Anxiety: A Gift From Nature!
11th November, 2007
Anxiety is a gift from nature because it aids survival — none of us would live long if anxiety didn't stop us from taking foolhardy risks! But, like anything else, excessive anxiety can be problematic and become as disabling as any chronic physical illness.
Excessive fears and worry, panic attacks, phobias, obsessive-compulsive behaviours and post-traumatic stress reactions are all forms of out of control anxiety. If you suffer from one of these conditions, or if your days are blighted by continual low-grade anxiety, it can feel as if life your will never be normal again, as if something alien is in control of you. And prolonged experience of these feelings will lead to feelings of being depressed.
There are three elements to anxiety:
- the physical sensations you experience;
- the emotions you have while experiencing them
- and the thoughts that go through your mind at the time.
We can read all the books, understand logically why we are anxious, challenge our negative thoughts and try very hard to overcome them, yet we still feel overwhelmed by our emotions. We find we are 'emotionally hijacked' to the extent that we become more and more anxious and depressed.
But anxiety is not something all-powerful and inexplicable. It can be managed very easily, when you know how. When you understand the reasons for the physical and emotional reactions, you are half way to understanding how you can control them. Needing a sense of personal control in one's life is one of the givens of human nature.
There is nothing wrong in seeking help in these situations, and the sooner that is done the better, otherwise the anxious behaviour tends to increase in frequency and intensity. You don't need months or years of therapy, or endless 'psychobabble' discussions and analysis of your past; modern therapy can be effective, fast and practical helping you to move on with your life as quickly as possible.
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