Past is gone. Future will never come. Live in the moment or you’ll keep reciting same stories of the past that you lived in first two decades of your life.
In the last decade, as I have transitioned from a school student to university graduate to a professional in tech industry, as the number of people I've interacted with increased, the level of anxiety has increased as well. All the conversations, anticipations, waiting for messages, recreating the scenarios with biases, and creating the scenarios which never happened has all been the culprit.
But are those really the causes or the symptom of something else? All the gadgets that we use to stay connected with people in all sorts of way whether calling, messaging, or by sharing memes on social media, and the fact that we can do that any time, has lead to the issues I mentioned before. Constantly spending time on social media, has been putting pressure on a lot of us to have higher expectations from our lives. We want our lives to be in a certain way, and then we try to make things happen, but if we get even a slightest hint of things going in different direction, we start getting anxious. All the interactions whether online or offline, starts to become mechanical in an attempt to steer them.
I believe that just like how addictive dopamine is, similarly anxiety is also as addictive. We, or at least I have been subconciously trying to chase anxiety because why would you not? Normal is so boring. Calm, peace, and happiness, who wants that? Fine, I'm kidding. But I was doing just that. Once I would feel that time is healing me and suddenly I would feel a void, a void "No Drama", I would text someone toxic, or share something on social media to replace that void, in the back of my mind knowing that any of those two actions are going to lead to some kind of drama.
Meditation and notifications
I have been fairly successful in last few months in curbing this need to be indulged in some sort of drama. I've been meditating for at least 10 minutes every day, try to reflect on the feeling on restlessness that feel in the moment. This has been a game changer for me. But this is not the only thing that'll cut it in today's day and age of digital media.
You need to cut down on the notifications that you recieve. Disable the notifications from any app other than phone and messaging apps. No social media app should be able to send you any notification unless it is for your business accounts.
Apple Watch with cellular
I'm an iPhone user, so a galaxy watch would work if you are an android user. But in my experience of 3 days with apple watch, I've realised that a real smartwatch not just a fitness band, which can let you stay connected, but not let you compulsively browse social media, can allow you to cut down your smartphone usage which will reduce anxiety a lot.
One of the biggest reason of anxiety by not using iPhone for long periods of time has been "what if someone was trying to reach me in emergency?" or "did someone at office try to reach me for some critical bug while I was busy cooking a meal?" Being able to get important notifications on the wrist, and having basically a dumb phone with some smart features without the distractions of a smartphone has made me feel so free that I just don't see anything making me feel anxious anymore.
That's it for this blog post and if you feel that you've something to add to this or you have a different perspective then share it and discuss it on r/StoicHuman or go to the Reddit discussion post for this blog post linked down below.
Stay healthy, Stay safe!
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