Recently I’ve been asked this question really frequently by various people.
“I’m always stressed out or anxious about various things that are happening in my life! How do I become less anxious?”
Often, what people really mean by this question is: “Is there a quick fix to get rid of stress and anxiety because I really, really hate it! Plus, I want to keep doing things the way I’ve been doing them, even though I know somewhere in the corner of my mind that it’s what’s slowly killing me.”
I’ve usually hmmm’d and haaaaah’d over these questions because the answer is not simple. In fact, the answer to these kinds of questions is…bulky.
So I got to thinking about how to explain the answer (and solution) to people. It starts with an explanation, so brace yourself.
One feature of anxiety is about trying to predict and control the unpredictable and uncontrollable – an endeavor set to fail. We end up in a pattern of predicting and planning that provokes more anxiety, which in turn drives us to plan and predict some more.
It becomes an Orob-Orus Worm forever biting its own tail.
Another way of looking at anxiety is that it’s a futile and excruciating way of trying to control the Whole of Life. No prices for guessing how that’ll turn out.
A (Maybe) Better Way
Instead of trying to control every aspect of life, let me offer another approach based on what I’ve learnt from my clients and on my own. I’ve searched for a way to put it together and something from my home island of Singapore seems to do nicely.
For those of us “privileged” to be drafted into the Singaporean military services, we would be extremely familiar with the acronym: F.B.O.
It’s an acronym for Full Battle Order (not read as “FOB” please!) and is the soldier’s best friend. What it is, is a basic and personalized pack of tools and resources we carry with us, enabling us to be agile, mobile and survive in really, really tough conditions.