What the Body Says that the Mind Can Not - Key to Solving Anxiety

Apr 8, 2015 -

Picture yourself running the last mile of a half-marathon. Your feet feel as if they have had cement rocks chained to them, your arms feel as if you've been carrying twenty pound weights for hours on end, and any minute now your heart is about to burst. But, your brain tells you to push on. You only have a mile left. You tell yourself that you can do it. When the brain overrides the body, we call this sheer will power.

While marathon runners, triathletes, and professional athletes have excelled at their respective fields through sheer will power, their bodies are typically pushed to extreme limits. As a result, the body sends out warning signals to tell the brain to slow down. We often associate will power with being mentally strong. Will power is generally view in a positive light. However, not only are there physical repercussions to this, but there are also mental ones.

"The brain works on pursing happiness and is much more concerned about the future than the present, which results in us feeling anxious all the time.

In modern society, we largely ignore the wisdom of the body in favor of the brain. In general, we as humans rely more so on our brain than basic instincts. This is not a bad thing as it has gotten us to where we are now. Animals eat with their stomachs, we eat with your brains. When an animal's stomach is full, they stop eating. If snacks are lying around, do you just grab it and munch on them even if you don't feel hungry?

While there is generally no major issue with using our brain before acting, modern society has pushed it to certain extremes. The brain works on pursing happiness and is much more concerned about the future than the present, which results in us feeling anxious all the time. We are always working on anticipating what is coming next. Since the future has not arrived yet, we use a series of assumptions and leverage past experiences to attempt to predict the future. This is purely abstract and evidently there is always a level of uncertainly in what the future brings. Yet we chose to purse the future. Sometimes it even feels like the more we chase it the further away it runs. At the end of the day, we fail to enjoy the present and constantly think about the unpredictable and largely uncontrollable future.

Our concern for how the future will leads us to our obsession for external stimulants that eventually drives this endless cycle of craving for more lavish things. There no shame in striving for the better job, the bigger car, or the mansion house. However, when begin to believe that having those things will make us happy, nothing will ever be enough.

This week, take sometime to listen to your body. If it tells you it is tired, go to sleep. If you are feeling anxious, sit down, relax, and enjoy where you are right now for ten or twenty minutes. The present is only here for a limited of time. Why not try and enjoy it. After all, what is the point of always planning for the future if you never enjoy it when it comes.
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