Many of us have experienced anxiety and worries about future events. Anxiety is defined as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. Quite often we may become obsessively worried about something that might or might not happen. We might try and predict the outcome a little like a game of chess we try and work out all the moves. But we are unsure so we try other scenarios and options thinking them all through until we are exhausted.

We might get angry with ourselves because we can’t predict what’s going to happen. Sometimes anxiety can become a very difficult problem that gets in the way of us going about our lives and can have an impact on our physical health and the health and welfare of those around us.

In the majority of cultures we talk about our past being behind us and our future being in front of us. In one culture however people look at things differently.

The Aymara people of northern Chile and Bolivia talk about the future being behind them and the past laid out in front of them. The future is therefore out of sight for the Aymara. They cannot see it. The past however stretches away in front of them so that they can see and perhaps learn from their past and the pasts of others.

Perhaps we could learn from this. We cannot see our future yet because we consider it to be ahead of us we try to. There’s no evidence to suggest that the Aymara people do not have anxieties for their future but perhaps their unique way of considering the unseen future provides some cultural comfort and ease.

As well as a distinctive take on the future and past, the Aymara also have a beautiful flag not for a nation but to represent Aymaran people across a range of countries in South America. There is a strong sense of cultural pride and tradition perhaps developed from their pasts being before them.

It would be interesting to find out about whether a strong cultural identity,  traditional and history play in mental health and whether this focus results in less anxiety amongst the Aymaran people.