiety are often confused. We must train ourselves to embrace the unfamiliar, and what it feels like to be there. Risk, in large amounts is overrated, train yourself, take smaller, more calculated risks and slowly build your confidence. My ability to lower the risk I’ve things I partake in keeps me alive.
Pressure is a nasty word, especially in workplace. Ever heard of the famous sentence ‘I work better under pressure’ ? I have, a thousand and four times. Being a teacher, I was always reminding students of deadlines and was told they work much better under pressure. Amazingly, it’s that generation of students who are in the midst of the anxiety epidemic…. go figure.
However, It is when we’re under high-pressured situations that we are the most alert. Our body responds automatically, putting us into the biological experience of fight-or-flight.
But instead of viewing this anxiety as negative, train yourself to see it as fuel; the energy you need to run into action. Just remember to do it at your pace.
I’ve always wanted to be a superhero, and for a while I thought that stuff just belonged in comic books or in movies. But I’ve come to realise that alongside the emergency services, teachers, forces personnel and many, many others that we can be superheroes in our own right.
It’s an upside-down way of thinking, but my kryptonite, my anxiety is the actually core of my strength and decision making.
My anxiety is my ‘Spidey-Sense’. It gives me a feeling, a strong sense of something being wrong, dangerous, or a suspicious situation.
It makes me, me.
Adam Dyer, IT Trainer