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I have moved to a big city from a suburban area recently. I hardly have to go outside home. Because of the current covid restrictions, I do WFH.

I used to go cycling or walking everyday before. But now I am too afraid to go out not just because of covid but also because of the thievery, burglary, snatching incidents that get reported in the area everyday.

I stay in one room all day. And mentally it's affecting me a lot. I understand that maybe I have attachment to my previous place of stay. Now how can I deal with my anxiety?

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  • This isn't really a Buddhism question, per se, but acclimation is key. If you have friends or coworkers, go out with them as a group; If not, ask a family member to come stay with you for a week or two, so you have someone to explore with. You'll quickly learn the local environment, and what to watch out for. Most people in cities can be trusted (if only because they will likely ignore you). Jan 9 at 0:35
  • It's a question about suffering, which is a Buddhist concern...
    – OyaMist
    Jan 10 at 16:35
  • @OyaMist: Set aside the well-known trope that 'suffering' is a poor translation of 'dukkha'... The point is that this kind of question is more a matter of counseling than any effort of achieving liberation. We can answer it from a buddhist perspective, sure, but a Buddhist perspective isn't particularly needed here. Just because you have a hammer, don't assume that everything is a nail... Jan 12 at 20:21

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Good neighborhood, living in areas where wrong view doesn't domain, is actually a prerequisite for good practice (one of the first greatest blessings/protection), good householder, so which attachments keeps him not from seeking to dwell on good, better, place? Once understanding is firm, of course, it wouldn't matter that much any more, still, even Arahats dwell there where it's pleasing to dwell. So one fear needs to win over another. Good situation to find out the cause of inflexibility and feeling bond.

(ps: don't take the unqualified commentaries of rude and ignorant neighbors here to serious if desiring to resist here...)

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  • Thank you very much for answering. The only attachment to my present address is my living. I have a job here.
    – Noob
    Jan 11 at 0:51
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Anxiety can arise due to external circumstance.

Ven. Sariputta taught:

DN34:1.5.2: What four things are helpful?
DN34:1.5.3: Four situations:
DN34:1.5.4: living in a suitable region, relying on good people, being rightly resolved in oneself, and past merit.

Living in a bad neighborhood is indeed stressful. If the neighborhood is a given and you cannot move, find and rely on good people. If good people are not available, live ethically to be worth of the company of good people.

Anxiety can also arise internally:

MN22:18.2: “Sir, can there be anxiety about what doesn’t exist externally?” MN22:18.3: “There can, mendicant,” said the Buddha.
MN22:18.4: “It’s when someone thinks,
MN22:18.5: ‘Oh, but it used to be mine, and it is mine no more.
MN22:18.6: Oh, but it could be mine, and I will get it no more.’

The remedies for internal anxiety are explained further in MN22:

MN22:19.1: “But can there be no anxiety about what doesn’t exist externally?”
MN22:19.2: “There can, mendicant,” said the Buddha.
MN22:19.3: “It’s when someone doesn’t think,
MN22:19.4: ‘Oh, but it used to be mine, and it is mine no more.
MN22:19.5: Oh, but it could be mine, and I will get it no more.’

MN22 is quite extensive and discusses other such cases, and may therefore be of some help in your situation.

A key point to understand in MN22 is that possessiveness (i.e., "mine") is a trigger for anxiety. For example, if we miss the pleasant neighbors from our old neighborhood, we might grow sad and feel helpless. Therefore, focusing on the loss causes anxiety.

However, if we focus on being a nice neighbor, then our new neighborhood now has a nice neighbor. We become that nice neighbor and bake cookies for our neighbors and say "hello!".

And that is the essence of practicing unlimited love, compassion, rejoicing and equanimity. We can look inside ourselves and let that light shine forth to brighten the world.

So it is not a matter of denial. It is a matter of affirmation and giving. It is about sensing a lack and giving what is needed.

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    Thank you very much. I have a question about MN22:19.3. Does that indicate that paying no attention (or less attention) to internal anxiety is recommended?
    – Noob
    Jan 11 at 1:18
  • Thank you for the clarifying. The answer hopefully addresses the issue of how to pay attention.
    – OyaMist
    Jan 11 at 15:37
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You say that your anxiety arises from ...

... incidents that get reported in the area everyday.

So one more suggestion is, don't just beware of the incidents but beware of the reports.

I mean, some people for example watch the news on television, or maybe they read social media, and get upset because the news is bad. One of the remedies for that is to stop paying much attention to the news.

Beware that "news reports" is usually bad by definition no matter where you are -- because everything that isn't "an incident" isn't ever "reported" in that way -- and so "the reports" always give a one-sided and sometimes overly-pessimistic view of reality.

To beware of what (sense-inputs) you pay attention to and become passionate about in some way, might be called guarding the sense doors. It's usually used to warn against superficially-attractive objects but I think it's applicable to any sense-input that you might be attached to, including ones which evoke fear.

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  • Thank you very much. Specially, the last paragraph was really helpful.
    – Noob
    Jan 12 at 5:47

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