Sciences Biology Social Science Evolution Mental Health Ecopsychology Coping with Anxiety

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For most of our first million years on earth, the word world meant your known tribal locale, and anxiety meant nothing at all, because the word anxiety came as a new label for discomfort and distress, much later.  With words we became trapped in mental constructs. Now we must connect our old and new brains to forge a new understanding of US.

Although we greatly influence what occurs in our world, we ignore it. We will only lessen our anxiety in our world, when we recognize to what degree we are all connected.   Re-discovering our ancient instincts, valuing our sensory input, and connecting it to our more recently evolved mentality is vital.

Aside from some biased news media, most of what flows into our eyes and ears is trivial celebrity stuff, contests, or displays of endurance seen on reality and entertainment shows.  Most other social messages have become intently focused upon the diversions you have built your particular lifestyle around. If you are jazz lover, your media and participation is all about jazz.  It is the same for sports, world of war craft, fashionistas, poker players, shopping, or almost anything.  We need these escapes to cope, but in the long run, when they become all that we are, they contribute to our anxiety.   We craft our “world” from them because our discomfort with the actual world borders on a knife edge of pathology. 

On the planet, most reading this have adequate air, water, food, and shelter.  Yet, in the back of every mind who reads this is, (maybe with a quiet prayer of thanks,) is the thought: “It’s such a mess out there.”  Then the sinking realization comes that there is nothing you can do. This is why not much, on a global scale, gets done.  Most of us do not know how much tremendous power we could have if we took our own power.

Our bigger primate brains, more often than not, are full of the abstract.  We rationalize, for the sake of our own self defense, that there is only so much we can do. But this leads to a deep seated sense of helplessness.  Helplessness equals hopelessness.  We internalize, and set upon automatic our daily course of just “controlling” what we can. Is there something more we can do?

Yes.  Humans can, and are, beginning to realize, that although we have been programmed for thousands of years to believe we must dominate or be dominated, we are learning this is not true. Through all sciences, and especially Sociobiology, and Evolutionary Psychology that we cannot, and do not control natural laws.  We are in fact subject to natural laws, so we cannot make more food when the resources for creating food are used up.  We are also learning that it is not us and “the other,” but only us.  Us includes animal, vegetable, gas, and mineral.  Each one flows into the other, and becomes, hydrates, fuels, or in some manner is in every atom of your being, all part of us.

 We can destroy millions of acres of forest to create room for agriculture.  That is what we did, only to then improve technology to the point where we have more people and, again, need more space.  If earth was larger, or we farmed beyond earth, we would have space for food production.  That is beyond our present science. But to limit population, to regulate greed and injustice, through public policy that balances it, is within our power.  If not, we are doomed.

Governance usually deteriorates rapidly into fights for political control.  Then the masses feel helpless once again.  We chose leaders, now the leaders are posturing for position, rather than solving the crisis of the week.  What has happened is the very people elected have become attached, centered, and addicted to that power.  They lose touch with being us.  They succumb to special rules for privilege. This always comes with a  backlash. 

We have to be aware of this to call them out of their denial, or we can just want to go back to our online gaming, to retreat to our latest obsession.  Retreat and denial are all around you. 

What is the long term answer?  It is to gain awareness, not to deny what is going on in the larger globe.  Realize you too are part of nature, and realize that you cannot trust the abstract, your neo-cortical stressing, worrying, fretting, and retreating into a cocoon of denial.  This just makes us more helpless and hopeless, reinforcing a feeling of powerlessness.  To realize you’re a global citizen is tricky.  Going green is all the rage, for example.  We are easily tricked into believing that buying “green” stuff will solve the problem. Buying, consuming, is not an answer, not even becoming an activist, is the answer.  Knowing, and being aware, is the answer.  Then you will do, you will live, with a sense of how every tiny choice is connected to war, pollution, and climate change and starvation, or, peace, clean energy, and abundance. We must return to reality therapy awareness, over and over again.

Consciousness and knowing we are responsible for our consciousness is key.  We are not sheep, but deploy defense mechanisms and are easily led to think we are.  An indication that you are being led, or mis-led, is when you are told someone else has the answers the world needs, and you just need to go along with their program, and do as you are told.

When you feel powerful, you are powerful.  When you feel you make an impact, you do. Many will say, “No amount of good deeds I do is going to save us, as long as ‘so and so,’ continues on as they are now.  The “so and so” cited could be almost anything: China, South America, the power of religion, racism, sexism, socialism, communism, or even capitalism.  There is no “ism” because it is a mental lumping  together of “OTHER” which represents in your mind the rationalization that is always, someone else, something else, and not you who affects your life.  Making this connection, to all, eliminates the excuse of blaming the non-us.  There is no non us.

United, connected, we are not helpless. To all those who say change can never come, change will never come.  They have handed over their locus of control, as it’s known in Psychology, to some external entity.

When we see that people, only humans, create these abstract thought traps, which make up these and other entities, we begin to take control of lessening anxiety in the world. To those of us willing to release arrogance, who will listen to evolutionary attuned senses, whole brain reception, and not just mental chatter, there is a reunion with the sensual aspects of earth life.  This is why we are innately drawn to the shore, the woods, and the hills.  Here we recognize belonging in the astonishing diversity and interwoven relationships that sustain us.  Awareness feels rewarded.  Here is sustenance and hope.

More about this author: Christyl Rivers

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