The article attached below takes a specific look at social anxiety. It touches a topic close to my heart and my work with kids. Anxiety isn’t a problem!
Anxiety, like any other personality attribute, can get so large that it becomes an obstacle. It can also be so small that it is an obstacle. No anxiety whatsoever means that there is no urgency to be safe, to think through your choices, to turn in homework assignments, or plan for the future in any way. It creates a person that is lackadaisical and unproductive. Too much anxiety means there is constant panic, a lack of follow through on ideas, and indecisiveness. It creates a person that is difficult to work with and constantly struggling.
Anxiety is considered a mental health “problem,” because of these extremities. However the reality is a balanced amount of anxiety makes you a productive, reliable, predictable, lovable, empathetic, and successful person. What the public fails to realize is that anxiety is no different from any other personality attribute. Below are commonly praised character attributes that could have been identified as mental health “problems” just as easily as anxiety:
- Confidence: Too little results in nervousness, indecisiveness, and victimization. Too much results in arrogance, social conflict, and unproductive and inefficient decision-making.
- Patience: Too little results in impetuous decision-making, constant mistakes, a lack of detail orientation, and difficulty in collaborative social efforts. Too much results in passivity, lack of motivation, lack of production, and an inability to complete tasks in a timely manner.
- Persistence: Too little results in a lack of success and follow through, in low self-esteem, and low frustration tolerance. Too much results in wasted resources, in stubborn arrogance ignoring experience and information, and often bullying and ignorance.
Personality attributes are exactly like superpowers. If you are born capable of controlling the snow and cold like the now infamous Queen Elsa, you have a choice: you can choose to fear it and try to overcome it and become a monster and villain that has no successful relationships and no life experiences to treasure and enjoy, OR you can learn to use it and love it and become a strong, independent and inspirational leader.
Instead of harping on our children that they need to overcome and defeat their anxiety, maybe we should be showing them just how to become a superhero with it?!?!
The link below includes article looking at social anxiety in particular, but please comment with ideas on how any and all mental health issues and styles of anxiety work as a superpower.