The gift of curiosity

by Jay Hiller, November 4, 2023

Photo by Josh Mills on Unsplash

Right now there are a couple of mid-level stressors that make me anxious. Just by accident, on my way to work I heard a recommendation by a psychiatrist that a good thing to do when you’re feeling anxious is to be curious about it. The link to the podcast is here if anyone’s interested:

Anyway, I tried it and it was interesting to notice the physical sensations I have when I’m experiencing anxiety. When my anxiety subsided I noticed the difference. And then, like a gift, this morning, I was thinking about the problems that are troubling me and I realized that it was going to be impossible to avoid them. And that if I just shifted the way I think about them, from things I don’t want to think about at all, to things I’m curious about, every aspect of those problems would go better. I just decided. Boom–stomach ache and weird electric feeling in my arms noticeably better. What I was left with was a sustainable plan and mental shift. It reminded me of a quote I read a long time ago by Seth Godin, which I’m paraphrasing here:

The answer to your quandary is right there in front of you. It’s just going to take more trade offs than you were counting on. More money, more time, more attention.

Seth Godin

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2 responses to “The gift of curiosity”

  1. This is quite interesting. Recently, my anxiety with dental treatment proved to be not useful. With this so-called “operculectomy” – it brought so much initial angst! Therefore, I preemptively and curiously researched how it’s treated – not from a patient’s view – but how a dentist approaches the treatment (what tools used, anesthesiology methods, post op expectations, etc.). This curious, awareness type of approach helped take away much of the personal pain that would result and, instead, made possible the insertion of the professionals’ viewpoints. During the office visit, I focused on how these dental procedures affected behaviors of the hygenists, assistants, office staff, and the dentist. Moving away from the anxiety onto more of the big picture of treatment and recovery (including meditation to mitigate pain) – all these mental shifts help recovery and to cope with things we don’t like to face. Bottom line – the worrying about it didn’t help, but knowing more about how the process is done and “mapping out the anxiety” helped give me control over the problem/issue/condition. Great podcast!!

    1. How interesting, Peter! And isn’t that podcast good? The Proof is one of my favorite podcasts. Thanks for reading the blog!

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