The New York Times recently reported on an increase in the number of people experiencing high levels of anxiety attributable to the global economic recession. Anxiety and the recession? Hardly seems like news.
The twist was that the article wasn’t about the people who’d lost their job or their homes, but about the growing number of people suffering anxiety because they’re worried about losing what they have… but are currently doing OK.
With economic damage expected to last months or years, such reactions are becoming common, experts say. Anxiety, depression and stress are troubling people everywhere, many not suffering significant economic losses, but worrying they will or simply reacting to pervasive uncertainty.
Anxiety is a state of mind where you’re not in the here and now; you’re reliving the past or are worried about the future. Fear can distort your present reality but it’s manufactured in the mind.
Often people will create things to worry about that never come to pass. Granted, while the current meltdown has created a lot of pervasive uncertainty a side effect is that it has also fueled imaginations: fear takes hold and people who are not actually experiencing financial hardship are creating a reality that mimics those who are.
In other words: the power of thought has created suffering where people live in anticipation of impending doom. The anticipation eclipses their current reality — that they’re doing OK for the time being — and their fears manifest themselves as physical pain, sleeplessness, marital stress, etc.
If the mind can imagine such distress, it can also imagine liberation.