Anxiety is one of the main human emotions. By the way, the experience of anxiety is characteristic not only of people, but also of many animals. This suggests that this state has deep evolutionary roots, which means it is of great importance for survival. We are well versed in the nature of anxiety and are ready to help those who have difficulties due to increased anxiety.
In our time, the feeling of anxiety haunts people from the very birth. It almost relentlessly follows us, because around us there is an endless flow of information, a significant part of which comes from dubious sources and does not carry anything positive. News releases with data on how many people and how they died, where the accident occurred and many more not-so-best information sets that do not affect our lives in any way, but only increase the level of anxiety. You need to be able to analyze what you read, watch and listen to. It is also helpful to be able to control yourself during an anxiety attack, using breathing exercises or other methods.
Anxiety manifests itself in three groups of symptoms:
- Psychological: a feeling of fear, internal tension and anxiety, in severe cases – panic, obsessive thoughts of anxious content.
- Physiological autonomic reactions: redness or paleness of the skin, dry mucous membranes, palpitations and shortness of breath, feelings of pressure in the chest or abdomen, “waves throughout the body”, fluctuations in blood pressure, etc.
- Behavioral: freezing and numbness, restless throwing and restlessness, attempts to escape, lack of normal sleep.
The first two groups are necessarily present, the last (behavioral) may be absent with mild anxiety.
Feelings of anxiety with sensations of heaviness in the chest or in the region of the heart indicate an anxious-depressive state. Such complaints are most pronounced in the morning, and may subside in the evening. The presence of such complaints indicates a strong overexcitation of the nervous system, and not the presence of lung or heart disease.
Feelings of fear and anxiety
Fear and anxiety “protect” us in life. They are vital. Fear helps us survive, thanks to it we understand what not to do and why stroking a scorpion is a bad idea. Anxiety is a person’s reaction to a specific event, object, phenomenon that is important for him or her that is occurring or should occur.
But it may be that anxiety or fear becomes pointless and constant, that is, they have no reason at their core, or a reason contrived by a person is not significant and insignificant. This interferes with normal life, forcing us to worry and constantly return mentally to unimportant and distant events that are unlikely, in principle, to ever happen. And then these already painful sensations, as constant inner experiences of a person due to his obsessive thoughts or fantasies, may need the help of a psychologist or psychotherapist.
Quite often, anxious people can also be used for manipulation. After all, it is so easy to impose your opinion or provoke to certain actions those who are seized with anxiety and do not know what to do next.
Types of anxiety
Initially, anxiety arose as a result of a long evolution, so for some reason it is needed. It is divided into personal and situational.
Personal anxiety is formed at the very beginning of human life and has a very important function: it helps us survive. Don’t go near strangers, don’t run to hug the lion, and don’t do many other things that can be dangerous too.
And situational anxiety has a slightly different cause. It manifests itself at a specific moment, for example, before an exam or after watching a news release. To get out of anxiety, you need to bring yourself to a rational level. Asking yourself: “What could happen to me? What am I afraid of? Can I make a difference? ” It is worth making a plan of action for yourself in case of the worst turn of events. Perhaps not immediately, but over time it will calm you down, so you will understand that anxiety is unfounded and you can handle any situation.
How to deal with anxiety
When it comes to human psychology, you need an individual approach, because you cannot take all people under one yardstick. To summarize, the universal advice is to use critical thinking. Analyze the information that comes to you and the context in which it all happens. If we talk about today, most of the news is disturbing and disappointing. But think about what can happen to you, how this situation can turn out for you, and can you somehow influence what is happening? It is important to give yourself an answer as honestly as possible, explaining everything to yourself. Then, with a fairly high probability, you will get rid of the constant chewing of toxic information, simply by drawing conclusions from it. This is also called the “mental rubber band” effect.
On the other hand, your negative feelings and increased anxiety are often only your personal attitude to this situation and your personal perception of it.
Many hide from anxiety behind a bottle of alcohol or cigarettes. But this is not the right decision, but rather a dangerous indicator of an increase in anxiety levels.
If you notice such actions, you should pay more attention to your “psychological hygiene”. That is, do not go to resources with negative information, do not watch the news and talk less about topics that annoy you with other people. It is necessary to exclude or significantly limit communication with “toxic” people who constantly talk about negative events. And if these people do not want to talk to you on positive or neutral informative topics and continue to pour out their negativity on you, say goodbye to them quickly and forever.
Anxiety rarely appears on its own, out of nowhere. Its faithful “ambassador” is a continuous external stream of not the most useful information and our wonderful “positive” news. To cope with such pressures requires considerable self-control and an excellent ability to filter and analyze information. The simpler and better solution would be to simply stop this flow. Turn off the TV, log out of Facebook, close the news site. This does not mean that you will immediately turn into a Neanderthal who does not understand where he is and what political regime is in the country now. Really important news will not pass you by, no matter how hard you try. But a selection of stories about car accidents and possible threats to the safety of citizens are not at all necessary. Unless, of course, you want to forget about peace and “enjoy” anxiety.
When the body is under stress, adrenaline and norepinephrine are released. They helped our ancestors and help us escape from a dangerous situation. The body reacts in one of three ways: hit, run, freeze. Muscles come to a state of readiness to resist, tensing as much as possible. This can be used in order to master yourself. Just tighten your muscles even more, as hard as you can. This will make them relax after a while, because they simply cannot be tense for so long, and you will again begin to better control yourself.
During an anxiety attack, the body immediately makes it known by accelerating the heartbeat and changing breathing. To pull yourself together and regain control of your own behavior, you need to turn to your own breathing. Consciously regulate it by taking slow, deep breaths in and out. This will help you gradually “come to your senses.” And so, little by little, starting with breathing, you will realize that you are in control of yourself. Realize yourself here and now, in this particular moment.
What can help you deal with anxiety?
Psychologists recommend drinking a cup of hot tea or warm milk and covering yourself with a blanket that will help you feel the boundaries of your own body. These tactile sensations resemble hugs, add coziness and will be very useful in this state.
Develop some good habits that will bring you back to a calm state. For example, set aside time every morning to take your time for coffee, watch a good and calm movie before going to bed or listen to pleasant music, take a walk in the evening, walk a few stops home. Do any regular activities that will help you return to the here and now state and feel better.
Of course, anxiety can be helpful when it comes to survival. But in the modern world, people are less likely to have to fight for life with a lion or hunt mammoths. Nowadays, we are anxious before an exam, a date, or after watching the TV news.
Now that you know about the causes of anxiety and how to deal with it, try to deal with it so that this unpleasant sensation becomes at least a little more controllable.
But if the anxiety persists, perhaps the right decision would be to contact a psychologist or psychotherapist, they will help to rationalize your feelings and develop protective mechanisms. You do not need to use any sedatives on your own. It is better to do this only after consulting a doctor, if he deems it necessary to prescribe them for you.