Are You Anxious About the State of the World?

Are You Anxious About the State of the World? November 2, 2016

Many people today are anxious about the state of the world. They find their global anxiety affecting their everyday lives. Here are some suggestions for dealing with that anxiety:

  1. Don’t participate fully in modern culture. You can be an active, concerned citizen of your nation and the world without giving yourself entirely to the values of modern life.  You can be eccentric, not fully part of the crowd. You could be part recluse or in other ways resist the enticements of the society,
  2. Get your news from a fresh, intelligent source. You can use the Internet for your own individuality by looking for penetrating news analysis from an especially good source anywhere in the world.
  3. Intensify your relationship with the natural world. Nature offers a stable base for your everyday life. Wherever you live, seek out a special place where you can retreat often. Nature gives a more expansive view of time. Part of this new world anxiety comes from not having a broad sense of history, which in turn might give you some peace, knowing that current conditions always change.
  4. Contemplate eternal things.  Meditate or find other ways to stay in touch with the great universe of which you are a part. Participate in any spiritual rituals that suit you and give you a vast perspective. Anxiety comes in part from too narrow a point of view.
  5. Concentrate on your world—your work, your friendships, your home and activities that give you joy and relaxation. You can live a satisfying life even if the world around you is going through a transformative phase in which it is corrupting and falling apart.
  6. Make the arts part of your life. Any of the arts, especially those that suit you in particular, deepen your point of view and activate emotions that are timeless. They usually bring your attention toward profound issues that really matter, instead of the passive political scene.
  7. Make your own unique contribution, however small, to your times and your world.  If your world is in trouble or going through rough passages, you can find satisfaction from getting involved in causes important to you. They don’t have to aim at fixing the problem that makes you anxious but only make the world a better place.  It may be important for you to do something constructive.


Augustus Saint-Gaudens
Augustus Saint-Gaudens

Sometimes anxiety comes from feeling the victim of events. In that case it may be a form of masochism, not having enough power and letting leaders dominate you rather than lead. You may feel that you have no power to change things, but that feeling is probably an aspect of your habit of relating to power. You may typically give away too much control to others and feel world events as overwhelming you.

If you are feeling victimized, the best thing to do is to two-pronged: Find deeper ways to submit: for example, to the will of God or to the Tao, the way things go in life.  You can find effective power through greater submission. The second part of this is to get in touch with your own strength. Again, it doesn’t have to be in direct relationship with the issue that is worrying you but with your own personal strength. Have some power in your own world, and anxiety about the world in general can find its relative importance in your life.

Of course, you can always transform anxiety about the world situation into active efforts to make the world a better place. Whoever you are, you can always use your imagination to have an impact on the very issues that concern you. Maybe you haven’t been active or used your voice to change what you see as negative and dangerous. Sometimes the smallest act that comes from deep in the heart can move people enough to initiate change.

Throughout your anxiety you can cultivate a larger vision and dedicate yourself even more to values that you cherish. Hiding or being too quiet only makes the anxiety worse, because those postures are weak. Anxiety can express your weakness and failure to tap into your strength. Like everyone else, you have your own sources of power that can transform anxiety into action.

Social activism has a broad range and takes many forms. Be active in ways that suit you, ways that may not always look so active but have the potential to change minds. Your passion, linked to your intelligence and expressed in ways that are natural to you, can change the world.

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