Fear In A Handful Of Dust – Understanding The Anxious Mindby David Zahl on Oct 9, 2009 • 5:02 pm 1 Comment
From this past weekend’s NYTimes Magazine, a lengthy article called “Understanding The Anxious Mind”, mainly looking at anxiety as an innate/inborn temperament. It’s all very fascinating – at least until the conclusion, where author conjectures about the so-called “evolutionary advantages” of anxiety… Some worthy quotes:
Anxiety is not fear, exactly, because fear is focused on something right in front of you, a real and objective danger. It is instead a kind of fear gone wild, a generalized sense of dread about something out there that seems menacing — but that in truth is not menacing, and may not even be out there. If you’re anxious, you find it difficult to talk yourself out of this foreboding; you become trapped in an endless loop of what-ifs. “I was flesh bereft of spirit,” wrote the journalist Patricia Pearson in A Brief History of Anxiety (Yours and Mine).
There exists a kind of sub-rosa anxiety, a secret stash of worries that continue to plague a subset of high-reactive people no matter how well they function outwardly. They cannot quite outrun their own natures: consciously or unconsciously, they remain the same uneasy people they were when they were little.
[One study found] that the best fit for high-strung babies were sensitive mothers, who met their fearful children on their own terms and interacted with them in a way that was accepting and supportive without being intrusive.
“I joke a lot about my anxiety,” wrote a young woman named Brittany on the group blog We Worry, part of a thriving community of anxiety blogs. “And there are times I do find it funny. I can do this because there is that voice in my head that tells me what I’m worrying about is irrational. But then I worry about worrying about irrational things. It is a never-ending cycle.”
While we’re at it, and in lieu of a weekend roundup, be sure to take a look at Why We Do Dumb Or Irrational Things – 10 Brilliant Social Psychology Studies. A veritable motherlode of sermon illustrations (ht JDK).
Or get in touch.