‘Set the bar ridiculously low’: Rhik Samadder’s golden rule for beating anxiety

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There are many changes you can make to live a less anxious life, from healthy eating to keeping fit. When motivation is in short supply, putting them into action is another thing

I’ve been having strange symptoms for six months. Doctors are confused, I’m struggling to sleep and my anxiety is through the roof. Honestly, you should see the state of my 2am Googles. Normal, healthy searches, eg “Petite Lithuanian supply teacher tells you you’re failing” has been replaced by “Are palpitations a sign of a heart attack?” and “When is a skin rash definitely cancer?” Anxiety feels like being in a constant state of fear, and that’s tiring. If only I could sleep. In addition to health worry there is the what-if-I-can’t-pay-my-bills worry, relationships worry, does-everyone-hate-me worry, have-I-failed-at-life worry. I tell them to wait in line, I’ll get to them all.

I don’t get this from my mother. She is a dreamer who doesn’t worry about a thing, whose mantra is “go with the flow!” More likely it’s from my late father – a man who believed whatever “go” was, it was flowing towards ruin. I have memories of him moving tiny amounts of money around every day, taking out every insurance policy he could, controlling his diet with rigour. Like him, I am convinced that around every corner hides a catastrophe. Unlike him, I take no practical steps to meet it, so I suppose I’m an unfortunate combination of them both.

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