According to the World Health Organization, 200 million people are diagnosed with anxiety worldwide — and millions more are without a diagnosis. This psychic malady cuts across all ages, classes, genders and cultures. It is an equal opportunity afflicter.
"We look upon our epoch as a time of troubles, an age of anxiety. The grounds of our civilization, of our certitude, are breaking up under our feet, and familiar ideas and institutions vanish as we reach out for them, like shadows in the failing dusk." You might think these words are from Sheryl Paul, the author of this book who graduated from Pacifica Graduate Institute specializing in Jungian depth psychology with a master's degree in counseling. But this assessment of the times was written by the poet W. H. Auden in his 1947 poem The Age of Anxiety.
The alarm is being sounded about future tempests and there are plenty of them already scaring people across the globe: the coronavirus pandemic, the climate catastrophe, the rise of authoritarian leaders in the United States and elsewhere, drug addiction, increased racial enmity, and the growing gap between the rich and the poor. For the millions of people suffering from anxiety over these shocks, Paul has some good news: embedded inside it is a "powerful invitation to evolve in a new direction as a species."
After presenting a thorough definition of mental, physical and behavioral manifestations of anxiety, Paul shares four key elements that can put you on a path of healing: curiosity, compassion, stillness, and gratitude. Right on target, the author discusses the myth of the normal and expectations of happiness as two cultural messages that create anxiety.
She writes: "When we learn how to harness the wisdom of anxiety, the richness and messages contained in the unconscious can inform and expand our lives." Some of the paths to healing include taking responsibility, realizing there is no escape hatch from life, attending to the inner self, developing discernment, creating meaningful rituals, and making the most of relationships.
The Wisdom of Anxiety delivers fresh and a wide crosscut of spiritual practices to catalyst healing and learning from anxiety.