There are some signs of common anxiety disorders not only in humans but also in all living things. In fact, anxiety, whether real or imaginary, seems to be a necessary adjunct to survival. The impulse to worry is constructive in origin. If we didn’t worry, we wouldn’t achieve anything. At the most fundamental level, if parents did not worry about providing for their children they would not bother to go out in the pursuit of food. But outside the common language, anxiety is a much broader and multifaceted concept that constitutes one of the main symptoms of a large number of psychological problems.
Common Anxiety Disorders: Anxiety as a Source of Motivation
Anxiety disorders have many good effects. It is a source of motivation. A person devoid of anxious reflexes would be either totally nerveless or totally lethargic. Worry has its uses. Sometimes, the greater the anxiety is, the greater the will to overcome. The biological root of anxiety is to galvanize us into action to survive – and it still operates in this way. For example, worrying about possible symptoms of an illness prompts us to seek treatment and thus possible cures. It is natural to worry a little about money, security, safety, survival, one’s family, one’s health, the passing of time and lots of other things that are symbols of survival. It is when anxiety becomes compulsive and obsessive that it becomes neurotic. Anxiety is also catching: the anxious mother transmits her feelings to the child, and makes the child timid and fearful in turn.
Common Anxiety Disorders: How to Deal With!
The trick of dealing with anxiety disorders is to try to compartmentalize it. You must realize that some worrying is merely displacement activity. People will worry a lot about a pain in their big toe; but they would forget about that very quickly if they suddenly had a heart attack. It seems that people must worry about something, and if they can’t find something bit to occupy their minds, they’ll worry about something small, and inflate its importance.
Very busy people who carry a lot of responsibility master the trick of compartmentalizing their worries by deferring some until the next day: ‘I’ll tackle this problem today, but the other two I won’t worry about until Monday.’ Working on a system of priorities, some worries are more important than others; if you have to get some papers to the printers this week, that’s a worry to be concentrated on now. There’s little point in worrying about the tax you might have to pay next year.
Never worry about something before you have to. Consider an anxiety, and ask yourself: Do I have to worry about that now? Can I take any action to remove the worry? If you’re worried about a letter you haven’t written, for example, the only thing to do is down tools and write the bally letter. Get what can be done, done, each day – and then try to relax. Don’t put off what can be done, if you can help it; but do put off what need not be worried about yet.
Many people find help in the good old system of making lists. If you are tossing and turning at night, worrying about all the things you should do the next day, get up and make a list, and then cross them off, one by one, as you complete each task. Keep a perpetual notebook with you and add items as you remember them; this way less strain is put on your memory and the mind can concentrate on actually getting things done.
Try to separate the things which you can remedy and the things which you must accept. It the kitchen sink pets blocked up, it’s maddening and inconvenient, but it’s not something you should waste emotional energy worrying about. Too much precious human talent is wasted this way, and it’s one of the bars to real achievement. Fragmentation and the constant feeling of things left undone if combining a job and a family, indecisiveness due to loss of confidence and self-esteem, and general fatigue form coping with toddlers all contribute to making the small worries in human life seem out of all proportion. On the other hand, failing eyesight or rising blood-pressure in a difficult pregnancy are real worries with women which require reflection and plans, care and therapy. Worrying about them is constructive.
Common Anxiety Disorders and Depression
However, among the common anxiety disorders which are irrational, are often the most difficult to cope with. If it develops into a phobia, then it is akin to a depressive illness. But small anxieties can haunt one without actually making one ill. They can pile up and crowd in on you until you are immobilized by a general state of anxiety and find it impossible to deal with even small problems, now grown out of all proportion to their seriousness. From time to time during the day you should make a conscious effort to relax and get things back into perspective. The best way to do this is by distancing techniques. Either looking at what is causing you anxiety in the context of your whole life, so that you can make a realistic assessment as to its gravity, or try literally taking off mentally, removing your mind from your body and putting greater and greater distances between them until you look at yourself form the room, from outside the house, moving back further and further until you leave behind the city, the country and finally the world itself. From out there in space you can see the dot which is you and the pinpricks of your anxieties for what they are. Having got your problems back to a size that you can cope with, tackle them – or at least some of them – immediately before they have time to grow again.
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