Updated: May 5, 2020
Anxiety is not your enemy. I understand that you may feel like your mind and body are failing you but they're not. Your body is trying to help you. It’s just a bit overactive. Our mind must always be aware of what our body is trying to tell us. It’s just like when we need to eat our stomach growls. When we are in danger our body shoots out adrenaline signaling a fight or flight response so that you can protect yourself. You see? Our anxiety is not the enemy. Our anxiety is there to protect us... it’s just being a little overprotective and we have to re-train it. If you fight against your anxiety you’re only fighting yourself... and you’re anxiety will always win. Stop fighting. Accept that you have anxiety. Then you can work on managing it.
Balance being accepting of your current circumstances while also trying to improve. Accept that you have anxiety so that you can focus on managing it... not fighting it. Build trust in yourself and know that you can handle anything that comes your way.
There’s two main reasons for anxiety... there’s situational and chronic. Situational means your experiencing a stressful situation that’s causing you anxiety. This type of anxiety can be caused by any big change... both good and bad... marriage/divorce, having a baby/trying to have a baby, buying a house/selling a house, losing a job/starting a new job. This type of anxiety is normal. Most of us don’t like or adapt well to change and our body alerts us of danger. Anxiety is a fear of the unknown. Because we don’t know what’s going to happen it makes our future uncertain which causes us to worry and become anxious.
It’s ok to feel anxious when there’s a rational logical reason to be anxious. It’s a natural human emotion. We just have to keep it in check and manage it. Don’t ignore it. Be good to your mind and body and take care of yourself and know that your body is doing its job... it’s alerting you that somethings wrong. So instead of getting angry at your own mind and body and causing yourself even more anxiety... take care of yourself by using healthy coping skills... exercise, listen to music, get a massage, pray, do something fun... whatever it is that will calm you down. Do something that sends a message to your mind and body that you matter and that it’s going to be ok.
Chronic anxiety means your body has somehow learned to respond to stressful events by becoming anxious and you now become anxious at any and all situations that may not be as logical as the situational anxiety. This could mean getting anxious just having to deal with everyday problems like being in public places, having an appointment cancelled, having to call customer service about a bill or being in traffic. So you can use the information about situational type of anxiety to help you manage your current symptoms but it won’t get rid of your anxiety.
It will be up to you (and maybe a therapist) to figure out why your having anxiety. Usually this type of anxiety is caused by some sort of trauma we experienced earlier in our life. This could be any number of things... experiencing the death of a loved one, going through a divorce, losing your home or job, being diagnosed with a serious medical condition, being in some type of accident, etc...
(TRIGGER WARNING) ***On the more severe side it could be due to physical or sexual abuse, being a domestic violence relationship or having an addiction to drugs or alcohol.***
If the trauma was experienced as a child it doesn’t necessarily have to be things that are this intense. As a child we are more sensitive to life events and change so any type of instability could be considered traumatic for a child. We could be talking about parents getting divorced, being yelled at, being bullied, or witnessing a parent go through anything stressful and watching their anxiety. So if you had a parent or primary caregiver who was anxious then most likely you also learned to respond to situations with anxiety.
It’s important to know the underlying root cause of your anxiety for a couple reasons-first we need to realize that we’re not going crazy or losing our minds. We are continually reacting to a traumatic event that was never worked through or resolved. Currently our anxiety probably seems like it comes out of nowhere and for no reason but that’s not true. There is a very good logical reason for our anxiety it’s just that it happened a while ago. The other reason is so that we can heal from the trauma. Then our body won’t feel the need to continually react... or overreact... to current situations and problems.
What may have happened is that your mind and body experienced something traumatic (that it perceived as life or death) and your fight or flight response kicked in. It shot adrenaline through your body, which feels like anxiety. This is your body‘s way of warning you that you’re in danger and that you need to either fight or run away. Because you probably never processed what you went through or healed from the trauma your body has remained in that same fight or flight mode where it’s perceiving situations as being dangerous that are not actually dangerous.
So in order for your anxiety to go away or at least decrease you have to heal from that trauma. You heal from it by processing it... talking about it or writing about it. You can talk about it with someone you trust or a mental health professional or write about it. You have to work through whatever pain that situation has caused you and be able to accept what happened, make peace with the situation and let it go.
If none of these situations apply to you then you may just be a worrier as part of your personality. It could be biological... a chemical imbalance in the brain. If this is the case then you just want to focus on managing your symptoms so they’re not controlling you. You may always have some level of anxiety. You just want to make sure it’s at the lower level.
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