Here is a lovely quote from Kahlil Gibran: “Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.” soo so close. I thought as it has been a theme in my office this week, Clients with anxiety as well as my own anxiety about uncertainty, that It might useful to discuss.

Firstly, people often come to therapy because they want to get rid of anxiety because it is negative. So I wish to remove that stigma first. Anxiety feels difficult and it is a strong reaction, but to call it negative is to lose sight of its benefits. So, let’s start there. Natural anxiety is all bout staying safe, it is about experiencing novelty, and having enough energy and alertness until we know we are safe. If you come to see me, then during your first appointment you are likely to feel some anxiety. Partly that is about not knowing me, not knowing where my office is, not knowing if there is a toilet and where that is, not knowing where to park etc. Once you know me and the environment the novelty is gone, and so is your anxiety. Anxiety is clearly about understanding and being understood.

On to neurotic anxiety. If I have another emotion and I do not express it, invariably that emotion, or rather the energy I created to express it will become anxiety. It has to go somewhere, and as it is not being expressed it swirls around and around… we have all been there. So for this one, breathe into the anxiety and ask it what it is, the original feeling must be expressed, and then it will clear.  Presumably, there was an issue with the original feeling, or it would have been expressed at the moment, so perhaps there is a rule underpinning why you couldn’t express it. Do some exercise, then book an appointment with a good therapist to look at how you prevented yourself from being (insert emotion here) in the first place.

Thirdly. If I think about the future, I create energy to deal with whatever I fantasise about. So let’s imagine I have to confront my partner about something when I get home. If I imagine a row, I will create energy to deal with the row. But the row is imagined, it hasn’t happened, that energy I created to have a fight has to go somewhere, so it’s likely to be transformed into anxiety. Alternatively, it may come out sideways and I may pick a fight with someone else. In this instance I have to tell myself, “this is all fantasy, come back to now, right now there is no fight.” in doing so I come back to the here and now, where there is no neurotic anxiety. But now I created energy for a fight, I’m going to have to walk it off…

Lastly, in my experience, there is another anxiety, which is also about the future. Existential anxiety. But I’m not going to begin talking about that now. Far too big for the time remaining.