What Is Anxiety And How You Can Prevent It From Getting Out Of Control

Are you you’re experiencing negative emotions such as worry and anxiety and are you looking for a way to switch back to your natural state of feeling calm and happy again?

We all experience moments of mild discomfort from time to time, but for some, their anxiety can become out of control.

This can leave them feeling confused and isolated, because they have no idea why they feel anxious all the time and they just don't know what to overcome it.

Many get caught up and trapped in a vicious anxiety loop and cycle where they get permanently stuck in a state of high levels of anxiety.

Once they get caught up in the anxiety loop they struggle to return back to their natural state of feeling calm and at peace.

But you can begin to release all that negative resistance and experience emotional freedom so you no longer have to suffer with and feel all those destructive negative emotions all the time.

So what exactly is anxiety

Anxiety is your mind projecting ahead future negative events and what if scenarios that in most cases, they either never happen and even if they do, most of the time they are never as bad as you thought or imagined.

Your mind cannot predict the future, if it could, then we would all be millionaires, so you have to ask yourself, why do you trust your mind when it is predicting the worse case scenario all the time. 

Anxiety is a part of the fight or flight response and it acts as an early warning system and a kind of risk assessment.

Let's say, you were walking down a path at night and all of a sudden you noticed a stray and unfriendly gang of lads approaching you.

At this point, your mind starts to create thoughts of, are they going to mug or attack me, which would then trigger your stress response.

As the stress response starts to kick in, your senses will become more heightened to danger, you will become more alert, you will receive a large boost of energy which is all designed to very quickly prime you to be able to react quickly should it be required.

The stress response will also activate the release of adrenaline and the stress hormone cortisol, which will trigger a series of physical symptoms in your body to give you an extra boost of energy should you need to fight off or run away from your potential attackers.

This stressful situation and encounter would be then recorded as an emotional memory which would be attached to your fight or flight response.

Therefore, every time you had to go passed that same place again, your mind will flash the previous memory which would again trigger off your fear and stress response.  

Anxiety is designed to warn you of any potential risks

Anxiety acts an early warning system to alert you and prepare your body for any potentially threatening or dangerous situation.

This mechanism is essential to keep you safe, because if you were attacked or put in a hazardous or dangerous situation you would be able to avoid them or make a quick retreat. 

You feel anxious because your mind has somehow learned to associate a specific situation or thing with the fight or flight responses and this is what anxiety is.

Once the fight or flight responses has been activated your heartbeat will quicken up, blood is pumped to your major muscle groups and your muscles would tighten to give you more strength and energy.

This can leave you with feelings of nausea, dizziness and light headiness.  

The trouble is, your fight or flight response should only be triggered off when your brain encounters a real life genuine threat.

Your brain is designed to activate the fight or flight response only when it perceives a thing or situation that might be dangerous or harmful to you.

The fight or flight mechanism has four options 

  • Fight/defend yourself
  • Flight/run away 
  • Avoidance 
  • Surrender/freeze
The problem with anxiety is, it can malfunction, which means, the fight or flight process can be linked to almost anything or any type of situation, including, imagined scenarios and your feelings.

What this means, your anxiety and fear response can go off to none threatening things or situations where it is not necessary or appropriate.

To further add a problem, because of the mind body connection and link to the fear mechanism, the part of your emotional brain that is responsible for your safety can become aroused and responsive to danger when your body is in a stressful state.

Which means your anxiety levels can rise and you can become more alert and responsive to danger, merely because your body is tense or you're feeling overly stressed.



Why you get stuck at high levels of anxiety

High levels of anxiety usually follow prolonged periods of worry, exhaustion and stress. Once you have developed high levels of anxiety or persistent anxiety, what happens is. 

Your stress response will be going off more and more, and each time your stress goes off your body will be filled with the stress chemicals and your body will be given a boost of energy.

Because there will be nothing to fight or run away from, you won't be burning off the extra energy, so all those stress chemicals and high levels of energy will remain in your body.

Normally, what would happen in a real life threatening situation is, your fight or flight would go off, and you would either fight off the attacker or run away from the dangerous situation.

After the danger is over, your body would return back to the safety mode and state of calm and resting.

But imagine for a minute, what happens when there is not a real genuine threat or hazard, what do you think happens to all that extra energy?

The answer is, it stays within your body, and because you have not used up all that release of fuel and power. 

If you suffer with anxiety, then what you will find is, you stress response will keep on being triggered, so your body never has a real chance to return back to its restful and relaxed natural state.

It is estimated that it takes up to 36 hours for your body to get rid of all those stress hormones and chemicals.

If your fight or flight response is being activated all of the time, then your body will never have the chance to adjust itself back to the calm physiological and emotional state.

People with anxiety do not even get much respite when they are asleep, because although they're asleep. 

Because their mind are always racing and full of anxious and worry thoughts, their mind and body cannot return to the required relaxed state, so they end up having a restless and bad nights sleep.

So instead of starting the day off in a relaxed and positive mood, they end up carrying their emotional baggage and stressful feelings through into the new day. 

This pattern just keeps on repeating on itself and you end up experiencing the same old tiresome process of anxiety day in day out which leaves you feeling trapped and defeated.

This will leave your body completely out of balance and harmony, leaving you stuck in a vicious cycle of anxiety and stress, with a safety focus mindset. 

In this constant state of anxiety your mind become obsessively focused on fear and danger, when really you should be feeling relaxed and comfortable.

When you are feeling tense and your body is filled with adrenaline and cortisol, you will have far more anxiety based thoughts and imaginings.

These are all those what if thoughts and what could happen imaginings which again will activate the stress response.

Your anxious thoughts to warn you of what might happen, which acts as a risk assessment to make you try and avoid, keep away or escape from the threatening situation.

However, because in most cases their threat will only exist in your mind, it will not always be appropriate or necessary to avoid the thing or situation.

So long as there is no genuine threat, avoidance tactics are never a good idea because what you avoid or want to avoid you learn to fear more.

On top of all this to deal with, you can soon start to develop a fear of those anxious thoughts and imaginings and your mind can link all those what if scenarios and imaginings to the fight or flight response.

So to sum up what is anxiety

It is when your body becomes overly responsive to releasing more and more adrenaline, cortisol and the stress response, so your body is experiencing too much stress and nervous anticipation.

So your fight or flight response is being activated too often and at times where it is not necessary, which leaves your body stuck in a permanent state of heightened alertness and arousal.

Being stuck in this state of high levels of anxiety, is not good for your well-being, your quality of life, plus it is potentially damaging to your health.

Imagine it being a bit like driving your car with the rev counter always stuck in the red zone, in time it will eventually cause damage to your car.

All this anxiety and stressful responses, makes you feel bad, uncomfortable and leaves you in a state of confusion in situations that generally pose you no real harm.

It is like feeling you're about to face an angry lion and you are experiencing all the symptoms of fear, as if you're about to face a real life threatening situation. 

So the feelings that you're experiencing are very real, but the only difference is, there is no lion, so your fight or flight response is going off even though you're perfectly safe and secure.

A person who is fairly at ease and happy, may have a bout of anxiety once every few months, however for the person who has an anxiety problem can find that their fight or flight response is being triggered many times a day.



Some of the reasons why you feel anxious

Anxiety and fear happen more when you don't feel like you're in control of the situation and your mind and body.

As humans, we like to feel comfortable and in control, we also like certainty and knowing everything will be OK.

Another thing that drives anxiety is, if you think that you cannot cope, handle or deal with a certain thing or situation.

Anxiety can soon erode your self confidence and your ability to cope and handle life's challenges, and on top of all that.

You will start to react with fear because your mind thinks that you cannot handle the anxious thoughts and feelings. 

Because, as far as your protective part of your mind is concerned, the anxious thoughts and feelings are the threat that needs defeating or avoiding.

But the single biggest thing that locks you into a vicious anxiety trap and cycle is, when you have an unpleasant anxiety attack and you decide that it is something that you don't want to happen again.

What this then does is, you develop a fear of the anxiety and the associated feelings and emotions that are linked to fear or put another way, you develop a fear of the fear.

Do not be fooled by your anxiety

Anxiety and fear trick you into thinking and acting as if you have to take preventive measures to avoid a consequence that in most cases only exists in the imagination, but you cannot run away or avoid the thoughts in your mind and the feelings in your body.

Anxiety and fear play cruel tricks on you, where your brain is fooling you into expecting and preparing for the worst case scenario.

Most people think the solution to their anxiety is to try and deal with it or get rid of it, but trying to defeat it, never works and in fact it just makes it much worse.

You don't get rid of your anxiety, you have to learn how to gain back control of your mind, feelings and emotions.

It is not the actual thing or situation that is the real problem, the real problem is, you have attached the fight or flight process and the fear mechanism too certain things situations and imaginings.

There are aspects  of anxiety

  1. Anxious thoughts 
  2. Emotional 
  3. Physiological 
If you suffer with anxiety, then stress and tension can significantly increase your anxiety levels because they are linked to the physiological part of the fight or flight mechanism.

In a real life threatening situation, you will experience symptoms of stress and your muscles will become tense.

Therefore, if your muscles are tense or your body is full of adrenaline and the stress hormone cortisol. 

Then the part of your brain that deals with the fight or flight response mechanism will use this as feedback and it will interpret it as.

Something bad must be about to happen because the body is already primed and prepared for action.



How to reduce and prevent anxiety

Persistent and long term anxiety suggests that your emotional set point is set to high to react with fear.

To begin to lower your anxiety, you will need to focus on returning to a calm state as well as teaching yourself to remain calm and in control, even at the onset of any anxiety or when you begin to feel uncomfortable.

Do not try to fight or battle with your anxiety because it will defeat you everytime and it will persist and become more intense and happen more often. 

Also try not to worry or obsess about it, because the more bothered and sensitive you become towards it, the worse it gets because your mind will see it as being a significant problem so it will keep you focused on it.

You see, the more attention you give to your fear and anxiety the more fuel you will give it and when we become too overly aware of our feelings, we create more of them.

Many people try to change their thoughts to help them get rid of their anxiety and although changing your perceptions and attitude can be helpful there is a better way.

It is more beneficial to change your feelings and emotions because the strong emotions of fear occur before the fearful thoughts so it is the emotions that drive the anxious thought processes.

Therefore, to reduce your anxiety it is better to work on changing feelings rather than trying to think yourself calm.

Because if you were faced with a real genuine threat, your mind will focus on your safety first, and because it needs to react quickly, in the heat of the moment it will have not time to reason with logic.

If you feel anxious, then you can relay to your mind that, "What ever happens you'll be OK" and to help build your confidence, have faith in your ability to handle and cope with the situation, so always let you know that you can handle it.

Because most people don't like the symptoms and sensations that are associated with anxiety they will try to avoid any situation that might make them feel anxious, or they will want to escape from any situation if they start to feel anxious.

Neither of these approaches are not a good idea or strategy, because you're actually conditioning your mind to be afraid of these situations.

When really, what you need is to start facing all the situations that make you feel anxious, so you can train your mind not to be afraid of them.

For many people, however, they find the feelings to overwhelming and powerful so they give up on trying to face the feared situation and they resort back to their avoidance tactics.

The trouble is, if you continue to avoid a situation to get rid of the anxiety, you will be allowing your false fears to control you and run your life and in the end you can end up housebound.

Anxiety is not all in your head, during an anxiety attack there are many physiological changes that take place in the body so to cure it, then it is essential that you learn to relax more and change the way you react to the sensations in your body.

The secret to overcoming your anxiety is to prevent the stressful and chemical changes in your body from gaining momentum and turning into a full blown out anxiety attack.

There is a technique available that will teach you how to stop anxiety in 60 seconds! 

Once you know and learn how to stop an anxiety attack before it goes too far, it will put you back in control of your body and those stressful situations, so no more having to plan to avoid or escape any stressful or challenging situation.

Sometimes your anxiety can be triggered by your thoughts and sometimes it can just be a direct fearful response without any thoughts.

Either way, try to stay calm around your anxious thoughts and feelings, and instead of trying to battle with your thoughts and feelings, just leave your mind alone and let it carry on thinking the thoughts, whilst you just observe them, whilst staying calm and detached. 

As we have already mentioned anxiety is not all in the head. If you have been suffering with anxiety for a whilst it can cause you to shrink in stature.

This can cause you to lift up your chin and pull the back of your head down, which causes the stiffen of the neck muscles and tenses other parts of the body.

These postures are linked to feelings of insecurity and the fight or flight reflex mode, it is just as bad to stand in a rigid and stiff posture where you lift up your chest, curve your back and pull back your shoulders.

To help reduce your anxiety levels, learn to reduce your stress and stand and sit in a poised posture, so you can release any tension and stand and sit in tension free posture's.

 

 

 

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