“There are risks and costs to a program of action,
but they are far less than
the long range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.”
Struggling with depression, anxiety, or a difficult relationship is challenging enough. Sometimes the symptoms are so overwhelming it is a day to day experience, let alone trying to muster up enough energy and time to take action do something different. Even though we identify we do not like the situation we are in or the symptoms we are experiencing, thinking about doing something else may seem impossible. Stepping outside of our comfort zone is difficult AND rewarding. Here we will be discussing maladaptive anxiety, anxiety that does not have any benefit, anxiety that is present when it is not needed. If knowledge is power then let’s talk about anxiety and ways to develop a “program of action.”
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is an emotion that everyone experiences. Feeling anxiety is a series of both physical and mental changes. Our body responds by getting ready to fight or flee. Our heart may beat faster, our breathing changes, and we may get muscle tension. Mentally we are more alert and hyper vigilant.
How is anxiety good for us?
Like any emotion, anxiety communicates to us that something is not right, there is danger. Our bodies respond accordingly with the fight or flight response so we can respond quickly. Anxiety also motivates us or prompts us to do something different. For example, leaving a situation that may be harmful, anxiety can protect us.
What causes anxiety?
People have different reasons anxiety develops in their life. People may have all the factors discussed here, some, or just one. Genetically people may be predisposed to anxiety. Often anxiety is passed down through the generations. Likely if you are experiencing anxiety, a member of your family may as well. An accumulation of stressful events also contributes to anxiety disorders. People with anxiety disorders often find that a situation either internal or external to themselves creates thoughts that trigger anxiety. Our thoughts are not a mirror image of reality, but are a perception and interpretation. It is the meaning we place on events that can trigger anxiety.
How do we manage anxiety?
There are several things people can do to manage anxiety. First, learning how to manage and challenge automatic, anxiety provoking thoughts is beneficial. Also, confronting feelings of anxiety is helpful as you begin to build confidence in yourself that you can manage the feelings and situation that brought on anxiety. When we escape or avoid as a way to deal with anxiety there is short term relief, but in the long term the symptoms of anxiety may actually increase and we lose confidence in our ability to handle these feelings which increases worry about it happening again.
If you are struggling with anxiety, please don’t feel like you have to do it alone. Often our responses to anxiety are so well rehearsed that it becomes habit, automatic. Kariah and I are so excited for our group to start as we will be covering this information more in-depth and helping create your personal program of action against anxiety.