Written By:Kim Garrett,LPC
Striving To Be Better
Anxiety. What is it? Can we cure it? How do we live with it?
Most of us know that anxiety is a natural part of life. We have all had the nervous nellies, or the jitters at one point or another. Really, if you think about it anxiety is such a natural part of our culture that it is embedded into almost all current marketing campaigns, entertainment, and daily conversations.
Just think about how many times you have thought how a situation could be better if only one small detail were improved, or how many times you have thought: “I just need to … or “If only (_____) wouldn’t have happened or would have happened? These are anxiety producing statements.
These statements force our brain to focus on elements of life that we generally have NO control over. Anxiety is simply a larger word for Fear. Fear we won’t be safe, measure up, be successful, protect those that we love, accept changes that are out of our control.
Anxiety plays a tricky part in our lives because it seems to show up in three covert ways: Anger, Loss, and of course Fear.
If you think about all of the tragic events our country has had to endure and is currently being forced to survive, you can see how the fabric of our culture is being threaded with anxiety: The mass shooting in Vegas, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Harvey are all recent examples of tragic loss.
Loss of lives, families, and safety and as these tragic events pile upon one another it is only natural that our anxiety levels will also increase.
REDUCING and MANAGING Anxiety
We live in a culture that is embedded with the notion that there is never enough and as consumers we eat this up! Not enough time, safety, love, money, good decisions, did I mention safety?
As soon as we buy into this notion we become overwhelmed and then try to cope with the feelings of being overwhelmed by being overly cautious, over scheduled, turning away from our recovery, lashing out at our kids, partners, or friends. All of which are anxiety’s best friends and fuel. Leaving us to feel more anxious and then making those around us more anxious, because anxiety is contagious.
But, as soon as we realize that there really is enough the strangest thing starts to happens, you feel more in control, more at peace and by default better.
And really, when you think about managing anxiety isn’t it really just desiring relief from the dread and pressure which anxiety brings?
Anxiety cannot be cured because it is a natural part of being human, but it can be reduced and managed. I challenge you to go through the rest of the week noticing when you feel overwhelmed and then practice shifting your attention back to what is going on in your current moment and what is actually working inside of that moment, rather than what could be improved.