The Anxiety Knot

Anxiety, worry, panic. They’re not physical features, but they bind you all the same. Why?

Think of each thing you have to do, each series of events that affects you in some way, as a string. It has a beginning and an end, and some distance between. Laid out neatly next to one another, each of these strings can be viewed calmly; they may even flow neatly together and make a woven pattern you enjoy.

But if you just tangle them all together, it becomes nearly impossible to do anything. The same number of strings, the same total length, but now an impossible obstacle instead of a helpful pattern.

That’s the “anxiety knot.”

But this actually presents us with a good method for overcoming it. It’s just like the those Christmas lights – you pick one strand, and slowly weave that one out from the rest. Ignore the knot. Heck, cut it if you have to – but get your hands around one discrete string.

Do one thing.

This isn’t a cure for anxiety. But it’s a method that helps me focus and center when the knot is strong, and so it may help you as well. Picturing things, crafting analogies, understanding the problem on some other level – these things always take the teeth out of a problem for me.

They help me untie the knot.

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