The Rollercoaster of Anxiety

June 6, 2016 - - 0 Comments The Rollercoaster of Anxiety

The Fear Emotion

For as long as man has walked the earth fear has played an intrinsic part in his life.

herhouse_rollercoaster_anxietyOriginally, it was a reactionary mechanism meant to ward off danger; a predatory animal, enemy, a falling object, something to jerk us into an acute awareness by delivering extra energy and adrenalin, a reactionary jolt to our senses.

That’s all changed in today’s world of modern technology.  We are bombarded by all the things we fear on television, at the movie theatres, on our computers and smart phones.

The clusters of neurons in our brain, where fear originates cannot tell the difference between media triggers and the real world.  So the emotion anxiety that occurs as the result of threats perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable are common these days and its part of why 60 million Americans are suffering from anxiety disorders every year.

When you think about it fear and anxiety it’s really all in your head.  These feelings originating from the ‘fear center’ can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work and relationships.  It’s what you do with the message that really matters.

The trick again is turning fear around and realizing occasional angst is a normal part of life, that feeling anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test or making an important decision is acceptable.

Realizing this heart rate, this sweat on the skin, this is a natural reaction.  Then turn it into excitement and recognize that you might be a little nervous excited too and that means you’re going to do well.  Make it fun and believe it’s going to be fun, much the same way great actors and elite athletes do on stage and on the playing field.

The same lesson applies to everyday people and that is the only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts.  It is a product of our imagination, causing us to dread things that do not at present and my not ever exist.

Things in your future may seem fearful but it’s important to remember that many of the things we fear never happen.   Someone once said, “We can’t know the future but the past should give us hope.”

Living in worry in today’s world

Worrying is fine; worrying too much is a problem.  Anxiety manifests itself in multiple ways and does not discriminate by age, gender or race.

One out of two Americans will suffer at some time in their life from anxiety, from depression or from addiction.  That stems back to how we’re thinking about our challenges and how we adjust.

Sometimes a little worry or anxiety is helpful and can help you prepare for an upcoming situation.

This can be a learned behavior from childhood.  Some believe that your mind is like a jetliner waiting to take off on the runway, ready to kick into reality once something happens.

If you’re trained and wired to be a worrier and doomsayer then most likely that’s going to be your thought process and it becomes so irrational that you can’t focus on reality or think clearly.

People with high anxiety have difficulty shaking their worries.  When that happens, they may experience actual physical symptoms.

What to do?  Well, when you start to worry obsessively try getting very specific about what’s causing this behavior.  Be very precise, write it down or say it out loud, giving voice to your emotion so that you can question it.

Turn it around instead and minimize the symptom.  It’s indigestion, not a heart attack.  You have a simple headache and not a brain tumor.  Turn your situations around by becoming realistic and solution-oriented.

Set your mind in a positive thinking mode so that it can’t be worrying.  And then there’s that big never changing statistic.

Remember, the fact is that 90% of what we worry about never happens!

So we have the choice of using that idea to try to help us decide if what we’re worrying about is reasonable or not.

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