Suffering from anxiety? The Mayo Clinic has an app for you.
Where do you turn for relief from anxiety -- God, man, or machine?
I myself like machines. Had enough instruction? Simply press the off button. God is more difficult to turn off. He tends to lord it over you and bring out thunder bolts or forty days of rain if you balk. People can be hard to shut up as well, like the Baptist preacher, whose talk Joe Fiorito attended at the Parkdale Library (The Toronto Star, 12 Oct). If renouncing Satan from the basement stage of your local library relieves your anxiety, the preacher guy is your man. If not, the Mayo Clinic has an app for you. It’s called Anxiety Coach (www.mayoclinic.org). Apparently the machine has a to-do list for you. If you are afraid of dogs, for example, you “begin with standing outside a room and looking at a dog and progress to lying on the floor and letting the dog eat treats off your forehead.”
It’s as simple as that, people. With the Mayo model in mind, let’s look at other anxieties and draw up a to-do list for you.
EXAM ANXIETY: Begin by standing outside the exam room and watch the exam papers being distributed. Progress to placing your hands on the exam booklet. Once you feel comfortable with the sight and touch, stand behind a student (preferably someone known to get straight As) and look over his/her shoulder. When you are ready, copy the contents of his/her paper onto your exam booklet. Complete the process by putting your name and student number in the appropriate slot. If the person supervising the exam protests, explain your handicap and insist on special consideration. This usually works for educational institutions. In the commercial world, a different approach is recommended.
JOB INTERVIEW ANXIETY: Begin by standing outside the office building where you expect to land a job. Progress to the lobby and study the names on the directory until your find your father’s/ uncle’s/best friend’s company. Proceed to the relevant floor and present yourself to the receptionist. After adjusting to the environment, enter the office of your father/ uncle/best friend. Make pleasant conversation until he mentions job opportunities. Chanting OM at this point is relaxing, but chanting salary figures above 100,000 is more immediately effective. Now that your breathing has normalized, leave the rest to your father/uncle/best friend.
ANXIETY IN SOCIAL SITUATIONS: Begin by choosing an on-line profile you are comfortable with. Thinking of yourself as attractive, intelligent, and wealthy usually helps. Proceed to post that profile on a dating site. Keeping in mind the regrettable tendency of people to exaggerate their personal attributes, choose potential partners only from the A-list. After cruising message boards, choose conversational bits that are in tune with your on-line profile and weave them into your own posts. If you find a suitable partner and are at ease with your virtual relationship, leave it at that. Why meet face-to-face, be disappointed, and start the vicious cycle of anxiety all over again?
In fact, never mind the Mayo Clinic Coach. Here’s my golden rule, guaranteed to take care of all types of anxiety: Stay home, sit in front of a screen, eat potato chips. Voila: No more anxiety.