Understanding Anxiety: Introduction

We live in a world that inundates us with health information, whether it’s the foods we should eat or avoid, the exercise fads we should follow, or, perhaps more seriously, the latest prescription drugs we’re advised to “ask your doctor about.” While some of this may be helpful, the constant reminders of what might be wrong create unnecessary anxiety. Yet the same sources of information advise us to avoid anxiety and stress, which are both implicated in disease.

Understanding Anxiety

Ideally anxiety, like any other symptom, should be a useful indication of an internal imbalance, not an externally induced sense of free-floating dis-ease. Information that merely provokes anxiety disempowers us if we hastily follow the advice of others before listening to our own inner promptings.

I’ve provided some chapters here from my book on anxiety, called “Don’t Worry” Understanding Anxiety. The Victims of Advice chapter uses the catch phrase “don’t worry” to illustrate a point about unwelcome advice.

Why is it we’re susceptible to advice even when it’s not in our interest? The group of chapters called The Everyday World explores why we fail to recognize and listen to our inner experience. They explain how our everyday world — a product of language, culture, and the historical moment — is so taken-for-granted that it’s almost invisible. Once we understand this, and become aware of our unconscious assumptions, we can choose to become “unstuck.” Like the transformations brought about by bodywork, we become more open to change and to our unlimited possibilities.

Understanding Anxiety Chapters

1 Victims of Advice

The Everyday World

2 The World from Scratch

3 Recipe Knowledge

4 Changing Reality

5 Worry: The Need to Know

6 Anxiety: The World as Chaos

7 What You Don’t Know