Anxiety + books

My tendency for buying books and half reading them is not necessarily a demonstration of procrastination on my part. Numerous sources (including most recently an episode for Tim Ferriss's podcast by Naval Ravikant) have sited reading multiple books at a time - reading them when they serve you and depending on what mood you are in. I have a couple of books that I've been jumping in between for a while now and have just come across a line from Russ Harris's The Happiness Trap that I wanted to share with you.

"All of us, at times, avoid challenges in order to escape the stress or anxiety that goes with them."

I can say that I have found this to be true for myself. I can also say that through avoidance of my feelings, over long periods of time, I have become increasingly anxious. The whole point of avoiding challenging circumstances is to avoid anxiety. So I'm clearly missing the mark! Anxiety it is an inevitable human emotion that does not need to be paid much attention, other that to accept it.

I am getting better at recognising these patterns of thought and am eased by the way The Happiness Trap explains them. This book helps you understand that many of your thoughts are part of an evolutionary process and are strongly linked to your natural instinct to survive.

Now that humans have evolved, some instincts are misplaced. For example, you may fear writing a blog (a book, a script - anything) because instinctually your brain thinks of all the possible outcomes which includes the horrendous possibility that no one, in a worlds full of billions of people, will like your writing. And if no one likes it, therefore no one likes you. And if no one likes you, then they don't want you in their society. And if you're not part of society, then you die. Good old brain doesn't realise that you won't actually, literally, physically DIE if no one liked your work.

So now I'm just hanging out for Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert to come out! She (apparently) talks a bit about fear + creativity - coz if I didn't already make it apparent, I am afraid. Afraid that my writing isn't good enough but even more so, that I will never reach for anything with my writing because it makes me anxious.

But fuq it.  Year of Doing and all.

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