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Anxiety blues

We all suffer from anxiety once in a while, all because we have feelings and fear. Anxiety can develop from a vague fear that something bad might happen. A mild anxiety may help us perform better but too much of it can paralyse us.

india Updated: Dec 01, 2010 00:53 IST
Pankaj Kumar

We all suffer from anxiety once in a while, all because we have feelings and fear. Anxiety can develop from a vague fear that something bad might happen. A mild anxiety may help us perform better but too much of it can paralyse us.

Spiritual teachers suggest simple ways to deal with anxiety. Mahatma Gandhi used a method taught to him by his nurse in childhood: the repetition of Ramanama. The repetition of a name of God or a mantra drives away fear, and gives inner strength.

Reading a spiritual book may do wonders. I find the books of Swami Sivananda, Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi and Kahlil Gibran quite useful. Dale Carnegie’s How to stop Worrying and Start Living is also useful.

Pranayama calms the mind and reduces anxiety. One can learn the technique from two masters of this art of breathing: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Swami Ramdev.

It is helpful to live one day at a time. We should try not to have regrets about the past or fears of the future. The Bible tells us not to have anxiety about tomorrow for tomorrow will take care of itself.

When we are anxious about some pending work, we can make a list of things to be done, assign numbers to the items in order of importance and tackle them accordingly.

It is useful to write down your problems and the possible solutions. Once a problem is defined, it seems less threatening.

Another good way to deal with anxiety is to surrender to the will of God. We should make an effort and leave the rest to God. God knows what is good for us better than we do. We can say mentally: "Let Thy will, not mine, be done."

Swami Sivananda says: "Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Sufficient to each day are the duties to be done and the trials to be endured." However, if the anxiety is too much, it might be a good idea to talk to a counselor.