What Is Your Anxiety Costing You?

You worry. You get stressed. You want to get there early. You want it to go well. You don’t want anything bad to happen—to your loved ones, to you, to anyone. In the tunnel vision of your anxiety, these are all the things you can think about. 

They consume you. They change you. They overwhelm you. 

But can you, right now, in the calm of morning, when you are not anxious, take a minute to step back? Think about what your anxiety costs you, think about it honestly and painfully. Think of the arguments it’s created. Think of the dead time it left you with at the airport. Think of the things it made you say no to, the things that might have been so much fun. Think of the reputation it gave you. Think of the damage it has done to relationships, to your self-confidence, to your ability to enjoy life. 

One of the most wonderful passages in Meditations is where Marcus Aurelius looks at his own troubles with worry and fear. “Today, I escaped my anxiety,” he writes, “or rather, I discarded it, for it is within me.” 

Your anxiety is within you, worse it is eating at and harming you. It does not make your life better—no, it comes at the expense of life. Which is why we must, as best we can, let it go. Not let it control us. Not let it take from us the things we can never get back.

P.S. This was originally sent on October 8, 2020. Sign up today for the Daily Stoic’s email and get our popular free 7-day course on Stoicism.