Anxiety in the Modern Era
Anxiety is a term that gets thrown around by everyone. It has taken on this larger than life definition that means almost anything to everyone. If you were to ask people what is “anxiety” how many different answers would you receive? If you look it up in the dictionary (I lied, I looked it up on dictionary.com) anxiety is described in 3 ways:
1) A distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune.
2) Earnest but tense desire; eagerness
3) A state of apprehension and psychic tension occurring in some forms of mental disorder.
Anxiety is normal and everyone experiences it. For some anxiety can be a positive, thrill seeking experience and for others it can be riddled with doom and apprehension. And of course it can be everything in between.
Most times anxiety isn’t an issue since there’s an ebb and flow to it.
But that’s what makes anxiety so difficult to understand because we all experience it but some people can experience it in an amplified level that warrants a clinical diagnosis or causes extreme distress in your life.
Anxiety can seep into every aspect of your life if it goes unchecked.
This type of anxiety keeps you engaged in your mind instead of engaged in your life.
What are you to do then? Continue to suffer forever? Just grin and bear it. Or get over it, just relax. No, if those things worked there wouldn’t be a need for this post.
Here are some things you can do. It’s not a magic pill but with practice it does get easier.
First thing is to Notice it. We can be on auto pilot and not notice when we start to experience the signs of anxiety until we’re in a full blown anxious state. Then we react to the anxiety which then makes us feel more out of control and susceptible to impulses. Instead ground your self and stay present and in the moment What are your thoughts? What is the sensation in your body? Don’t do anything but notice. Pay attention to your experience, to the present moment in a curious and non-judgmental way.
Second thing to do is provide distance from yourself and your thoughts and feelings. Instead of saying “I’m anxious” replace that sentence with either
“I’m having this thought of … “
“I’m having this feeling of …”
“I’m noticing this physical sensation of …”
This allows you to notice the anxiety without owning it. I don’t like it or want it but I can make room for it and it will not over power me.
This allows you to notice the anxiety without owning it.
Practice this skills and notice your feelings without becoming attached to them?