(Day 1) Exploring the Underlying Root of Anxiety
Are you preparing for a test? About to get up in front of an audience of people to speak? Or perhaps you’re simply overwhelmed with the plate of “to-do’s” in front of you which makes you sit stagnantly unable to start?
You have anxiety.
The deeper issue of anxiety is actually brought about by a perceived fear.
You may be thinking, “fear doesn’t have anything to do with my anxiety.” But if you look deeper, you will find fear has more to do with stress and anxiety than you may think!
Because anxiety, worry and stress is all related to our “fight or flight” response, a mechanism in our body which enables us to take action when stressful or perceived threatening situations arise.
It can be a good thing, if activated during times when stressful situations are indeed meant to help you take action. Such as being assaulted by a burglar. You will most definitely want this mechanism to activate in order for you to either take “flight” or “fight” back!
But it can also go a bit haywire in our bodies if we are constantly stressed and we don’t take proper measures to turn off the “fight or flight” response. Instead it becomes a mechanism constantly “on” in our bodies, causing increased fatigue, less focused attention, and can even spiral our moods into depression swings and other unwanted psychological responses.
When you have so much on your plate, things at work, at home, or at school that is demanding your attention, we have an underlying fear that we are not in control.
We fear we won’t meet our deadlines.
We fear the sense of failure in being able to execute everything well.
We fear putting ourselves out there for fear of rejection from family or friends.
We fear sending our child off to school for fear of losing them.
We fear connecting with another person intimately for fear of not gaining the reciprocated love we crave to have.
So… we live in this constant state of fear, which continues to cripple us day-by-day, making us less productive, more tired, and often leads to physical illnesses or psychological illnesses if we don’t take control over our fear.
So how do we overcome this?
The first step today is to simply educate you on the underlying cause of stress and anxiety, which as I shared, is fear. You need to know what you are up against. You need to know the varying aspects of worry and stress. Because stress and anxiety can be placed on a sliding scale.
Some people have severe amounts of stress due to a traumatic life event in their life. Psychologists claim events such as a death in the family, divorce, experiencing an affair, being sexually assaulted, and going to war are all events which can cause post-traumatic stress—a severe form of stress. These events often need deeper intervention to help one cope, such as PTS counseling, anti-anxiety or depression medication (more on this later), and other therapeutic measures to get our bodies back into a normal state of function.
But then there’s the everyday stress. More acute stress. Which, in turn, can create chronic stress depending on how we internalize the triggers of stress in our lives and how we handle them. These stressful events of daily life functions, such as work-related, financial, or parenting-stress can be just as damaging and life-threatening as experiencing severe post-traumatic stress events, so it’s not something to dismiss or take lightly.
Like I said, the mechanism of stress is a “fight or flight” response. Without going into too much detail, basically when we face an either real or perceived life-threatening or stressful situation, this triggers our bodies to release hormones and chemicals, simultaneously, to help us adapt or react to the situation at hand. The problem with this mechanism is when the switch is left on permanently.
Think about it. If you left your dishwasher on a continual wash and heat, wash and heat cycle, eventually it will wear out and malfunction because it was left permanently on with no periods of rest in-between.
Our bodies are meant to have periods of rest. It’s when we are able to rebuild and refresh in order to face the next difficult life event or perform the next item on our “to-do” list or be able to interact properly with the next person we come in contact with. If our stress, or “fight or flight” response is permanently left on, our bodies begin to malfunction, wear out, and we start to shut-down. This is why we must begin to take proper measures to learn how to turn our stress switch off, all throughout the day, or during segmented moments of our day, in order for us to thrive well.
Tomorrow I’m going to talk about one of the easiest, basic ways I’ve found that will reduce the stress in your life in less than 1 minute. But there’s a whole lot more to it than you think!
**If you missed my Introductory Post about my own personal struggles and journey with anxiety, click here!**