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Anxiety issues: understand it

Anxiety (clinically recognized as Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)) is one of the most enquired issues for support. Everyone feels anxiety in some way or another.

Anxiety is both a cognitive and emotional process where fear resides. It is an evolutionary emotion that shows us a red-flag. Therefore, it is important to see anxiety more as a function than an issue. The only issue is when anxiety takes over your life and inhibits day-to-day functioning.

When you have the right tools to manage anxiety, then those strong emotions and feelings can subside and stop from getting in the way of your life.

Anxiety wants to be seen. That's why it bangs loudly on your door. Until you see it and hear it, it won't go away. It is there to protect you - that is its function. Remember it as the built-in red flag of your system. However sometimes, the anxiety is an inaccurate reading of your environment (it may be disproportionate to what is really going on). In this case, this is based on past experiences, which may have been traumatic, that still blur the present and future.

Anxiety issues can then cause anxious feelings even from your day to day activities because you have not been able to conclude appropriately what is safe and what isn’t.

Anxiety is also about keeping us stuck, since that's what fear is about. When we are stuck for some time, it builds up into a ball of anxiety leading to panic. If you've heard of the phrase 'feelings can become addictive', what you were being told is that the more we repeat a cognition/thought, the stronger it becomes (like building unhealthy muscles) and the emotions associated to that thought to strengthen too. Unconsciously we may learn to be anxious. This is when someone says "I feel anxious but I don't know about what". It's become addictive worrying about something, but not realizing it, and also not realizing what you are unconsciously reacting to.

Anxiety symptoms include:

  • Sleep problems or insomnia

  • Irritability

  • Unable to focus/concentrate

  • Dreading something about the future

  • Procrastination/wanting to run away

Burying your feelings of anxiousness creates a snowball effect. So it is important to understand the anxiety, what it's telling you, and have the tools to manage it.

Therapy and counseling can help with anxiety issues. With a good therapist, you can start reframing anxiety, understanding what your anxiety is about, and developing the tools that help you hear your anxiety better and manage it. It is not about getting rid of anxiety. You need this built-in red flag in your system. You just need to know how to work with it.

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