A stop light warning us of a single lane up ahead in Taroko National Park, Taiwan while riding through on our motorbike.

Anxiety as a Service

When you think about anxiety, what comes to mind? Something negative — right?

It’s that thing that interrupts your life and makes things more tense and difficult — maybe even paralyzing.

Years ago, I used to wake up every morning with this sensation I like to call “impending doom”. It was like an alert. The feeling that something very wrong was going to happen. And if I didn’t in some Macgyver-like fashion find the solution to my catastrophic situation, imminent doom was on the way. So, I’d go directly into panic mode jumping up to work on whatever was on my mind.

I Don’t Know About You, But I’m Not a Fan of Doom

The only thing is, my situation was rarely catastrophic, so all this reaction did was get me worked up. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of doom. And since these feelings were an indicator that things were left way too long without being dealt with, I could either continue avoiding it (because for some odd reason I thought that felt better than dealing with it). Or I was going to have to talk myself down off the cliff first before anything productive could happen.

It might seem immediately obvious to you that this isn’t any way to live, let alone a productive one. It took me a while, but over the last few years I’ve finally realized that this impending doom (and its younger cousins anxiousness, tension, and insecurity) could be my friends if I could embrace their positive traits.

So, I started looking forward to their visits with curiosity. What might Insecurity be seeing from his unique angle? Hold up, my boy Tension just pinged me, the message was a bit cryptic but he’s trying to tell me something. Sometimes the timing was obvious, like while walking down an unfamiliar alley at night — it’s not necessarily a problem, but it’s good to be aware and monitor. And yeah, thanks Concern, you’re right. This project is uncharted territory, I’ll slow down a bit.

Other times, my tension tracked back to the way I was connecting with others in my environment. The feedback loop was the problem — being around other people was making it hard to think for myself. I was like a microphone that was too close to the speaker — after getting a little distance, everything sounded much better.

All these sensations and alerts were just translated incorrectly due to the noise. Once that was filtered out, I had a new appreciation for Anxiety…

Anxiety as a Service — providing value on a daily basis, crunching the data in the background of my subconscious, and sending alerts with gradually increasing priority.

Now instead of waking up in fear, I wake up eager to take action on any alerts to keep all systems online and healthy . If I’m sensing ‘impending doom’, instead of logging out — I login to see what needs attention to get happiness back online.

Anxiety as an uptime monitor… don’t shoot the messenger.