Updated: Apr 27
Anxiety is the body’s natural reaction to stress and is a totally normal human emotion. It is part of everyone’s life experience and its function is to alert us to potential threats, so we can assess them and respond in an appropriate way. It is quite normal to feel anxious from time to time, but when it becomes a regular feeling on a daily basis or if someone feels stuck in it, then it becomes a problem. And as with all things that happen on a regular basis, it can become an automatic response or a habit. In the latest article from Becoming Aware, we look at anxiety in more detail including the situations that can lead to it, the signs of anxiety and ways to overcome it.
What situations cause anxiety?
The degree of anxiety varies from person to person and as we have mentioned, it is quite a natural reaction. To feel anxious occasionally really is OK but when it happens continually, it can be quite debilitating. Anxiety is normally based in the future, as it’s a fear of something to come. This means that if you are worrying about the future, you are disconnected from the present moment. It can occur in any number of situations including meeting new people, going on a date, moving house, a job interview, losing a job, having a baby, getting married, money issues, being a parent or for some, just getting through the day; the list really is endless. It may be triggered by anything that takes you out of your comfort zone, which is where familiarity lies and you feel safe.
Signs of anxiety
There are many signs of anxiety and it doesn’t just affect the mind, it affects the body too.
· Feeling nervous or restless
· Feeling panic or having panic attacks
· Thoughts going round and round in your head
· Mind running scenarios of what might happen
· Finding it hard to focus or concentrate
· Feeling irritable
· Wanting to run away
· Feeling on high alert
· Increased heart rate
· Feeling weak and/or tired
· Problems with sleeping
· Affecting your appetite – eating more or being unable to eat
Reinforcement of being stuck
Being labelled as anxious by a doctor, parents, other family members, friends, and teachers or even by you telling yourself that you are an anxious person reinforces the issue. You believe that’s who you are and you become stuck. What you believe you create, so begins a life of being an anxious person. However, no amount of anxiety or stress will change what is going to happen. You can’t worry yourself to a solution. Finding some peace and calm will help you to free yourself and enable you to cope and move through whatever challenges life brings your way.
What triggers anxiety?
When there is a regular heightened emotion of anxiety, there is often a trigger that comes from the past. Sometimes, it is a major trauma that you will be consciously aware of but it may come from something that appears to be much less significant and which you may not even be aware has caused such a response. Just as an example, perhaps you were frightened to go on stage at school at young age. It certainly wasn’t a pleasant experience and you may have virtually forgotten it. However the body remembers that feeling and when anything happens that even remotely feels the same way, it triggers all the emotion from that situation and puts you right back at that moment emotionally. It piggy backs through time and grows leaving you in a state of heightened anxiety that may not make any sense with what is going on in your life at the moment.
Ways to overcome anxiety
1. Bring yourself back to the present moment. Anxiety is in the future, so often in that feeling you are disconnected from the present. In the present moment you are actually OK. Keep reminding yourself of that.
2. Find ways to relax and feel calm. Try meditation. There are videos free on YouTube and apps available.
3. Focus on your breathing and take deep breaths. Use calming breathing exercises.
4. Talk about how you are feeling to a family member or friend.
5. Write down whatever is bothering you. Don’t think about it, just put pen to paper. You may find solutions coming to you as you write freely.
6. Exercise or do activities that may help you to relax.
7. Seek help from a professional who can work with you to release the emotion and give you strategies to cope for the future.
You can choose if you allow the emotion to consume you or not
In every moment you have a choice. You may feel anxiety is in control, but you can take your power back any time you want. No emotion is greater than you. The emotion is not really in control, you are, you just haven’t realised it yet. You are able to choose whether you allow the emotion to consume you or whether you accept it for what it is, a normal human emotion just passing through your human body showing you something that makes you feel uncomfortable. It’s taking you out of this present moment and your comfort zone and putting you in a future that isn’t yet real. It’s the fear of the unknown.
Spend that time and energy focussing on what you want to positively happen
When you see it in this way, you are taking your power back. You can then ask yourself, “What is making me feel uncomfortable here and what am I able to do about it?” Sometimes there is nothing to do but acknowledge this is how you feel because it is something new or uncomfortable and it’s OK to feel like this. Remind yourself this feeling is temporary; you are never sent anything that you cannot cope with or get through. You got this. Then you can shift your focus onto what you do want, not what you don’t and that feeling of being out of control can be released. If you’re spending time and energy feeling fearful and anxious about what you don’t want to negatively happen, surely it’s more valuable to spend that time and energy focussing on what you want to positively happen.
How can Becoming Aware help you overcome your anxiety?
I have worked with many people stuck in anxiety over the years and have not yet met someone who does not have a root to their anxiety in the past somewhere. I can’t say that you won’t feel anxious again as it is a normal human emotion that has a purpose but I’ll help you to get to the point where you are able to recognise the anxiety, discover the cause and provide a solution to it, thus allowing you to move through the feeling and let it go. I’m a qualified and experienced Mental & Emotional Wellbeing Practitioner, so call me on 07766 427966 for a free without obligation chat or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch my video guiding you through a simple technique to release anxiety here: http://bit.ly/fbanxietyvideo