Man’s security comes from within himself, and the security of all men is founded upon the security of the individual.
Manly Hall (20c author and mystic)
The sense of security is one of the basic human drives and unlike fear, for example, it does not always have an object: you may experience insecurity without a specific reason. This is because our sense of security (or lack of it) is mainly related to uncertainty. Uncertainty, on the other hand, can induce anxiety. So, before we turn to security itself, let’s consider anxiety first. We all experience anxiety from time to time, but many people nowadays suffer from excessive anxiety. Understanding what anxiety is and how to deal with it may be helpful.
Fear and anxiety are often used interchangeably nowadays, but to deal with anxiety better, it is important to understand that they are not the same. In fact, there is some evidence that they differ even on the level of physiological reactions, such as gastrointestinal activities.(1) The crucial difference is that an element of uncertainty, rather than an actual danger, is linked to anxiety. In other words, while fear has a clear object (we are always afraid of something), anxiety does not – it is an expression of our awareness of uncertainty: for instance, if a tiger appears in your room you will feel fear; if there is uncertainty whether a tiger will appear or not, you will feel anxiety. Here is a more realistic example of uncertainties associated with an exam: ‘What questions will we get? Am I prepared enough? Will I pass?’ You may be afraid of the consequences of failing, but your anxiety arises because of these uncertainties. Nowadays, there are a lot of uncertainties around, probably more than ever (regarding finances, work, relationships, the political and economic situation, climate change, you name it) – hence we are experiencing an anxiety epidemic. But this also means that anxiety is not a sign that something is necessarily wrong with you – it may even be good in small doses!
Anxiety is not always unpleasant and can improve, as well as disrupt performance. If induced by uncertainty of the outcome of a game, book, movie, date or adventure, it is usually desirable and sought after. However, when anxiety is mixed with insecurity