Fear is instinctive and immediate. It’s real, observable and experienced. We don’t have the time to even think about it; it’s instantly just there and we react. It’s hiking in Sabino Canyon—a popular recreational area in Tucson—and suddenly on the trail in front of me is a rattlesnake. My heart pounds and I leap back about six feet. I once saw a neighbor leap three feet into the air, setting a backwards high jump record, when he came upon a 5 foot rattlesnake lying in the grass on the road shoulder. Never mind that the snake was road kill. All his mind registered was “SNAKE!” and danger. It was actually pretty funny to see and I’m also glad it wasn’t me.
Anxiety, on the other hand, is me getting ready to go for a hike in Sabino Canyon and thinking “What if I don’t see a rattlesnake and I get bitten and what if I go into shock and stop breathing and there’s no cell phone service and there’s no one to help me and I die there! I’d better stay home.” So I waste what should be a beautiful spring day hiking. I just got ambushed by the “WhatIfMonster” which I’ll talk more about in future blogs. See you next time.