Feeling anxious is normal and at some point in life everyone experiences it. For example, when starting a new job, it is understandable to feel some anxiety. We may worry about if we are going to be successful in the new job. Anxiety is fear based. Using the starting-a-new-job example, anxiety may arise from a fear of failing at the new job or a fear of not liking it. Anxiety is also adaptive as it helps us to prepare better to face new and changing situations such as preparing to start a new job. Fear triggers our “fight or flight” response and gets our body ready to defend itself. It makes our heart beat faster to pump blood to our muscles so we have the energy to run away (flight) or fight off the oncoming danger. When the perceived fear is real, anxiety prepares us and helps us survive. When there is no real danger, it still triggers the "fight or flight" response with its physiological effects and over time this "high-alert" stressful status takes a toll on our bodies. When we are anxious, we tend to see the world as very threatening and dangerous. However, this way of thinking can be overly negative and unrealistic. How we manage the stressors in our lives affects our quality of life.
Relaxation and breathing exercises as well as hypnosis are excellent tools to effectively work with anxiety. Another strategy for helping you manage your anxiety involves replacing anxious, negative thoughts with reality based thinking that reflect life realistically and not fear-based. Another strategy is to face our fears. Begin with a lesser fear, something that is not too scary. Practice facing the fear, until you realize that the only thing to fear is fear itself. Learn to identify what is a real fear and what is an imagined fear not based on reality. Another tool is to live a balanced life.
The Key Mental Health Institute LLC
Jane Janer, Psy.D.