Why do we experience anxiety?
Well its in our DNA. Our bodies are designed that if sense threat we have a threat response. Its so fast we don’t even have time to register the conscious thought. But if you think about that’s logical. If you think back to caveman days if we were about to get eaten by a sabre tooth tiger we needed to act FAST to survive.
BUT here’s the thing.
We don’t live in caveman times any more. Our anxiety response is still stone age and has not caught up to modern living. It makes sense for example that our children are our means of species survival so we fear harm coming to them. That’s a prehistoric in built response.
What is anxiety?
In 2009 in a report by the Mental Health Foundation over 7 million people in the UK are suffering from anxiety and anxiety disorders and women are twice as likely to be affected than men although no one seems to be able to determine why this is.
Anxiety is the feeling of fear, worry, uneasiness, apprehension and dread which happen with the thought that something bad might happen. We feel anxiety in the body through muscle tension, fatigue and concentration problems.
So why is that?
Well when our brain thinks we are in danger our bodies naturally tense and our shoulders round in to protect our organs and use our hard back to defend ourselves.
When our brain is like a washing machine going round and round with the same stressful worrying thoughts that out stress on the body which is tiring. Over time this fatigue will increase.
And we are constantly thinking about the perceived threat we cannot think of anything else. Our focus goes inwards and we can no longer concentrate on anything else.
So how does it appear?
Anxiety symptoms appear in three different ways:
When we have anxious thoughts we look for reassurance that the bad thing we are fearing wont happen. We predict the absolute worst possible outcome and magnify the threat of the bad thing.
We can feel anxiety in our bodies through things such as accelerated heart rate, blurred vision, feeling dizzy. We can have feelings of unreality, get the runs, have aches and pains and sweating.
When we feel anxious we crave reassurance. From partners, family members, work mates, GP’s anyone who can tell us the thing we are worrying about wont happen.
Secondly we avoid the thing that is making anxious because we assume if we avoid it the anxious feelings will go away.
But by avoiding the thing that makes us anxious we never give our brain the chance to see and prove that the threat is in fact not as bad as we feared and we can cope with it.
Anxiety is debilitating. But the good news is you can improve it. Here are a few quick tips to begin to re train your brain.
1. Change what IF to what IS…
When you find yourself in the loop of the what if questions try changing the F to an S and asking yourself what is? What do you know to be factually correct and true. What do you know in the NOW.
2. Ask yourself how realistic is this thought that I am having? Is there any evidence to support it? Is it founded in logic?
3. How helpful is it to me to hold this thought?
4. Is there any evidence to support this thought that I am having?
5. Take a step back and breathe in for 4 hold for 4 out for 4.
Help is out there..
There are loads of self help tools on line that you can check out and excellent apps like Head space to help with relaxation techniques. WWW.anxietyuk.com is another great source of information.
Stay Strong guys x