Anxiety is an emotion that manifests itself in relation to a perceived threat, and thus provokes a behavior that seeks to escape from this uncomfortable situation and avoid its daunting confrontation.
It is one of the most common illnesses today and is proving to be a difficult problem to
overcome. Indeed, this natural reaction sometimes reflects an immense insecurity, where it would be hard for a person to lead a normal life, sometimes finding themselves dragged into an unpleasant, even dysfunctional lifestyle.
Anxiety manifests itself through a range of symptoms of varying intensity. This normally
tolerated and controllable emotion can transform into an anxiety disorder (such as OCS, short for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or GAD, short for Generalized Anxiety Disorder), a whirlwind of feelings of fear (such as fear of failure, abandonment and many others) and disabling phobias (such as social phobia).
However, it is always possible to alleviate the situation! Indeed, various tools and techniques, including psychotherapy, are available to help optimize the feeling of security and better manage anxiety on a daily basis.
It is important to remember that consistency is a treasure trove; it is perseverance in using these tools that will pay off in the long term.
Anxiety is an emotion that springs up following a situation deemed alarming, thus prompting a programmed reaction to move the source of discomfort away. It is rather like a voice in our head sending us a message to defend ourselves, to run away or simply to remain frozen, according to the “fight, flight or freeze” response.
After an event that can be considered frightening, anxiety develops and our adaptation methods change.
In the case where our response is adapted to a real danger, the anxiety is said to be healthy. It manifests itself through an instinctive “fight or flight” reaction, in which where the person finds himself facing the cause of the discomfort; you can see a reaction, for instance, in a person who is preparing for an exam that he or she feels scared of failing in. However, when the threat becomes overwhelming, the person has no choice but to flee to dodge the danger.
Otherwise, when our coping methods fail, anxiety becomes unhealthy. Excessive emotion paralyzes, “freezes” and hinders our ability to brave danger. Take the example of the wolf ready to attack when we resign ourselves to our fate, passively hoping that the danger will pass without causing harm, or the example of the exam that makes us so anxious to the point where we doubt our abilities, leading to a situation of panic and loss of control.
This unhealthy anxiety, to which society refers, is a burden on our lives and prevents us from forming normal relationships and carrying out our daily activities, such as sleeping and working. It clings onto the mind and instills a sense of loss of control and fear of that loss. The person concerned is led to believe that he or she is trapped in an inescapable vicious circle. This is not true. We can still take control of our lives!
Anxiety develops in varying degrees. It starts out as mild, where an unpleasant sensation occurs, but is totally controllable.
It then progresses to a moderate form, highlighting various symptoms: anger, nervousness, worry, constant worry, fatigue and muscle tension.
The extreme form of anxiety includes symptoms that are both physical: high blood pressure, palpitations, hot flashes, dizziness, choking, hyperventilation, headaches and sweating, and psychological: loss of sense of our surroundings (derealization) and of ourselves (depersonalization).
Anxious people experience more anxiety when they take notice of their symptoms when faced with a threat, which makes their symptoms worse. They may also resort to obsessive thoughts and fixed ideas that exhaust their time.
Reading: Books about anxiety open a window to a world of awareness and relieve the reader’s insecurity.
Breathing exercises: Regular practice of these exercises helps regulate the parasympathetic nervous system and manage anxiety. “RespiRelax” application can help to facilitate such a practice.
Meditation: There is no point in meditating in anxious and distressing situations. In order to reap the benefits of meditation, it is best to practice it regularly and constantly in a moment when mind and body are under control. “Headspace” application is helpful in this regard.
Yoga: This discipline helps us to become aware of our own body and the fluctuations of the mind. It serves as an anchor in the present moment in order to give us the relief we need.
And of course, there is psychotherapy.