While playing with the light, sophisticated boules of a Nanis IVY necklace let's follow a stream of thoughts that starts with Charlie Brown and his anxiety and ends with a winning solution to some of these troubled everyday struggles.
Look at those scribbles hovering over Charlie Brown's head, giving him a perpetual stressed-out look. Charlie is always worried about something: his baseball team, his grades at school, his loneliness, his unconventional dog Snoopy. You are looking at the most conscientious eight-year-old in the history of world comics. Always committed to preventing possible problems. On the other hand, 'worry' comes from the Latin praeoccupare, 'to prevent'. But while being agitated and worn out by anxiety is not a feeling that is usually associated with childhood, when you move into adulthood it is considered a very common side effect.
It's hard not to be anxious in these restless times that have befallen us: the dangers we have learned to face and the geopolitical challenges we witness helplessly every day have not made our sleep any better.
The word 'worry' comes from the older term 'wyrgan' (kill, strangle), so being 'worried' had to do with being strangled by an animal or someone.
The Oxford English Dictionary in the early 19th century defined “worry” as 'a disturbed state of mind arising from the various problems and afflictions of existence'. We are talking about a world where worry and discontent were thought to have a debilitating effect and where giving in to these feelings could be considered a highly irresponsible act.
Not even a century after this definition, the state of worry was merged with a new pathology studied by the medicine of the time: anxiety.
Today, anxiety is the most frequently diagnosed emotional disorder in the United States.
Often, when I am anxious, I have the uncontrollable urge to play with something in my hands.
When Laura, the creator of Nanis Italian jewelry, told me how she feels the need to "put her hands inside" her creations, I thought about how satisfying and calming it is to touch these curvy, round jewels. Like a hand engraved rosary in the hands of a monk, or like 18kt gold Baoding's Chinese anti-stress balls, an IVY necklace slides harmoniously between your fingers, resting snugly on your neck. Wear this precious necklace and immediately feel at peace with yourself, at ease whether you're attending a business meeting or going out for a romantic dinner.
Owning an IVY necklace means being able to enter the world of jewelry, inventing and reworking it. It can become a choker, something that reminds me of wyrgan (kill, strangle) or you can wear it as a long pendant with an extra elegant touch. This gold necklace is also a precious little anti-stress technique. It is a jewel for many occasions. And in these restless times it is an extra ally for stress-free travel or appointments: once the mantra "I don't have anything to wear with it" has been overcome, the certainty of this gold chain wearability remains.
A Nanis jewel can really make you feel satisfied.
Fulfillment is an unreliable emotion. It tends to cut loose without warning, leaving us alone to fight the desires and dissatisfactions that tug at our heartstrings, and when it leaves, the possibility of accepting what we have or what we are - seems utterly unlikely. But then it creeps back into our lives, in the silence of the color of the early morning sky, when we are among friends, or eating chips by the sea, or completing a project, and for a moment it seems to us that life, really, is quite perfect just as it is.
Even buying yourself a piece of jewelry can have this effect.
What makes you feel safe in a world full of danger? What frees you from the anxiety of precarious times and a future that is not always easy to imagine? Perhaps eating an ice cream or tucking yourself under a quilt. Cuddling the dog. Chatting with your loved ones.
The objects and rituals we use to calm ourselves in times of discomfort or worry give us a refuge, even if a temporary one.
So pass IVY through your hands, put it on, look at yourself in the mirror and glow and feel good.
Even this light and elegant necklace, almost like a modern amulet, can make you feel protected, or secure, or safe with yourself. As the Latin word confortare, which means to strengthen, to seek comfort, shows, even owning and wearing a piece of jewelry is not a weakness. It is a way of admitting that something is missing and that we need to turn back and move on. From this point of view, seeking comfort is a gesture that shows vulnerability, but it is also very brave.
Perhaps the invention of anxiety has given a happier ending to normal everyday worrying as almost all self-help manuals on the market seem to hint at the pleasures of a worry-free life. On our shelves we rarely fail to find at least one book that is either 'How to overcome stress and start living again' or 'Women who worry too much'.
So-called 'catastrophization' - the tendency to always visualize the worst possible development of a situation - may be counterproductive for us, but sometimes worrying about our problems is a process that requires imagination and a critical spirit. Grasping the problem in our teeth and shaking it like a dog does with its prey, examining it from all angles to prevent surprises, allows us to focus on new ideas and to consider differently those we already have.
Even devising a personal way to find comfort, a piece of jewelry and the beauty of a special moment for example, becomes a winning ploy to sabotage everyday anxiety. Is an IVY around your neck enough? Why not?
Perhaps we can take some of our worries more peacefully. After all, they are not all the same.