"A clinical counsellor on Vancouver Island says it's natural to feel anxious in light…
So many of us these days are simply busy, busy, busy! It can be overwhelming, the amount of things that need to happen. This could be at work, or in your family life, or even recreationally (think- getting ready for a camping trip, or a journey). But the funny thing is that most of us seem to respond to these endless to-do lists as if they were super urgent and critical, sometimes to the extent that other things, and people such as family and friends, suffer the consequences.
Some people can go to the extremes of neglecting family members and obligations, even completely letting go of their own hopes, aspirations and wishes. This can happen due to an inclination towards responding to life sitautions, and behaving and believing, that it’s (whatever ‘it’ is) an emergency! Folks sometimes justify this by thinking that if they are not doing and/or working at that ‘something-that-is-currently-urgent’, it simply will not ever get completed or done.
For example, a parent of a couple of children may get stressed out and anxious about the appearance or tidiness of the house. It can be really tough if you think that the house has to look a particular way before leaving for the day, it’s like the house has to look perfect. For some people, this is such as driving force that they are compelled, behave and do whatever it takes to have it done in a particular manner. Some will also use medication to try to reduce their level of discomfort and anxiety about the matter. It’s as if people really think that it’s of vital and critical importance for this thing (whatever it might be) to be in a particular way. So much so that it creates tension, within themselves and around them. The unspoken assuption underlying this is that somehow it’s of critical importance and is thus an emergency.
It is likely that most of us, myself included, have turned something into a big deal, and into a kind of life-emergency. We take ourselves so seriously that we tend to forget to have fun along the way, completely neglecting to give ourselves a bit of slack and wiggle room about certain things. We take the preferences we have for/about something (ie., a tidy house), and turn them into conditions and measurements for happiness. If we don’t meet those conditions, or worse, if others don’t meet those conditions, then we tend to either get critical and hard on ourselves and those around us (ie., getting grumpy because the house is not tidy, and being grumpy to others around us).
The first step is to know that you might have some preferences that have turned into a life-condition. These conditions are the source of our imagined emergencies, and it is ourselves that create these emergencies that can be so negatively plaguing. Life will probably go on (just fine) if things don’t work in just the exact way we’d prefer.
So the next time you might be getting worked up about something because it is not a particular way, keep reminding yourself, over-and-over that “life is not an emergency”.