Thursday, December 29, 2011

Addressing High Anxiety Personality Traits

As we draw closer to the end of one chapter in life, and we can already anticipate the turning of the page, to year 2012, many of you are already feeling the anxiety of another year. Or, if you aren’t feeling it yet, it will creep up on you soon enough. In this new series of short articles (my New Years resolution), I will point out some tools and techniques, religion offers to deal with this and other very real life issues.

There is a strong connection between anxiety disorders and certain common personality traits. G-d created everyone with what’s called in mysticism, an animal soul. Everyone’s got it. This source of life energy, propels the negative feelings and anxieties in our lives. They must absolutely be addressed if you want long-term freedom from anxiety symptoms.

Excessive need for control. Perfectionism. Extreme cautiousness . Excessive need for approval. Insecurity and over-dependency and a tendency to suppress negative feelings. These are some of the traits that are common in people with high anxiety.

Our sages tell us, “Half the cure, is knowing the sickness.” Without recognizing the anxiety producing parts of your personality and learning to approach life from a different perspective, you may end up suffering with anxiety symptoms forever, locked up in a constricted world of your own doing, when freedom is possible.

There are a number of psychological and emotional personalities that are in common in the above list of onsets to anxiety, I will deal with one, and that is, an unrealistic and disproportionate sense of ego.

The world we live in dictates through the many forms of media, that a smart, strong human being, must have the answers to everything. There is a how to, and a six or maybe even seven or eight step solution to every difficulty. Whenever we are faced with problems, it’s either entirely our fault or we are totally responsible for fixing the total mess.

When people see themselves as “self made” and the dependency is entirely on ones self, it’s no wonder a person will buckle under such enormous pressure. We are told, “He is rich, and therefore he must be smart.” Or worse than that, “he is smart; therefore, he will certainly make it big in life.”

King Solomon, the smartest of all men tells us, “It is not to the wise bread.” Bread and success does not come because a person is wise. “Because it is HE who gives you strength to succeed” says the Bible.

Let’s take the first trait I mentioned above, that will lead to anxiety, excessive need for control. This notion that it is all up to me, and the results are all my doing, runs contrary to what we are told in the Ethics of our Fathers. A most powerful instruction and lesson to remember in life, “It is not upon you to conclude (and bring about the complete final results of any effort), and you are not free to desist from doing something.”

We certainly must give it all we got when discharging our responsibilities. Our obligation to make an effort, means to give it all we got, and to never, stop trying. However, there is a big world out there that doesn’t always match with our own personal agendas. As much as we try, someone bigger and better than us, G-d, may have some other plans for the entire universe, and those plans includes the best situation for each individual.

It is impossible for any one person or groups of people to control anything. We try our best and with a little help from Above we succeed. It is unrealistic to take it all on your shoulders. Give it up and leave a little room in your life for G-d in His immeasurable power to help you succeed. Please write to me with any comments

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