What I Learned While Travelling
I spent the last few months travelling on my own through Europe. Despite being on my own I was very rarely alone if I did not wish to be. And before I left for the trip the fear was that I would spend too much time alone and that I would not be able to handle it. I was incredibly anxious about it. But then as soon as I began travelling this anxiety dissipated. I no longer held that fear, and none of those anxieties or fears manifested in reality.
I believe there is something important about mental health to be drawn from this.
Aside from all the introspective learnings I came upon whilst travelling, this insight in particular is universal because we all do it in a variety of circumstances. We all think the interview is going to be a disaster. Or that we’re going to mess up the presentation, or that we’re going to embarrass ourselves. We create situation after situation with the sole purpose of giving ourselves crippling anxiety. And yet very few of these hypothetical situations ever comes to fruition.
But we rarely acknowledge this until after the fact. It is only now after my trip that I realise it was pointless to feel such anxiety about it. And the hope from here is to bring this realisation forward with me so that I can apply it to similar situations in the future.
However this is not an easy task. It is hard to stop yourself in a moment of pure anxiety and attempt to see the objective reality of your situation. Your mind will not want to do this. Yet, if you can do this – if you can stop yourself in the middle of a spiral and acknowledge the growing anxiety – then there is a good chance you will be able to force the anxiety to recede into the darkness.
Generally speaking, when it comes to big life events, anxiety points you in the direction you should be going. You only really become anxious about things you care about. I get anxious when I’m taking a leap of fate, or speaking at an event, or putting myself out there. I wouldn’t get anxious about these things if they weren’t things I knew were good for me, both personally and professionally. Anxiety peaks its head up when there is something you want to do and you are afraid that you might fail at it.
Which means anxiety points you in the direction you ought to move in. Once you know the direction, you can choose whether to listen to the anxious voice or not. And every time you do decide to listen to it, you’ll realize later that it held no power, and that it failed to predict any outcomes.