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Focus on things within your power to better deal with feelings of anxiety

Self-validation and compassion are two keys to a happy life

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
February 24, 2022 8:20:50 am
Anxiety has taken a toll on many peoples mental health and lives. (Representative photo/ Pixabay)

Anxiety and overthinking have taken a toll on most of us. Some think it’ll get better by helping someone else, others just over-analyze a small thing and start getting anxious. The real question is why does it affect so many of us much?

Jesse Giunta Rafeh, a psychotherapist and certified success coach, shares her views in a TEDx Talk.

She says that a normal “how are you doing”, has let her clients bring up their underlying anxiety. “Over the past 15 years, I’ve noticed a generational shift in what young people think they need in their lives in order to be happy. It has shifted from buying a Benz or an expensive luxury bag for being happy to having a job or making a difference in the world.”

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She says, “These are the genuine hopes of a generation that wants to make the world a better place to live in. But what happens when big dreams meet reality anxiety, low self-worth, panic attacks, and a crippling sense of doom. It turns out big dreams get weighted down by big expectations.”

Reality has overburdened us so much that we are not able to work for our dreams. There are a lot of “shoulds” while working towards something. She gives a few instances like “…I need to have the perfect relationship but if I can’t have that then I need to have the perfect uncoupling and I need to work harder than my peers and make time for networking and cultivating hobbies…”

Jesse has a different view on why we need these internal goals or “shoulds” for happiness. “Our brains are not wired to be happy our brains are not wired to be happy; they’re wired for survival to protect us.” Many technologies and things have come up for helping with anxiety, but then more and more people are seeking help.

She says a lot of people are in a constant spiral with anxiety and say “it’s so stupid I’m having feelings about this. Why can’t I just get over it?” She says that self-reflection is important to understand the reason behind anxiety. “When we give ourselves compassion and love, that’s when we start to have a better understanding of ourselves and that’s when we can start using anxiety to our benefit.”

Although she recommends practising gratitude, but says it focuses on external factors. She explains that compassion eliminates anxiety, not gratitude, and adds, “You focus on the things within your power and within your control your cultivating self-love because the better we feel about ourselves. The more empowered and confident we become and that’s when we’re using anxiety in a productive way.”

She concludes by saying, “Instead of running from anxiety or masking it or trying to beat it into submission, is that you actually deal with it. Practicing self-appreciation allows you to see more and more of who you are and who you have the potential to be. But whether it’s through my self-appreciation practice or finding a therapist or just admitting it to a friend, you know I’m not abnormal for feeling this. I can face it. I can create change.”

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