We anxious folk are a strange bunch. We get so consumed by small-mindedness – we can become so easily absorbed by our own small little worlds that we become like rag dolls in a storm, constantly tossed around by the waves of life.
So in the spirit of Youtube personality J.P Sears, here are 15 easy steps to becoming more anxious. I’ve done almost all of these, and chances are you have too!
- Define your core identity by things that you could lose. Health, relationships, money, success, social status, sexual desirability, family, friends, career. Whenever you receive a blessing, hold onto it very tightly, because without it, you’re just dirt.
- Pretend that you don’t have any emotional baggage. Don’t break a sweat by reflecting on your past, your influences or your underlying beliefs. Just remember that if you’re worried about something, it’s entirely, 100% because of what’s happening right now, and your beliefs about it have nothing to do with it.
- Continue to make no changes to your chaotic lifestyle. Keep drinking lots of coffee, especially in the afternoon. After all, how else are you supposed to get through the day? If you have an energy slump, make sure to eat plenty of sugar and genetically modified foods. When you get home from work, head straight to Netflix and social media. But don’t get back from work too early – make sure you’re taking on extra responsibility to try and impress your boss. Because nobody else is doing that.
- Isolate yourself from trusted loved ones. Don’t create a support network and friends that you’re accountable to. Don’t catch up regularly on your days off. Who has time for that? Time is money, they’re probably busy anyway. Bonus points – then complain that nobody loves you.
- Put up emotional walls between you and your loved ones to avoid deep and intimate relationships. Let’s face it, having buddies is OK, but the deep stuff? That’s scary. What if they judge you or think you’re weird?
- Become preoccupied with small things that you can control, as a bandaid for your real problems. Develop OCD and perfectionism. Make sure you nitpick, find fault with yourself in everything you do, because it HAS TO BE PERFECT!
- Convince yourself that everyone in the room is secretly judging you, and that they actually don’t respect you at all. This will develop feelings of suspicion, social anxiety, and insecurity, which will prompt you to go home early. Success.
- Keep your mind constantly overstimulated through social media. Avoid things like quiet time and meditation. That is just for new age hippies. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Being alone is unsettling and the quiet can get so… awkward. Just thinking about it makes me uncomfortable. Pass me my phone…
- Don’t EVER QUIT ON ANY VOLUNTARY COMMITMENT EVER. See how I used caps there? This is important. Do you hate your job? Well, that’s too bad. Deal with it. It’s not like you chose to work there.
- Make it your life mission to fix other people. Bonus points – the more destructive their behaviour, the more it’s up to you to save them. We’re talking life or death here. Fight the good fight, son. It’s all on you. God speed!
- Reinforce feelings of shame when you make a mistake. Let’s be honest, how could you do that? Only idiots make mistakes.
- Take note of what needs to be done, and don’t do it. Just speculate on what might go wrong if you ever did do it. Don’t invite that girl/guy out on a date, don’t apply for that job, don’t have any assertive conversations. Wait until it becomes urgent and starts to cause more problems, this should heighten the feelings of paralysing uncertainty.
- Develop a secret addiction that creates feelings of shame, and don’t tell anyone about it. Dabble in porn, alcohol addiction, drugs, gambling, an eating disorder. Whatever works for you. Just make sure you let the shame eat you alive over the months and years, until it’s ruined your marriage, your relationships, as well as your sense of self worth and integrity.
- Ask the big questions, but don’t actually look for any answers. Make sure that you regularly question everything you know to be true, but don’t worry about finding any kind of solid ground to stand on. Ask yourself if there is a God, if absolute truth exists, if right and wrong exist, if your life has meaning and purpose, if heaven and hell and eternity are real. Then, just settle with doubt and confusion.
- Don’t place your hope in the God of the universe. Guys, this is 2017. We all know religion is a social construct. We are enlightened by modern science. We know that we are hurtling through space billions of miles an hour, always moments away from utter annihilation. But that’s life. Besides, what would God know about anxiety? It’s not like he created you mind, body and spirit. It’s not like he made you to flourish in your human nature through relationship with himself. And it’s not like he promises forgiveness and eternal hope through trusting in his Son alone. It’s not like he promised that “everyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame” (Romans 10:11).
No, fear is comfortable. Just keep complaining about it to your friends. Keep your problems in the abstract, where you are powerless to do anything about them. Stay insecure, timid and passive. But don’t worry, I’m sure there will be better solutions one day… as long as your problems stay in the abstract, and you aren’t looking concretely at your real life.
OK, you’ve reached the end of the article.* Now it’s time to snap out of it and get back to the real world. It’s a jungle out there. So get ready. Is your chest feeling nice and tight? Is your breathing shallow? All right, get ready.. OK… OK… OK… Gooo!! QUICKK!!!!
Grace for Failures is the blog of Carlin Doyle to encourage and inspire those who have gotten life wrong for a long time, and want to try and do things a little differently. Click here for more info, and here for more posts.
*If you’re serious about taking your mental health to the next level, check out Two Easy Steps to Becoming Chronically Depressed for the Rest of Your Life. Enjoy.