Anxiety isn’t enjoyable. You can do breathing exercises and try to focus elsewhere, but there’s nothing that will make it enjoyable. So we should give up and be anxious, right? Wrong. We can embrace it and be anxious. The italics are for a reason. I’ll get to it. I promise. It’s what Odd Life Coaches do.

Firstly, I have to reiterate what I’ve said in other writings on beC2PK. I’m not a mental health professional. I’m not even always professional. I’m a regular guy/husband/dad/human who doesn’t want to be crappy and refers to himself as a “Pro Bono Odd Life Coach”. I share stuff that works for me. If it works for you, run with it and feel free to take credit if you like.

Photo of my oldest son, then 15, braving the half mile zipline at Toro Verde, Puerto Rico

Now, back to the italics. I pose two choices: “give up and be anxious” or “embrace it and be”. Like anything, to decide which option is best, we have to really understand what they mean. In my case, I am admittedly much more prone to bouts of anxiety than I was ten years ago. This is because I’m growing older and know there are likely fewer years beyond than behind. Another reason is the world doesn’t seem to be getting any smarter, much less learning from history’s mistakes. Finally, throw in a global pandemic, and I’ve been served up an anxiety cocktail, both stirred and violently shaken.

With this example in mind, I can “give up”, meaning I no longer see any viable option to overcome. Then, I continue to “be anxious”. No, it’s not a positive choice, but it is a possible choice. This avenue means that I can continue to live life, albeit with far less hope of positive outcomes. The second option is for me to “embrace it”, in which case I look at it in a different light. Yes, I feel anxious far more often than I want to. Instead of trying to just push anxiety away, though, I can try (and try again if necessary) to focus on why I feel anxious. People who don’t feel any anxiety aren’t more fortunate. They’re either oblivious to what’s going on around them or simply don’t care.

Yes, as odd as it sounds, anxiety is in this light a positive thing. Anxiety means we actually care about the physical world, others in it, and equally importantly, ourselves. This take us from “embrace it” to “and be”. We acknowledge anew that anxiety is crappy and unenjoyable. Nevertheless, we will continue to “be”. We’ll be children, parents, friends, and humans who embrace that we have endless feelings of uncertainty but still strive to find the why and how, in order to take care of others. In doing so, we take care of ourselves.

Have I oversimplified it? Maybe. Is this going to make anxiety any harder to deal with? No. If nothing else, this made you stop thinking about your own anxiety and focus on mine. Do you see what I did there? Now, embrace yours when it pays a visit and just keep being you. That is all.