A useful gimmick to apply in
our stressed-out society of neurotic overachievers,
is to create your own anxiety-free zone whenever
you have some spare time to yourself. The idea
is to remove yourself, for a set period of time,
from all sources of external and internal stimuli
that are likely to trigger the slightest hint
First of all, this requires being by yourself,
completely undisturbed by other human beings.
Conversation with another is too unpredictable,
and even minor facial expressions of a companion
might express disapproval or annoyance, etc. Since
we don’t want this, invest in some solitude, unplug
the phone and don’t answer the door. Television
is out of the question, so are newspapers and
magazines. Again, these things are too unpredictable
you could see something that immediately
worries you, or something that starts a train
of thought which leads to depression (no matter
how slight). The mainstream journalistic mindset
is a toxic mix of dog-eat-dog insecurity, destructive
criticism, and the usual corporate pressures.
This negativity inevitably infects the resulting
newspaper or TV content like a virus but
you may not see it while you are being contaminated.
So spending the whole of Sunday reading the newspapers
or watching the telly is not a good way to relax.
The best solution for avoiding worrisome external
stimuli may seem to be a stroll in the countryside.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t solve the problem
of internal stimuli, since an unoccupied mind
has a 50% probability of ending up in a negative
train of thought. Our emotions are bodily reactions
to the thoughts we have, so, in order to create
an anxiety-free zone, it is a good idea to limit
our internal stimuli to only those thoughts that
please us. The most effective way to do this for
extended periods of time is to read a good book.
Any escapist fiction which is unlikely to remind
you of any of your problems is recommended for
this purpose. Some of the sunny Californian futurist
or ‘new age’ type of affirmation books may also
be of use, for their optimistic worldview, if
you like that sort of thing.
The final ingredient for an anxiety-free zone
is plenty of your favourite ‘fun’ food, whether
it is doughnuts and fresh coffee, chocolate fudge
ice cream, popcorn... you get the idea. Desirable
unhealthy antisocial escapes from reality are
good for you when indulged in excessively.