Everyday anxieties – is it just me or do most people have them?

Everyday anxieties – is it just me or do most people have these?

To clarify, I’m not talking the level of anxiousness which (thankfully) only happens every so often and forces me into cold sweats and an irrational panic. I’m talking about the peculiar little everyday occurrences which shouldn’t cause concern and prey on my mind but actually do. To hopefully explain what I’m talking about, everyday anxieties in my life include:

  • Getting ready for meetings.
    • I don’t know why this is as I attend lots each week and though I’m more comfortable than I was 5-10 years ago, I still frequently feel a mild sense of panic and a sense of imposter syndrome, in addition to a fear that I’m going to look foolish or come across as not knowing the subject matter well enough. All nonsensical thoughts but ones I just can’t shake.
  • Discussions / phone calls with strangers – cold callers, energy suppliers, people I need to call on the phone, window cleaners, potential clients. Basically, most conversations with strangers (and, in some cases, with people I know).
    • This is the entry on this list I find most ridiculous and yet I just can’t banish the feeling I get. It is utterly ludicrous. Why would I rather not answer the door on 4 out of 5 occasions when the bell rings? Why, when talking to anyone during situations where I should be in control, whether in person or over the phone, do I tend to remain ridiculously self-conscious and edgy? Why can I not just always address the matter in hand in a confident manner and not get tongue-tied, or leave a conversation replaying every single element back in my mind in order to pick apart the flaws and highlight what a schmuck I’ve been? I wish I knew the answer, I really do.
  • Health worries when there may not necessarily be any reason to be concerned.
    • I’ve never been a hypochondriac and would like to think I never will be, though this also preys on my mind, perhaps because I’m hurtling toward 50 much faster than I’d care to admit and, somewhat morbidly, am now more conscious than ever of my own mortality. Suddenly, the need to eat healthier, exercise more, drink less and get more sleep appear to be more important than ever. Consequently, I also get more concerned than I possibly should whenever certain ailments occur.
  • Having too much to do / not having ticked off enough items from my daily to-do list.
    • I realise this one may sound bizarre to most, and it is purely of my own making, but the good old to-do list can be both a blessing and a curse. On the plus side, I need the list. I have lots I want to achieve in life and I couldn’t commit it all to memory. The list keep things nice, tidy, and help me to prioritise tasks. On the downside, the list is long and I feel I have to tick off entries every day. If I do, everything is fine. If I don’t, for instance if I have a lazy day or just don’t have the drive one day, I feel as though I’ve failed / wasted time / underachieved.
  • Achieving a suitable balance in life, primarily relating to work, immediate family, friends, and my own priorities).
    • I feel truly blessed every day. I have a wonderful family, an amazing group of friends, a good job working with decent people, and lots of hobbies, interests and ambitions that are really important to me. The only downside to this is that achieving a suitable balance can be difficult. The job is full-time; I simply have to do my best to be a good husband and dad; I need to devote necessary and important time to my family; I need to ensure I see my friends on a regular basis (or at least communicate with them regularly); and I need to devote time to my hobbies and interests on a daily basis. That isn’t easy to do on an ongoing basis. I like to think I manage it most of the time, though I’m still conscious of needing to make a supercharged effort to do so. If I feel I’m lagging at any point, it’s another instance where I feel I’ve failed.
  • Social media etiquette.
    • Again, this may seem bizarre to some people and I’m really intrigued to hear if others feel the same way, but social media can cause anxiety. Social media is both fantastic and dangerous in equal measure, yet most of us continue with it, despite it having a tendency to distort the truth and make us conjure up issues where there aren’t any. How many of us crave likes, shares and comments whenever we post something new, keeping a keen eye on progress and wondering what the issue is if there is little interaction, despite the simple facts being that there isn’t an issue – it’s just that this particular post may not have resonated with that many people? How many of us are casually fed examples of the perfect lives others are leading, when deep down, we know that really isn’t the case? How many of us feel obliged to respond to pretty much every post we see as we worry that friends/contacts will be offended if we don’t? How many of us spend way too much time scrolling on a daily basis as a result of that most modern of issues – FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), despite there being little of actual importance to see? One example that particularly bothers me is the sharing and promoting of friend’s pages / businesses, particularly if I know of more than one relating to a particular theme. For example, I know a few bakers / cake makers; 2 or 3 music tutors; and more than one photographer. I strongly believe that it’s vitally important to share details of fledgling businesses and try to help wherever possible. It’s important to respond to those ‘please like and follow my page’ posts as they really do matter. But how will the other friends feel if I promote a page or post that could be seen as being from a competitor? Will it look like I’m favouring one over the other? This bothered me for a long time but these days I take a different approach. I believe that most of my friends and contacts are decent people and will therefore hopefully appreciate that I like to support everyone I know who is trying to establish a business or side-hustle. There is no favouritism and no preferential treatment; simply a desire to help people get along and better themselves.

I conducted a little research on this and the website www.NHS.uk does recognise this as a specific condition – Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). This is a long-term condition that causes people to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event. A specific link to the page can be found here if you’d like to read more. As with most mental health issues, there are varying degrees to this, many much more serious than what I have described in this post. This should not be taken lightly – it is clearly a serious issue so please do seek help if any of the details on the website sound familiar to you.

To conclude, in writing this post, I got to thinking about why I might be affected by the things I’ve written about here, albeit it to a relatively minor degree. I certainly don’t believe I have GAD though I do believe my thinking relates back to the core issues I’ve written about in many previous posts, namely a lack of confidence, low self-esteem, being body conscious, and worrying what people are thinking about me. I also believe being an introvert at heart contributes to this. I am a huge contradiction in terms in that I find people endlessly fascinating, yet I am also very happy in my own company, or certainly away from crowds. This certainly plays a part in influencing my thinking on a daily basis. Everyday anxieties don’t ruin my life – far from it in fact – though they figure on pretty much a daily basis and I doubt they’ll ever completely disappear. I’m certain I’m not alone in this.

As always, thanks for reading and take care.

Mick

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