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« Eight things I know about anxiety and happiness, by Rachel Green »

Written by Rachel Green. Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute. She has used meditation to cure herself of panic attacks.

Anxiety and happiness are two important emotions but are they mutually exclusive in someone with high levels of emotional intelligence? No, anxiety and happiness can occur together in anyone whatever their level of emotional intelligence. A wedding can be a typical example of this.

Here are eight things I know about anxiety and happiness.

1. Emotions aren't good or bad.

Dividing emotions into a rigid dichotomy of "good emotions" and "bad emotions" or "negative" or "positive" emotions is flawed.

Emotions are not always good or always bad. It is what we do with them that makes them good or bad.

If I feel confident driving at high speeds and crash my car then confidence is bad; if I am anxious about missing a plane and I leave enough time to get to the airport then anxiety is good.

It's what you do with your emotions that makes you emotionally intelligent or not, far more that what emotions you have. Thus, being anxious does not mean you can't be happy. It is what you do with the anxiety when you have it that will determine how happy you are, not the anxiety itself.

2. Anxiety can be helpful.

Yss, truly anxiety is there as a useful alarm to warn us of impending danger. It has a distinct value in this situation and could save our lives.

  1. Anxiety also may stop me from missing a deadline.
  2. It reminds me to be careful if I am walking alone at night.
  3. It helps a news-reader, cricketer or police officer to be fully alert to everything that may happen so they can do their best.

Anxiety may even lead to greater happiness in these cases. When we stop looking upon anxiety as the enemy of our happiness then we increase our opportunities to find happiness. 

3. Being comfortable with emotions helps.

The more comfortable we can become with the whole range of human emotions the more we will be at ease, whether anxiety arises or not.

The more at ease we are with anxiety the less it will impact on our happiness.

4. I can be comfortable with anxiety.

It is possible to be comfortable about being anxious. Bizarre though this sounds to those who dread it, anxiety is just that: an emotion anxiety, nothing more, nothing less. When we accept anxiety for what it is we can have greater happiness.

5. Meditation can reduce anxiety and increase happiness.

I cured myself of panic attacks by learning how to meditate and practising it daily. It was fascinating as I found my anxiety diminished and my ability to feel content and peaceful increased. Two good outcomes for the price of one!

If you want to try meditation to ease your anxiety I recommend our "Happy not hassled" MP3 recordings to you. The meditations on there are the ones I used to help me overcome my panic attacks.

MP3s $29(US) Add to Cart


6. Feeling the anxiety can help.

Sometimes it is only by allowing ourselves to feel anxious that we can learn the skills we need to lessen the anxiety.

For example, if we have social anxiety we may feel anxious while we are learning the skills of social conversation, but once we know what to say, when and to whom, our anxiety may lessen and our confidence in social situations grow.

As our confidence grows so too can our happiness.

7. There is no happiness drug.

Trying to bury anxiety with medication is not what produces happiness. Trying to bury anxiety with wine or beer is not what produces happiness either, despite the Australian way of trying to do this!

Managing anxiety can be hard. Yet how manage anxiety matters, as sometimes what we do can make the anxiety worse. How we react can mean that not only are we managing anxiety but we are managing double the amount we started with!

Sometimes being with nature can calm us down and provide a source of happiness without drugs.

8. Anxiety and happiness are not the same.

There is a difference between being free of anxiety and being happy. The absence of one does not automatically instill the other. A reduction in anxiety does not mean an increase in happiness.

Anxiety occurs to differing degrees, for differing reasons, and for different lengths of time. There is not ONE cause. There are many possible causes and many possible ways we can make anxiety worse or better.

Also it is possible to be fundamentally happy and still feel anxious.

What do you know about anxiety and happiness?

If you want to try meditation to ease your anxiety I recommend following the guided meditations on my MP3 recordings "Happy not hassled". The meditations on there are the ones I used to help me overcome my panic attacks. I have also found that one in particular produces a strong sense of happiness in me: The loving-kindness meditation. So reduce anxiety and increased happiness may both occur by practising them!

MP3s $29(US) Add to Cart


NB: Rachel is not a psychologist nor a psychiatrist. This article is for your information only based on her personal experiences and does not constitute individual advice. Everyone is different. It is not provided as an alternative to obtaining professional advice from an appropriately qualified practitioner. Please seek the help you need.