Alexander Guz

One way to deal with anxiety

Whenever it comes to some sort of a test or exam, I start to have this feeling of worry and anxiety. It doesn’t matter how well I’m prepared - I still have it. And, of course, it affects my performance not in the best way.

But there is one way, that helps me overcome this feeling. The key point, though it might sound strange, lies in our insignificance. When the stress begins before some important occasion, I do an exercise.

First, I concentrate on myself, like: this is me, I’m standing here and feeling anxiety. At this point I can describe myself a bit, e.g. the clothes I’m wearing, etc. It usually helps to relax by changing the topic in your head. Then I expand the area of my perception a bit - up to the room, where I’m standing. I try to understand, what’s happening inside that room, who is inside, what they are doing, and how this people refer to me. Next step, expand further - up to the building. I imaging all the people inside, they are sitting in different rooms, talking to each other or keeping silent; they have their own concerns (maybe another examination, huh?). Most of the people in the building don’t even know my existence. And further - a district or a city. Tens of thousands, millions people. Cars are moving alone the roads. Everybody is busy. Somebody is having a date, somebody is yelling, because the taxi driver blocked the road. And again - they don’t care about you.

Continue expanding: country, planet, universe… Do you see the stars? The vast space of nothing? The suns, that have been exploding for billion of years? See that asteroid, which is going to hit the Mars in a billion years?

Now I start to quickly shrink the area of perception back to myself: universe, planet, country, city, building, room, myself. So, what was my anxiety about? That I couldn’t pass some test or score not well enough? Pff, who cares? The results of this test are so insignificant in comparison to what happens in the universe. You’re so insignificant.

This feeling makes me feel free and peaceful. I calm down and just do the job.