Ten beautiful thoughts against anxiety and fear (Part 1)

Ten beautiful thoughts against anxiety and fear (Part 1)

In this and next article I decided to group ten beautiful thoughts against anxiety and fear that can help you build, step by step, the resilience you need to go through your most difficult emotions and come out stronger, especially in this period full of uncertainties.

Do you deny anxiety and fear or face everything they involve? To face an emotion is to open the nameless room that terrifies us precisely because we do not know what it is hiding. The symptoms are both mental and physical and it's the body itself that speaks through chest blocked, exhausting breathing, heart gone mad, a thousand thrills on the skin... You freeze, you can't act. The freezing of reactions and emotions is one of the effects studied by psychology in relation to fear. It is a real state of paralysis that can occur in the presence of a highly traumatic event. In the animal world it constitutes a defensive tactic dictated by survival instinct. Yes, because fear is connected to the deepest level of our original drives. Live or die.

Fear marks a salvific limit because it is alert to danger but, beware, an overdose can be just as lethal: it can literally make you go haywire. When the sense of panic spreads then you can no longer reason and you get lost: in front of you is only the dark desolate wasteland of uncontrolled anxiety.

Maybe that's why in ancient fairy tales and thriller movies the places of fear have always been places where we can't see and touch what's in front of us: dark woods, kingdoms of fog and night, the darkness that swallows everything. Approaching that territory of darkness is the act of courage needed to unmask Bluebeard's secret little door: the only way to survive is to get inside it and see what fear is made of, give it a name, contextualize it. Even breathing it.

Here are 5 of the 10 beautiful thoughts against anxiety and fear.

1. You are not born strong, you become.

A new born being seems the most vulnerable thing ever seen, yet in itself it already has great strength, the same indomitable tenacity that has allowed each cell to remain attached to existence from the first heartbeat. While his mother is still licking him, the young foal is already trying to stand up laboriously: he succeeds, in a very short time, and a couple of hours after birth he is already there, alone, wavering and in precarious balance, ready to support his weight.

We human beings need more time to take our first steps and perhaps even more time to feel that we can do it. And yet, day after day, we are here: still alive, still standing despite everything. Remember this, today you are stronger than yesterday.

"The strongest souls are those tempered by suffering. The strongest characters are covered with scars." - Khalil Gibran.

2. Fear is the school to learn from.

The sense of danger is what helps to define the limit towards which you can push yourself and within which you must stop: it is a deep, atavistic instinct, and it is part of our evolution because in history, and every day, it allows us to survive. It is fear that stops us, that blocks our feet on a stop sign, that pulls us back.

Who is never afraid is a dead man. When we don't feel fear, our safety is at stake. That's why it's important to honour fear. At one time, rites of passage were used for this: learning to walk with one's fears means learning to listen to the message they are bringing us and to move forward with the truth of our deepest emotions. It is not by denying them, but by accepting fear and anxiety that I can learn and make new discoveries.

"What am I afraid of? I am afraid... that fear will pass in vain, without leaving behind a change" - Paolo Giordano.

3. The courage to do the right thing is always stronger.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, called Mahatma, Great Soul, in 1880 is a young and shy student, not too fond of sport and avid reader of books. The head of the community where he was born, the coastal city of Porbandar, will declare him a "pariah", excluded from his own society, yet this young man will not hesitate to leave alone to a totally unknown city: London. The young Gandhi goes to discover the other side of the world, meeting a culture totally distant from his own. He will remain a shy, resigned-looking person, yet what each of his photographs conveys is a clear and direct gaze that does not retreat one step.

We are all afraid. The difference is the courage to do the things that matter to us. Gandhi will travel through South Africa and India: his mild, resigned look and his frank gaze will become synonymous with an inner strength that is character, stance, authority that comes from the soul. This is the true strength; it needs a few words because it is pure action.

"A better planet is a dream that begins to come true when each of us decides to improve ourselves"- Gandhi.

4. When fear is chasing you, turn around and look it in the face.

When we are very young our fears take shape in places that are usually dark territory: the black man lives in the cellar, that dark corner at the end of the corridor, the closet. The shadow escapes, it has a thousand faces and even as children we realize that this is where the danger lies. For centuries, millennia, the greatest danger for survival has been hidden in the unknown.

What we do not know represents a visceral and ancient fear, almost impossible to eradicate or ignore. Do not be ashamed of your fears, of the anxiety that sometimes makes you wake up at night. The anxiety attack today is a condition that has been studied, psychiatricized and sometimes too medicalized. But anxiety is not a lightning bolt that strikes the most vulnerable: anxiety and fear are part of the human condition; they are a space that we all have to go through. The feeling has been taught us by the history of cinema: two eyes that observe and follow you, the perception that someone is after you. We need to find the courage to turn around and look fear in the face means discovering what our most secret fears are made of.

"Always remember that monsters don't die. What dies is the fear that incites you" - Cesare Pavese.

5. Every fear disappears if it is to defend the one you love.

On April 30, 1977 fourteen women gathered in the Plaza de Mayo, the central square of Buenos Aires: they are the mothers of the desaparecidos and every week they will meet in the same place to ask the government the fate of their imprisoned children, disappeared, literally swallowed up by the machine of power. Every week, for years. To tell the world that it cannot be forgotten: the memory lives on.

The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo become a page of history. Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, AsociaciĆ³n Civil Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, is currently a humanitarian association that participated in 2008 in the nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. What visceral and total fear is it possible to feel while fighting against the means of a power as strong as dictatorship? And what strength can arise when you fight for something and someone who goes beyond you?

"Love must have the strength to draw certainty from itself. Then it will not be dragged but will drag." -Hermann Hesse.

These were the first 5 beautiful thoughts against fear and anxiety. In the next article I will present the other 5 beautiful thoughts hoping that they will help you feel better in this delicate period when many of our certainties are being put to the test. Let us know in the comments if you and your language exchange friends liked these thoughts and which is your favourite.

Written by: Martina Sassi, Staff Writer

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