Jay Rifenbary

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Personal Rejuvenation – An Antidote for Anxiety

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Anxiety is defined as, “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” In recent months I have concluded we are rapidly becoming an anxiety-plagued society. A people overwhelmed with having to keep up with the ever-changing advancements of technology and the deciphering of information associated with that technology. I am witnessing a continually growing concern by many in regard to our social and economic stability. What will the future bring in regard to societal values and the learned social norms that evolve? How will we adapt to the magnitude of technology, and the enormous amount of information we must comprehend? The positive aspect is our access to ever changing events, societal unification, and technological advancements. The anxiety occurring is the result of the competition between the amount of information we must process, and allocating the time to manage that information. This is a classic time management, life balance predicament with the difference being the volume of information we must contend with.

Have you ever been overwhelmed with email, text messages, voicemail, twittering, facebook notifications, downloading, news, paperwork, power points, etc, and having to make rational decisions to boot? (no pun intended) However, do we really need all this information, and have we created much of this anxiety ourselves? I believe we have, and it is a choice to participate in this rapidly changing world or not. I am not suggesting we negate the necessity of information, and do not participate, but I am suggesting when the speed of change becomes overwhelming we must take a deep breath and reflect on the simpler things. Throughout my life I have discovered that the simpler my life is the happier I tend to be, because there are less responsibilities to contend with. Personal rejuvenation is going back to the basics and appreciating the little things in life, igniting a sense of personal accomplishment and peaceful fulfillment. To recognize the quality of life is a culmination of the quality of each day, and each day’s joy is the awareness of what is ultimately most important to our own individual happiness. I have started to pay more attention to the little things and the phases of life that bring joy, reflection, hope and new beginnings. It is those moments that recapture and invigorate personal and professional vitality.

Reflecting on the recent graduations of my children, one with his undergraduate degree, the other with her Masters, I was again impacted how each ending is an amazing beginning. How every phase reached in life, every failure, every success, is an opportunity to revalidate and reenergize the core values that have created who we are. Reflecting on my own failures and successes, it has been the biggest tragedies that have taught me the most about who I am, and have challenged an understanding of the core values, which define me.

Here are five primary steps we can all take to reinvigorate our lives and assist in squashing anxiety, apathy or malaise we may be experiencing. One, establish time to participate in something you are passionate about. A walk to relax, a hike to challenge, a book to be learned, a painting to be creative, a prayer to be thoughtful are just some suggestions to enable us to take a break from the world. Two, look for quiet time along the success journey to reflect and re-focus on our objectives at hand. There is solace in quiet and an opportunity to listen to the inside instead of being distracted by the outside. Three, “do not bite off more than you can chew”, as the saying goes. Realize, we may think we are getting more done with more on our agenda, but the stress of the multitude of tasks will be overwhelming, and the quality of the tasks completed will be detrimentally affected. Anxiety equals an over abundance of tasks plus a lack of quality. Four, make a date to pull out old photos, picture albums or home movies and smile, laugh and reflect on some of the good old times. When was the last time we sat down with the family and reminisced? Finally, reflect on the areas of your life that bring you the most joy and happiness, those little things that make you appreciate yourself and others. We cannot allow our ever changing, rapidly evolving, technology filled world diminish the simple and treasured joys that make life a blessing.



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