Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pre-election Anxiety

I despise most articles of advice for success mainly because I am not convinced that the thing they are trying to achieve is an admirable goal in the first place. Also if I had the inclination to do those things I'd probably be on that path already, but mostly I don't really value the mainstream constituents of typical success, ie children and sybaritic pursuits. So motivational advice just annoys me for being closed minded about what constitutes achievement.

But I came across this enlightened list of advice last weekend before Sandy hit. I've read it over so many times I decided to share it. I love that it helps me with something I've sort of fallen into naturally lately. It shows me that I can improve my worrying and proceed more elegantly to anxiety perfection. Tips for Obsessing from @pourmecoffee's Mom (click this link to send traffic to the source. I tried a lot of ways to block quote it, with the original formatting, without, and finally decided since not that many people read my blog I won't affect traffic negatively from the original. I want this text for my future reference in case that cool workflowy blog site goes away one day.)

Key Concepts
• Blur.
Focus is the enemy of anxiety. Learn to blur reality and see life as a super-massive whirling tornado of bitter defeat -- always savagely churning just over the hill, inexorably headed straight for you, and about which there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop or even influence. Always keep your eyes set softly on the horrible horizon.
• Find connections.
It can be difficult to effectively worry about a large number of discrete items. You can easily forget or confuse some, thereby lessening the negative feelings associated with your angst. To maximize your unease, draw connections among and between the subjects of your anxiety. How will each of them negatively impact people you love? Is it possible all of them are your fault? Find dotted and straight lines to draw your own frightful web of woe. Do the work.
• Establish themes.
Bad things happen to good people is not a lament; it's a coda. If you value your worrying, treat it as high art and work to establish a thematic nervous cohesion unique to you. What is the essence of your obsessing? Bitterness? Rage? Despair? Dig deep. Find a signature brand of fearfulness that flows from and through you, feeding from and into the mighty river of human anxiety.
• Build your network.
Surrounding yourself with positive, well-adjusted people can shine a light on your sadness and turn your paralysis into positive action. Don't let this happen to you. Find people who reinforce your negativity and harmonize your voices into a joyless song of sorrow.
• Think globally, obsess locally.
Don't limit yourself to problems in your area or that you have anything to do with or can do anything at all about. Open yourself up to a world of nightmarish potential outcomes. Treat the world's problems like exchange students -- invite them into your home to live with you and become part of your family of fear.

"But Beachton," you are likely saying, "What do you possibly have to stress out about?! You never have to interact with people, you are working your mind with constant problem solving of a rewarding nature. There is no way you could reduce stress in your life more than you already have!"

Exactly. Yet I am gripped by a constant empathetic angst these days. I'm sort of hoping it's just the election. I suppose a week from now I will either be hugely relieved and will look forward to being able to buy health insurance in about a year, or I will be thrown into a pit of deep despair imagining a weather stricken world without FEMA. Or nothing will happen at all and I will face the fact that I have a crappy signal to noise ratio in my brain. When I disconnect the input my sensitivity is so good I just get a lot of static.

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