What if this was easy and fun?
What if this was easy and fun? I ask this question all the time now. I use it as an antidote to anxiety. Anxiety is fear about the future, fear about things that haven’t happened, may never happen.
That is the core absurdity of anxiety. It is fear of a thing that is not presently menacing you. A hypothetical lion/tiger/bear. This is not what fear is for. Fear evolved for actual lions/tigers/bears.
I felt genuine fear a couple months ago. I was in Rainier National Park, solo hiking on a mountainside. I took a moment to sit by a beautiful little mountain lake. I wrote in my journal about how blissed out I felt. Then I looked up: FUCKING BEAR! About 200 feet away, strolling around the edge of the lake.
I felt an instantaneous lurch in my gut, my heartbeat revved up, and I started packing my backpack before my conscious mind caught up.
It was the only legitimate, old-fashioned fear I’ve felt in a long time. ACTUAL DANGER! FIGHT, FLIGHT! (I chose flight).
But then, I took a breath. This was not a big bear. This was a smallish black bear. This bear was eating blueberries. I remembered that black bears are not generally aggressive. I watched the bear for about 10 minutes. The bear wandered closer, closer, then bumbled off into the woods.
So, outside of bear encounters, ask yourself the question: What if this was easy and fun? A silly prompt, yes. Maybe not that practical. But a useful reframing, a check on the anxiety machine. Also sometimes things really are easy and fun.
Evan Wagoner-Lynch is sponsored by Standard Rainbow