What is anxiety?

What is Anxiety?  anxietyx

Many people don’t recognize anxiety for what it really is. For some people, they focus on the physical symptoms of anxiety which can often include; muscle aches, tension, headaches, stomach aches, feeling sweaty, feeling like they can’t catch their breath, feel that their heart is pounding away too fast, dizziness and lightheadedness.

Others may think that they must be stupid, weak, weird, or going crazy.  They may feel they should be able to handle their stress and anxiety and that in some way all of these problems must be their fault in some way. Unfortunately, these thoughts can make anxiety become and grow worse.

The truth is that anxiety is a common problem and one of the first things you can do to help reduce it is to learn more about it so that it doesn’t seem to be controlling you.

Think of anxiety as an overly sensitive smoke alarm, but in your body.   A smoke alarm helps to protect in the case of a fire but when they are overly sensitive they go off even when there isn’t a fire.  Remember last time you burnt toast?  Do you want to get rid of your smoke alarm?  No, we need it to be safe.  Anxiety is kind of like that.  When it’s working correctly it is a warning but when it isn’t, it can be overwhelming.

Here are some facts to help you learn how to begin controlling your own anxiety.

1. Anxiety is normal. Yep, it’s normal.  Everyone experiences anxiety at some times. A good example of normal anxiety would be to feel nervous before a job interview, or to ride a roller coaster for the first time, or seeing a snake where you least expected.  fear

2. Anxiety is adaptive. It is a system in our body that helps us to deal with real dangers in life such as jumping out of the way of a fast moving car.  Anxiety can help one prepare for job interviews, or to do our best on tests.   Anxiety is the body’s “fight or flight response” that is used to prepare to defend itself.

A problem with this can be when something feels dangerous but in reality it isn’t.  Such as going into that job interview.  Some physical symptoms are feeling jittery and on edge. Some people feel overwhelmed and start avoiding places such as crowds because the feel overwhelming symptoms of anxiety.

3. Anxiety is not dangerous.   There are times when it’s severe that it feels dangerous but it’s not.

4. Anxiety won’t last forever. When you are anxious, you may feel like the anxiety is going to last forever. But anxiety is temporary and will eventually decrease.

5. Anxiety is mostly anonymous. Most people (except those close to you) cannot tell when you are anxious because it does not show on your face.

6. Anxiety can become a problem. Anxiety is a problem when your body reacts as if there is danger when there is no real danger.

7. Anxiety problems are common. In fact, anxiety is the most common reason for people to seek therapy in the United States.

8. When people suffer from anxiety they unknowingly are practicing what we call “unhelpful” or “negative” thoughts.   This means they are training their brains to be in a constant state of feeling like they are in danger.  Doesn’t practice make perfect?  The trick is to practice new, “helpful” or “positive” thoughts.       heartw

9. In time, our body has got used to this intense sense of danger and it’s difficult to start retraining our mind to think differently.  It’s like the exercise routine, or the walk you take every day.  It’s easier to do it the same way every time.  Even when you change it up a bit, you will usually go back to doing it the same way.   You can train your brain, with practice, to take a different path, a more productive one.  This new path will help you to feel safer and be able to cope to stresses in a more healthy way.

10. Anxiety is an on/off system which is actually called the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.  It is physically impossible to be both relaxed and anxious at the same time.  So another way of helping yourself is to learn how to relax.  If you can learn how to relax when you are stressed then you will have a great deal of your anxiety problem in check.

For more information on Anxiety please check on a previous post Living with Anxiety  and Why are college students feeling more stress and anxiety today?

Worries are usually fears of some sort


About Childs Play Counseling Services

No family is without the occasional frustration or challenge but when issues are interfering with daily activities or causing chaos within the home it may be time to look for help. Child's Play Counseling Services offers full service mental health counseling and therapy for adults, children, adolescents, and families in Covington County, Alabama. I offer therapy for a variety of issues not limited to ADHD, behavior problems, parenting issues, depression, anxiety, school problems, anger management, low self esteem, eating disorders, family issues relating to divorce and separation within the family. I have been helping children, adults and families heal, and lead healthy lives for over 15 years in a safe, confidential, and nonjudgmental environment. I can help you. Call 334-222-7094 to schedule your appointment. I am licensed in Alabama as well as Florida and in addition to being a licensed counselor, I am also licensed in both states to offer supervision for those wishing to obtain their licenses in Alabama, Florida or certification in Play Therapy. I often teach parenting classes and training and conduct workshops to other professionals in the field of mental health. The topics I present on include issues of concern for parents, as well as counseling techniques to professionals. I specialize in Play Therapy and am always happy to conduct workshops to other professionals on the benefits of play therapy. If you would like me speak at your event or offer a workshop in your area, please contact me and we can set something up.
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2 Responses to What is anxiety?

  1. Backlinked this to Understanding Fear and Anxiety (an older post on my evergreen blog, looking at self-harm). Thanks for “liking” my C-PTSD post, or I never would have known about you. Reading your bio, it seems we have a great many of the same interests. I’ll be back.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

  2. Pingback: Understanding the link between anxiety & self-harm | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

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