Anxiety – It’s Not Your Fault!

Sunday, December 5th, 2010 No Commented
Categorized Under: Anxiety

Anxiety is a common problem in America today, with tens of millions of adults and teenagers being medicated to treat the symptoms. But it should be noted that it is not the same from person to person – and that medication is not really necessary in a large number of these cases.

If we created a scale from 1 to 10, a panic attack (which is the most powerful form of anxiety) would register at a 9 or 10. Complete relaxation would be around 1. The typical person living in a big city might have a stress level of around 3 or 4 on a daily basis.

In comparison, a person with general anxiety (sometimes called Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD) are around the 5 to 8 range. People with GAD vary in the intensity of what they experience, but typically they have feelings of anxiety that are not triggered by any specific incidents, and they often experience anxious thoughts and worry constantly.

People who have GAD spend their days in the upper level of our scale, almost as if their “dial” is stuck on a permanent high setting of sensitivity. This constant anxiety makes them jumpy, irritable, and physically feel bad. They are habitually tense and uncomfortable, and they become obsessed with anxious thoughts.

Some symptoms that people can experience include…

  • Becoming nauseated
  • Being dizzy
  • Becoming exhausted
  • Problems with eyesight
  • Cramps and stomach pains
  • Intrusive thoughts they can’t control
  • Depression
  • Feelings of unreality
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Difficulty concentrating

The good news is that if you have general anxiety (and if you only think you do, you should consult a doctor or therapist to get a professional diagnosis), it’s not an illness. Your brain is just fine, and so is your body. You merely suffer from a sensitized, anxious state. Basically, your body is attuned to a higher level of readiness to act – you’re in a constant state of “fight or flight.”

If you think about it, this sort of anxiousness might have been a benefit to our ancestors. If people 6000 years ago lived under the threat of being eaten by a tiger, people who constantly worried about tigers and scanned their surroundings stood a better chance of NOT being surprised and eaten by a tiger. People who were relaxed and unconcerned about dangers probably didn’t live as long!

The problem comes in that the vast majority of humanity doesn’t have to worry about physical dangers as much as our ancestors did. But in people with general anxiety, their brains just don’t have the same physical capacity of shutting down.

But it is a process that can be learned, and learned quickly and easily.