Learning while Anxious!



Neither comprehension nor learning can take place in an atmosphere of anxiety.” Rose F. Kennedy

Rose E Kennedy (22 July 1890 – 2 January 1995) is known as the Kennedy family matriarch. Rose married Joseph P Kennedy, snr after a courtship of over 7 years. They were a privileged, wealthy Boston family. Over the next 18 years they produced 9 children. Two of their children, namely President John F Kennedy and Robert Kennedy were assassinated and one can’t help but think how terrible this would be for a mother to live through. Her marriage wasn’t easy and she eventually coped with her husband’s unfaithfulness by pretending it wasn’t happening.

Their third child Rosemary was mentally retarded.  Rose’s ambitious husband kept  Rosemary’s mental retardation a family secret in order to keep up appearances. In an attempt to subdue Rosemary’s increasingly severe anger outbursts and mood swings, the family decided to have a lobotomy performed on her at the age of 23. This was a method used to calm severely mentally disturbed patients but didn’t help Rosemary. She was institutionalized for her adult life.

Although her father never visited her in the institution, it was the motivating factor that propelled other members of the family, including mother Rose, to become involved in philanthropic endeavors. The younger daughter of Rose, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, became a champion  of mental health projects, and founded the Special Olympics in 1968 for mentally disabled athletes. It’s interesting that good can so often come out of difficult circumstances.

Not surprisingly, these family circumstances took their toll and Rose Kennedy suffered from nervousness and stress. She coped with the help of prescription tranquilizers. She knew the effects of stress and anxiety and from her own experience could confidently say that ‘neither comprehension nor learning can take place in an atmosphere of anxiety.’

Rose Kennedy died at the ripe old age of 102 after having lived a very full life.


Look fear in the face!


You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” Anna Eleanor Roosevelt

These words by Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962) really sum up her life experience of fear. She had a difficult childhood and despite the trappings of wealth, Eleanor had an unhappy childhood. Her father turned to alcohol for comfort at the death of his own mother and was away from home for long periods of time. Her mother also battled as she was disillusioned by her husband. Little Eleanor couldn’t help but become very aware of the the tension between her parents and at the young age of six took on mothering responsibilities towards her mother. This is so typical of a child brought up in a home with alcohol abuse. Eleanor’s mother, who was one of New York’s beauties at the time, intimidated her daughter making her very self-conscious. She even nicknamed her daughter ‘Granny’ because of her ‘very plain, old fashioned’ looks. As a result, Eleanor was a serious child.

At the tender age of 8 her mother died and Eleanor focused on getting attention from her father who she felt loved him. However, he died of alcoholism and depression some 19 months later. At the age of 10 Eleanor became an orphan and was cared for by her grandmother. Life improved for Eleanor when she attended Allenswood Academy in London in 1899. These were very happy years during which time she became socially and politically aware. She gained confidence and became more independent during this time. Much to her families horror she became involved in reform movements.

A chance encounter on a train led to a romantic involvement with her cousin Franklin D Roosevelt. Franklin’s mother disapproved of the relationship but after a 16 month engagement, they were married in 1905. To put it mildly, her mother-in-law was very interfering, and made many of the family decisions for Eleanor. Once Franklin Roosevelt’s political career developed, Eleanor was able to live a life released from the shackles of her mother-in-law. However, the marriage was not happy as her husband was continuously unfaithful. In the end the marriage was one of political convenience rather than a marriage based on love.

Franklin D Roosevelt became the 32nd President of the United States of Amercica serving between.March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945

Closing words: Being rich doesn’t protect one from hardship. Hardships can be used for good, allowing us to gain courage and confidence. Keep moving forward and if there is something that you think you cannot do, face it and do it. If the idea came into your head in the first place, you can use the fear as a challenge from which to grow!

What is Fear?

This week’s quote for anxiety comes from Richard Carlson. His quote is a very good answer to the question ‘What is Fear”

“Fear is the concern over events that might happen in the future – we won’t have enough money, our children will get into trouble , we will get old and die, whatever.” 

Somehow these fears seem to be worse at night and can even keep us awake at night, fretting. If you have a concern that’s causing you anxiety, keeping you awake, keep a pen and notebook by your bed, write down the concern and go back to sleep! Writing can STOP the mind from getting too carried away!

Name your fear!

The good news is that if you can ‘name’ your fear, you are half-way towards making an action plan for overcoming the fear. An action plan is very important!

  • ‘Fearing that you won’t have enough money’ in the future is a concern especially in the present economic climate. But fear on its own won’t get you money. Sit down and make a plan and do the best that you can to allay these fears.
  • ‘Our children will get into trouble’. This fear might come true, but your fear is certainly not going to affect the outcome for your children. This fear only causes you, the parent, unhappiness. Do the best you can at parenting your kids and when fear comes knocking on your door, tell it to take a hike! Even when you do your best for your children, in the end they are responsible for their behavior, not you!
  • ‘We will get old and die’ No point in fearing this because we know that just as surely as we are born so we are going to die. Ask yourself what exactly it is about getting old and dying do you fear. Work out the specifics, because that is the only way to address your fears.

Have a good week and stay focused in THE PRESENT!!