Do I have Anxiety?
Do I have Anxiety? Living in an ever-changing, anxious-filled, unpredictable world!
I think we can all safely say that 2020 has sucker-punched us. Some of us are possibly still bent over and trying to figure out, “What on earth is happening?”. Instead, maybe you have come to terms with what is happening in this pandemic-reeling world and plotting your next move forward. Whatever your stance or strategy is, we have all been dealing with different forms of anxiety along this unknown COVID-19 road.
Anxious feelings vs Anxiety
Anxiety and stress are normal emotions. It can be healthy for us to experience bouts of them, in small doses; but it is terrifying and detrimental when it’s all-consuming. When anxiety or stress is in the right amounts, it is called eustress.
Eustress is known as positive stress- it is what we sometimes need in order to get things done and tackle tasks, feelings, or fears. If we are able to use this energy in a positive way and achieve what we had set out in front of us, it is obviously a good thing. Often things would not get done without a deadline. As a deadline looms nearer and nearer, our stress and anxiety increase to the point that it forces us to complete the task. If these feelings increase to a point that you can no longer think clearly, your emotions are overwhelming and the deadline comes and goes without the task being completed- it has obviously moved from eustress to distress, the negative stress.
The feelings of anxiety and stressful thoughts have become too powerful, affecting your ability to think reasonably and do simple day-to-day tasks. There is a feeling of constant fear, all-consuming negative thoughts and drowning in the worry of what is going to happen before it even happens. You experience persistent helpless thoughts about how to deal with a situation that, to someone else, is quite simple. When that is the level of anxious thoughts and stress you are dealing with, daily, it is soul-destroying. And it is then that your anxious feelings and thoughts have probably developed into full-fledged anxiety. If this is you, it is time to evaluate and work on this anxiety.
Common Symptoms of Anxiety and Stress Include:
- restlessness, and a feeling of being “on-edge”
- uncontrollable feelings of worry
- increased irritability
- concentration difficulties
- sleep difficulties, such as problems in falling or staying asleep
- panic attacks
When it affects our whole body
Unfortunately, anxiety and stress do not only attack our mind, but also our wellbeing and our overall health. A state of constant unmanaged stress will make you physically sick and can cause a multitude of diseases; such as: hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, cancer, and a number of other diseases.
The Good News!
Psychology shows that when we deal with the stress and anxiety we are facing, in the correct way and manner, we can overcome it. We can master it, instead of it mastering us- and that is what is key.
The Key in Everyday Life is Being the Master of our Emotions and our Destiny!
What are the Keys to making your emotions and thoughts obey you?
- Acknowledge your thoughts
If you do not check your thoughts, they will check you! Negative thoughts, emotions and our non-conscious mind do not just go away because we think we stop giving it attention. The less attention you give your thoughts, the worse things become. It’s important that you do not sweep what needs dealing with under the rug of disbelief. Adopting ostrich-like behaviours do not work; sticking your head into the sand will only make your head sore and your problems bigger. Your number one key is to acknowledge your emotions and decide on a course forward.
- Self- treatment
We can learn to manage some if not all, of the anxiety and stress we are facing through many different self-help methods; such as exercise, meditation and support groups. Consciously reviewing your thoughts, writing them down and using deliberate re-evaluation methods and techniques can help you rewire your thoughts.
- Professional treatment
We get to a point where we realize we can’t do it on our own anymore, and that we need to reach out for help from a trained professional. They can help us navigate through the stormy, murky seas of life as they will be wearing clear, neutral glasses. Sometimes waiting too long to get this help and the anxiety compounds, resulting in layers of an onion needing to be peeled, slowly revealing the truth and healing we are looking for.
Whatever it is that you are dealing with, there is always a positive solution. The question is, which route are you going take? and which one will have the best outcome? for that point in time.
We have the ability.
According to Positive Psychology –
Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to adapt. “Our brains are truly extraordinary; unlike computers, which are built to certain specifications and receive software updates periodically, our brains can actually receive hardware updates in addition to software updates. Different pathways form and fall dormant, are created and are discarded, according to our experiences.
When we learn something new, we create new connections between our neurons. We rewire our brains to adapt to new circumstances. This happens daily, but it’s also something that we can encourage and stimulate.”
How incredible is that? You can literally change the wiring of your brain! You do not have to stay in your anxiety fixed coma or stress-induced trans any longer. If you want to be free, you can be.
It happens to us all
I have had bouts of mild to severe anxiety and stress over my lifetime. I have done all three of the points above. Each one was crucial at different times. Always and most importantly, I have stayed listening to my heart about what I needed and when. That was the key! I remained moldable; choosing to loved the outcome and the journey. In the end look back on those periods of darkness, not with horror or pain but rather, with joy, because I saw the growth that took place. I know the pit I was in, the mountain I had to climb and the joy of the success. There are still times, now, where my brain reverts, and I must overcome.
No matter the circumstance, there is always a lesson to be learnt. You can’t control what life throws at you but know that you choose the outcome you inevitably have.