The value of anxiety

While sitting at work, I thought "I haven't written a new article in over a month". Then I was wondering what I could share with you, what could bring some value to my readers. The topic came up by itself - here I am grateful to my clients.

Many of my clients don't know why they struggle with anxiety. Very often I hear from them "nothing spectacular happened today and yet I felt a growing anxiety". After discussing the topic in depth and analysing the activities of the day, we very often come to a common conclusion that they did not act in accordance with their moral campus - they could not say "no" to the other person despite the fact that they did not want to do something.

Many of us have a problem with this, we are afraid that if we take care of ourselves and say "I'm sorry but I don't feel comfortable in this situation" or "I need some time to think about it", we will disappoint others, perhaps we are afraid that others will stop liking/loving us; or that they could consider us selfish. In such situations, there are also thoughts like "I have to do this", "I should sacrifice" - and this is where we can talk about expectations and its relationship with anxiety.

Such thoughts as "I have to" and "I should" are related to the expectations we have for ourselves, but also to the expectations from society/others. We can have great difficulty taking into account our own boundaries at such times and that is why anxiety arises in us. Anxiety is not always "bad" - sometimes anxiety is a signal from our psyche, our body, that we are acting against ourselves. But we have a problem sometimes listening to these delicate signals. 

I would like to encourage you to question certain thoughts - instead of "I must/should" try to apply "I choose/would like to do it" (or of course "I don't have to/I don't want to"). Give yourself a choice that will affect your psyche in a positive, empowering and up-building way.

Such a small change and so big in consequences. Also you can practice active listening of your body - if you feel anxious in certain situations ask yourself "what does my anxiety signal to me? Am I acting against myself/my morals?" If the answer is yes, then I hope you will find the courage, show kindness for yourself, and take care of your own mental health by saying that magic word "no".

There is a mirror side to this idea, closer to the Jungian view of the value of anxiety - in which anxiety comes when we avoid what we know we should do, when we avoid taking responsibility and choose to stay in limbo - some "should's" could be useful, if we learn how to moderate and apply them. The lack/avoidance of should's can be as damaging as having to many of them. Start with small steps in your everyday life - good luck!

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Ramsgate, Kent, CT11

Written by J. Jula Aniol

Ramsgate, Kent, CT11

Through my years of practice, I have developed the ability to create deep, meaningful connections with clients. I offer a safe, friendly, confidential, caring, non-judgemental space for personal growth. I am an accredited member of British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (MBACP – Accred) and of The British Psychological Society (MBPsS).

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