Overcoming Happiness Anxiety With Fearless Positivity

Overcoming Happiness Anxiety With Fearless Positivity

via Forbes by Amy Blankson

As the Delta variant continues to spread across the globe, anxiety has become a constant companion for many. What initially felt like a sprint to recovery has turned into a marathon, and many individuals are struggling to feel optimistic about the future.

At this time last year, the world was anxiously awaiting the rollout of the first vaccines. We thought “Once we have vaccines, everything will get back to normal, right?” Clearly, our exuberance was tempered with unforeseen complications.

Like children who learn not to touch a hot stove, we are suddenly wary of hope. We cautiously carry on with our daily lives, but we brace for the unknown, always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

  • Will there be another variant soon?
  • Will we have to go into another lockdown?
  • Will there be more mask or vaccine mandates?
  • Will schools close down again soon?
  • Will we ever be able to return to normal?

While these questions are entirely fair, realistic, and understandable given the past year and half, this uncertainty can be stressful and anxiety-producing for many. According to the CDC, the number of individuals reporting symptoms of anxiety has tripled since the start of COVID, with rates of depression and suicidal ideation also on the rise.

Stuck in a heightened state of alarm, many individuals have developed a sort of happiness anxiety, which is the mind’s maladaptive way of protecting us from being hurt or let down in the future. For many people struggling with anxiety, staying in control of our emotions or expectations provides a veiled sense of safety. We think, “If I prevent myself from feeling happy about something now, I can protect myself from the shock and pain when something inevitably goes wrong in the future.”

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