“I have now, and have had since this afternoon, a great yearning to write all my anxiety entirely out of me, write it into the depths of the paper just as it comes out of the depths of me, or write it down in such a way that I could draw what I had written into me completely.”
— Franz Kafka
Whenever something is bothering me, and I am overcome with running thoughts, the best way to relieve that anxiety is to write my thoughts down. Afterwards, I almost always feel better and the running thoughts subside. Simply writing about my fears and worries helps in easing them. Why is that?
The most valuable ability of humans—what separates us from other species—is our ability to predict the future. To anticipate the repercussions of our actions. To imagine potential consequences. To plan for the future. Prediction is what makes humans more intelligent and thereby more successful at survival than other animals. Likewise those humans who are best at prediction are more successful in life than their fellow humans.
Consciousness, or what makes humans human, is inherently tied to imagination. Imagination allows you to predict possible futures before they happen—be it what a predator such as a tiger will do (harm you), what a rock could turn into (a tool), or what a seed could become if you plant it (food). That type of future-thinking birthed agriculture and civilization, and it all stemmed from imagination—imagining what not yet is but could be. No other species can do that (that we know of).
I’ve mentioned meditation and its benefits many times on this blog, but I’ve never devoted an entire post to explaining exactly what meditation is and how and why it works. So this is that. Continue reading →
Anxiety is a product of imagination. We imagine potential scenarios in which all sorts of negative things might happen. This can manifest in various types of anxiety, such as a fear of flying: imagining all they ways a plane might crash. Or a fear of heights, spiders, confined places, etc. It’s the same with the type of fear I struggled with: social anxiety. Continue reading →
The term “overthinking” seems to have been stigmatized by society as a bad thing. Why is that? To think is to be human. Thinking is literally consciousness, or self-awareness, the most cherished of human traits. Some people think less and are less self-aware than others; therefore, they are less conscious. They are more animalistic and act on gut and instincts rather than thinking of the consequences to their actions. That’s certainly not good. Prisons are full of people like this. Continue reading →
Anxiety is a sign of intelligence because anxiety is essentially imagining the future. That’s how humans became so intelligent compared to other species. We developed an ability to imagine the future—to see different factors and anticipate something to happen before it does. As a result, we were able to set traps to kill prey. And realize if we plant a seed today, crops will grow weeks or months later. Or predict that we will fall if we step off a steep cliff. Imagination is possibly even the origin of consciousness itself. Continue reading →