The Anxiety Balance sheet

I wanted to post this a while back but procrastination got me. The downside is that now i don't remember the source of this insight & am too lazy to Google for an answer. The balance sheet however is lucid enough to be easily deciphered. 


All of us are faced with situations that make us anxious & worried about what's coming for us. Those of us in   responsible positions face this even more than the rest. I have been searching for a practical method that can help me sail through these situations. I tried applying serenity prayer, reading Matthew, going through the recommended verses of Bhagvad Gita, but couldn't convert either of these insights into a meaningful process that can be easily emulated whenever the beast roars. 

Then i came across this anxiety balance sheet. The diagram below describes the quadrant approach :
The positive sign indicates things that are in my control. The process is simple:

  • List down items under each quadrant
  • Find people or resources who can help you move items from negative quadrants to positive quadrants
Here are some basic equations that dig deeper into the "control" issue -

DESPAIR = SUFFERING – MEANING
HAPPINESS = WANTING WHAT YOU HAVE / HAVING WHAT YOU WANT
ANXIETY = UNCERTAINTY x POWERLESSNESS
CURIOSITY = WONDER + AWE

The idea behind this is simple. We have to increase happiness & curiosity. 
We feel powerless about situations that we don't understand and uncertain about those that are not in our control. Our World offers a variety of solutions that promise meaning & understanding but most of them are fairy tales that con us into a barter system. At the end of the day there is only one person who knows most about you and that's you. Most of these "tested, tried" solutions secretly discourage the second pillar of happiness - curiosity, by offering ready-made explanations that are not to be dissected by reason. Most of these solutions are driven by fear of facing the simple truth. I believe that happiness & curiosity go hand in hand. To quench curiosity by accepting an explanation that cannot be understood by reason or  proven by scientific inquiry is to deny the ecstacy of figuring out how something works after a series of trials. It is to deny the awe of appreciating something without knowing how or why.  Emptiness & anxiety follow soon. 


Next time you are facing a situation that makes you anxious or indecisive, fill this balance sheet & go for a long walk. 

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