What is the cause of anxiety?
The more you know about anxiety, the more able you are to recognise if you, or someone you know, is suffering from it. And, the more information you have about the cause of anxiety, the less threatening it will feel!
We certainly do have much to be anxious about – unemployment, crime, global warming, recession...
What makes you anxious?
The Good News...
Anxiety is a natural human emotion, and can bring our attention to unconscious fears and areas of our emotional life that need attention. Our fears can signal areas of our lives that need to change.
Anxiety has become a medical term! On the one hand this means that we do have access to professionals who are obliged to, and capable of taking us seriously when the panic grips us. But, on the other hand, it means that we think about anxiety as an illness when it is really a human condition. In fact, all well-balanced people, who take responsibility for their actions, feel a degree of anxiety.
We also know that anxiety increases our performance to a certain extent. But there does come a point where too much anxiety makes us less able to perform. Sometimes we cannot turn the anxiety tap off and anxiety becomes an almost constant state of being. Normal fears and worries turn into uncontrollable nervousness and even debilitating panic attacks...
Then we know it is time to do something about the cause of anxiety!
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Anxiety covers a broad range of “worries”... fearful apprehension about a future event like an upcoming exam; anxiety surrounding unexpected events like loss of financial security; a range of clinical disorders like obsessive-compulsive-disorder; and panic attacks.
At its base, anxiety is related to fear. But there are differences...
Some people seem more prone to out-of-control, out-of-proportion fear and others sail through life quite calmly without monsters bothering their thoughts.. Why?
Partly it is due to inheritance.
Anxiety is hard-wired...
Some people are genetically predisposed to obsessive worry, while others may only experience anxiety after a traumatic or unsettling event. So anxiety may be a constant partner – or an occasional visitor...
Either way, anxiety is a wake-up call, a sign that you have something to deal with. The more you ignore it and shut it down, the more overwhelming it can be. It does take courage to confront our “demons” and face the fact of our human condition which often includes feelings of powerlessness – a feeling that is rife as we face an uncertain future globally and personally... Anxiety is fueled by uncertainty.
The general advice for dealing with the cause of anxiety is toconfront your fears!
According to Drs le Roux and de Klerk-Wyers, the authors ofEmotional Intelligence: A Workbook for Your Wellbeing,
“The only way to control worry is to control the way we think about it. Be aware of the thoughts leading to anxiety. The quicker we become aware of these thoughts, the easier it is to stop and change them to more positive ones.”
They add that living in a violent society requires a high degree of emotional intelligence in order not to lose oneself in the fear. They suggest turning negative thoughts about not being safe into constructive thoughts. We can do this by facing the fear – admitting we do not feel safe and then doing whatever we can to make ourselves feel more secure. And then accepting that we have done everything possible.
It is not always easy to turn anxious, negative thoughts into positive ones.
Fear keeps us living in the “what if” and it is painful to face the fear. But, even if we cannot change our external surroundings, we HAVE TO bring the centre of control back to ourselves.
WE are in control of our emotions.
We can learn to identify negative thought patterns, question them, and look at things differently. This consciousness alone will lessen our anxiety.
Beating anxiety requires letting go
To beat anxiety, you need to identify the situation that makes you anxious and then work out why you lack confidence in facing that particular situation. Even if you are in a situation that you can’t control, you must find your own freedom in the situation. You can accept that the world is the way that it is, and you can also choose your response.
It does take practise!
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When talking about the cause of anxiety, Dr Le Roux concludes,
“At some point we have to consciously let go. We are mostly unable to control or change the situation out there, but we are able to change or control our inner world. This means we can still have fun if we find a way to live in each moment as it comes to us. Why give away the opportunities for happiness just because we are so fearful of what may, and often does not, happen?”
Please consult your doctor or a professional therapist if you are worried about anxiety and feel overwhelmed by fear.
Slowly and Consciously! ...
All stress relief, including the relaxation response begins with the breath!
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