Let us imagine for a moment you have an important date tomorrow, but you heart is racing and your mind is giving you nothing but what-ifs. What if I am not fully prepared? What if I fall on my face? What if they don’t like me? Are you constantly panicking about how to deal with all that is happening in your life, relationships and career?
Are you wired to worry?
Research confirms that a little anxiety may be a ‘Good Thing’ – just what you need to focus your efforts and perform at your peak, psychologist say. Somewhere between checked out and freaked out lies an anxiety sweet spot, some researchers say, in which a person is motivated to succeed yet not so anxious that performance takes a dive. This moderate amount of anxiety keeps people on their toes, enables them to juggle multiple tasks and puts them on high alert for potential problems. However, when you are a ‘born-worrier’ anxiousness goes to the extreme, you are forever anticipating the dropping of some dreaded other shoe.
Just so you know, anxiety is not fear, not exactly, because fear is focused on something right in front of you in the present moment, a real and objective danger.
At times, you feel like you are having a heart attack because your heart is racing so fast. And, like a tape, these thoughts and others seem to loop around and around in your head like an old recording video cartridge tape. You can’t stop thinking, worrying or doubting about something or another. There is hope. You may be experiencing what is called anxiety.
Anxiety is referred to in many cultures by many names, but the results are the same: “My nerves are bad; She is just high-strung, Don’t push him you know how he gets…….fill in the blank with a few choice phrases you remember from childhood, work, school, or relationships.
Anxiety is instead like fear gone wild, a general sense of dread, something bad is going to happen, something out there that we perceive as menacing. The reality is there is not anything menacing, and it may not even be out there. When you are anxious, you find it difficult to talk yourself out of this losing battle of feelings; you become trapped in an endless loop of what-ifs.
There is another possibility and that is some people cannot get anything done without some level of anxiety. “There are people who subconsciously set life up to give them a thrill, by always being almost late, nearly missing a deadline, spending more than they should,” says Marianne Legato, a professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University in New York. “I call them fretters.”
Regular screening in a primary care or healthcare setting will help you identify issues before they become huge, overwhelming problems which means for the moment “Ask for help” today. There are screenings that can be done for all ages, even the young and elderly. Let me give you these two tips to help you on your journey:
1. BREATHE: You’re already doing it, yes. But are you doing it in a way that reduces anxiety? Your body releases 70 percent of its toxins through breathing. Breathe Deeply.
2. STAY IN YOUR BODY: Be here, now. Anxiety almost always takes place when your brain is fixated on the future OR the past. Worry is usually about something you think will happen sooner or later that will be very bad. Rarely do we panic about something that is going on in the present moment.
“Anxiety is nothing but repeatedly re-experiencing failure in advance.”