Anxiety and Public Transportation: A Spiritual Approach

Written by Miri Korbman

Most New Yorkers are familiar with the predictable unpredictability of public transportation. As a frequent commuter myself, I have often experienced the aggravation of subway delays that then lead to missed trains, to missed classes, to snappy outbursts at the first unlucky human being who’s naive enough to ask “what’s wrong?” A delayed subway doesn’t care much about what train you need to catch, the rush you’re in, or the consequences you’ll face if you’re even slightly delayed. How can we cope with the aggravation of being delayed and make the most of such setbacks?

Recently, I was on the B train from Brooklyn to Manhattan, hoping to reach Penn Station in time to make my N.J. Transit train back home. I had already spent a good ten minutes waiting for the subway in Brooklyn, so when the subway got held up at a stop for over 15 minutes – 15 precious minutes ticking past as my window of time left to make my home-bound train narrowed threateningly! – it was hard to hold back from tapping my foot impatiently and with barely-masked anxiety. The apologetic train conductor explained over the loud speaker that we were “being held up by supervision” and would be moving shortly.

Now, I don’t know who “supervision” is in NYC subway vernacular, but when I heard these words a startling yet reassuring thought flashed through my mind. Most of us travel along the road of life determined to reach specific goals, aspirations, or deadlines, but we often encounter obstacles along the way. Granted, it is difficult to remember this at the moment when our progress is being impeded by various unforeseen circumstances, relationships, or other hindrances, but whatever delays or speed bumps we come across along the road of life, we are merely being held up by Supervision. That is to say, if we can recognize that we are not solely responsible for situations and circumstances entirely outside our realm of control, we are setting ourselves up to cope much better with life’s disappointments and frustrations. Though I can indeed exercise control over certain variables such as when I leave my home to try to catch a train or how I plan my route,  unforeseeable delays are just that: unforeseeable, unpredictable, and not in our control! There is a point at which we cease to be in control, and though the effort I put in to accomplishing a goal may be, to an extent, up to me, the outcome is entirely out of my hands. Outcome is controlled by Supervision.

When faced with a delay or period of time where little is known about the immediate future, we always have two choices: (1) We can spend the time watching our levels of anxiety and worry rise, feeling utterly helpless and entirely at a loss for a way to bring about the desired outcome, or (2) We can use waiting period as a time for spiritual growth by recognizing that we are not in control of the outcome. Relinquishing control is both an intensely frightening and liberating experience. Though it is scary at first to admit that we simply cannot fix or determine every single outcome in our lives, it can also be extremely freeing and satisfying to recognize that there is a point at which we are no longer responsible. When we can honestly say “I am doing my best, but the outcome is not in my hands” we may suddenly find that we can stop tapping our feet in impatience, annoyance, and anxious anticipation, and begin to finally sit back and enjoy the view as we travel through the daily triumphs and travails of life. In fact, we might even find that we can use “setback” time to our advantage: Perhaps, instead of using up our energy by worrying about when the delay will be over, we can spend that time immersed in a productive activity.

To make this practical, there are two concrete things we can do when faced with a travel delay:

  1. Recognize we are NOT in control: First, recognize that this delay is not your sole responsibility, and therefore is not always within your capability to fix. Period.
  2. Turn the setback into a springboard: Once we recognize the limits of our control we can begin to “enjoy the view” – e.g., use the time to read a book, learn a new skill you’ve always dreamed of having, do something for someone you love that you otherwise would not have had time to do, or even just to breathe and spend some much-needed time with yourself.

So the next time you experience a subway or bus delay or setback, before your foot starts tapping in annoyance, relinquish control and recognize that this road-block was placed into your path by Supervision. Then, take a step back and come up with a way you can use this setback as a springboard to enhance your relationship with yourself and with others.

Inspirational Message

The Way of Mastery is to break all the rules—but you have to know them perfectly before you can do this; otherwise you are not in a position to transcend them.


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Calmer in the Face of Hardship
I came to the Center for Anxiety for help in dealing with a family member who suffered from extreme anxiety. But I ended up getting a serious illness two months later and started having my own sessions. With the help of my therapist I got through my illness, learned to understand my habits that were making my major life stresses worse, learned to communicate better, taper my anger, and surprisingly I became more calmer even though my hardships in life worsened. Therapy is a lot of work and not easy, but nothing in life comes easy! I became a better and softer mom and (when I practice what I learned) and my kids and home are calmer and happier. I am still a work in progress and have more to work on, but I know I am on the right path. I wish I knew before how my communication style and anger were really impacting my life, how being softer you can accomplish way more then being harsh. I have been to other therapists in the past and I can hands down say that the Center for Anxiety’s approach is really effective. I have even referred a bunch of people to the Center and they have been really happy with the therapists and how much they really care for their patients.
I Tackled a Long List of Fears
When I first came to the Center for Anxiety, my list of anxieties/fears was long! I was scared of getting sick, getting stranded, driving, flying and more. With the help of my therapist, I immediately got to work and tackled every one of my fears. Now the world is open to me and I feel free! I can dream big and accomplish whatever I set my mind to! I am especially grateful that I was able to do all this without having to rely on medication. It was hard work – grueling at times! – but now I have the coping tools within me for life. In fact a family member recently said to me “You are awesome. You can accomplish anything you set your mind to because you don’t let fear stop you! ” Thank you Dr. Rosmarin and the Center for Anxiety staff for helping me get here. My fears no longer limit me and I love my life. Try it, it might turn your life around too!
Highly Skilled and Professional Treatment
When I sought treatment at the Center for Anxiety, the clinic was is in its incipient stages. However, by the time I successfully finished treatment, the Center for Anxiety grew and flourished into a world-class treatment center, offering cutting-edge, evidence-based treatment to countless individuals. The continued success of the Center for Anxiety comes as no surprise to me, with a team that contains such highly skilled professionals who display clinical acumen, empathy, and compassion. When I first entered treatment I was concerned that therapy would be similar to the experiences with past psychologists: a seemingly bottomless pit with no reductions in my anxiety symptoms, but was so relieved when I started to feel less anxious after only a handful of sessions. My therapist created a treatment plan that was tailored exactly to my needs and taught me practical skills to help me work through my anxiety that I still use and practice to this very day.
No More Panic
When I first came in, I was struggling with panic disorder and didn’t even know it, which only made dealing with it that much more difficult. After my first time sitting down with my therapist, however, I instantly started to gain perspective and look at the difficult situation in a different light. Our meetings helped me conquer the issue step by step and get my life back on track. I’d strongly recommend that anyone dealing with anxiety in a way that impacts their day to day life should visit the Center for Anxiety! I know it helped me tremendously.
Free of Obsessions
When I woke up one morning last June and didn’t want to get out of bed, I knew I needed help. The thought of getting through another day with all my anxieties, obsessions and rituals was just too overwhelming. After feeling stuck for years, I just couldn’t anymore. Thankfully, that’s when I found the Center for Anxiety. Dr. Rosmarin and his staff are experts at what they do, kind and professional. After just several weeks I accomplished my initial targets. The change I experienced in such a short amount of time was astounding that I stayed on for a while longer to work on more complex goals. I soon achieved those too. Now, I am free of my obsessions, know how to manage my anxiety, and love my life. My only regret: not having done this sooner. I wish I had known that you don’t have to wait to hit rock bottom to get help.
Depression Lifted
I’m 26 years old and I’ve been suffering from terrible depression for 7 years. In the throws of my sadness I literally wanted to die. Soon after starting therapy at the Center for Anxiety, my depression lifted. My suicidal thoughts began to dissipate. I remember the feeling that came over me as soon as the dark cloud above me left. It was the most liberating feeling I have ever experienced. I actually shouted to my friends, family and anyone nearby me “I’m Happy! I am Happy!” I felt free.
Over the course of four years I developed anxiety-like symptoms (tightness in chest, gut, back) that slowly but surely increased in duration and severity. The EXTREMELY uncomfortable nature of the symptoms notwithstanding, I still continued and managed to function. The effort required to do so, however, left me utterly drained. Having always been a very spiritual person I strongly felt that a course of therapy incorporating a spiritual component could potentially work well for me and decided to give the Center for Anxiety a try. Happily, I have achieved significant symptom reduction, tremendously improved emotional/mental health, and above all, Connection. Medication free. I’m no longer just existing, I’m LIVING. I’ve been given a second chance to become the unique human being that I was meant to be.
No More worries
I have wormed in healthcare for 36 years in many different settings, and I have been overwhelmingly satisfied with the Center for Anxiety. When staff says they are going to call, I get a call. From the first contact, I have been very impressed with the professionalism and efficiency. I had a situation and needed to have sessions more than once per week, and my clinicians worked out a schedule to accommodate my needs. I was astounded that they attended to me so quickly and effectively - they made my priority their priority. My clinicians were also excellent at what they do - they have a plan for me each session, and it's clear that they have thought in advance about each session, and that they are listening to what I say and observing what I do, even though our sessions have been conducted via Telehealth. Compassion is a quality that I have all too often found to be lacking in my experiences as a healthcare professional and patient, and this is not the case with the Center for Anxiety. Of all the websites I found on Google, I am so thankful that God guided my hand to yours.

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