What’s the Deal With Anxiety?

Is anxiety bad? Is anxiety unfounded fear? Anxiety can be a healthy response to everyday circumstances that are perceived as stressful, like “battling” aggressive and dangerous drivers on the road or concern about securing employment at a job interview. Anxiety is only a negative issue when our feelings become excessive and so overpowering that they restrict our life.

Can anxiety can be a positive?
Like most uncomfortable emotions, anxiety can be an opportunity for growth when you examine what’s triggering your anxiety and take conscious action to make a shift to improve the situation.

Anxiety is common
You don’t need to be clinically diagnosed with anxiety to suffer from it. One third of all US adults will be affected by an anxiety disorder in their lifetime, making it the most common mental illness in the US. Less than 40% of those that suffer from it ever receive treatment.

COVID-19 has intensified anxiety. Recent research indicates that anxiety and depression are the most prevalent mental health conditions after recovering from COVID-19. In the wake of COVID-19, ‘post-COVID anxiety’ has been formally recognized as an issue of concern, with anxiety being considered one of the longer-term symptoms of Post-COVID syndrome (PCS). Studies have shown that the more excessive the COVID-19 symptoms, the worse your anxiety after recovery.

So what?
Anxiety isn’t just an overstressed response to life that’s keeping your from enjoying yourself, it can include a host of complications that increase the risk of health challenges, cause physical symptoms and even affect your memory.

If you’ve ever experienced anxiety you’ll appreciate that you can’t just snap out of it. It can take time to “turn the ship around” and start to feel better again. However there are a number of ways of managing and recovering from anxiety.

Research professor, Brené Brown shares these life shifting learnings about anxiety:

1. Anxiety is one of the most contagious emotions – that’s why it always takes down groups of people, not just individuals.

2. Calm is also contagious, but it’s a daily intention and practice.

3. We all have patterned ways of dealing with anxiety that are often set up in our first families. Understanding how and why can set us free. 

Anxiety is the opposite of excitement and we can talk ourselves out of escalating our anxiety and finding solace in the fact that our feelings are excitement about a situation and we are completely safe.

Find help
Research recommends a holistic, healthcare-based approach to treatment which can include:

  • Therapy can support you to learn strategies to reset your nervous system and increase your stress tolerance.
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Self-Care
    • Avoid the news
    • Meditate
    • Get enough sleep
    • Healthy eating (eliminate foods that may cause inflammation and gut issues)
    • Nature walks
    • Spend time with supportive loved ones

Personally I have found that the book Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David Burns was really helpful in understanding my feelings and shifting my mindset to feel better. Also Integrative Therapeutics – Lavela has made a noticeable difference in agitation and stress levels. From the reviews I read on Amazon, many are using this supplement to successfully replace or avoid taking pharmaceutical anti-anxiety medications.

Before the pandemic and post-pandemic, anxiety is a common issue and seeking help is vital for your mental and physical health. Your feelings are real, valid and pointing you to a path of healing and recovery. Seek out assistance and work with a professional to find a course of treatment that resonates with you. With so many suffering from anxiety, there’s no stigma, just support.  

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