I believe that gaining an understanding of anxiety (and it’s connection to stress) is one of the keys to gaining long-term freedom from problematic anxiety. Helping people develop a better and richer understanding of anxiety is one of my goals in writing these blog posts. I’ve covered a lot of ground over the last twelve months and I thought it was time to provide a snapshot of some of the key points I’ve written about.
What is anxiety?
“Anxiety is the gap between the now and the then.”
~ Fritz Perls – Psychotherapist’’
Anxiety is an emotion aroused in response to a perceived future threat or danger i.e., it’s the fear we experience in response to something that might happen.
Anxiety is a natural and normal emotion. All species of animals right down to the sea slug experience anxiety. We respond emotionally to real and imagined situations. So if we perceive an imagined situation as a threat to our physical and/or emotional well-being, we will experience some level of anxiety. The level of our anxiety can range from mild apprehension through to absolute terror.
Why do we experience anxiety?
“To be anxious is to be alive. Human beings face persistent unknowns and innumerable dangers. Anxiety free worlds are the stuff of mythical pasts and mythical futures. In our efforts to preserve ourselves amid unpredictability, we are prone to vexation, doubt and fear.”
~ Richard Gilpin
Anxiety has a survival value. It encourages us to plan and prepare for the unknown and the uncertain. It causes us to take greater care than we otherwise might. For instance, without any anxiety, we would probably make lots of bad decisions, such as driving too fast on the highway, not paying our bills, stepping onto the road without checking for traffic, not wearing sunscreen when out in the sun.
Everybody experiences anxiety, but for some people, the experience can be more intense, and can occur more easily and more often.
What’s the connection between anxiety and stress?
Anxiety (an emotion) triggers the stress response. The stress response prepares our body and mind for action to avoid or fight the source of the fear. The cocktail of symptoms we experience as a result of activating the stress response is what we commonly refer to as ‘stress.’
When does anxiety become a problem?
Too little anxiety in dangerous circumstances is as problematic as too much anxiety when danger is non-existent.
Anxiety is normal but when we start to imagine irrational threats or to overestimate real or imagined threats, the resulting stress we experience, can impact adversely on our enjoyment of life and on our physical and mental well-being. At this point our anxiety may be diagnosed as an ‘anxiety disorder.’
Anxiety disorders are common. The current worldwide occurrence for anxiety disorders is 7.3 per cent of people, suggesting that one person in every 14 around the globe has an anxiety disorder at any one point in time. It is estimated that 11 - 22 per cent of the world's population will suffer with an anxiety disorder in any one-year period (Bromet et al., 2011; Baxter et al., 2013); that's up to 1 in 5 people.
Many people, including some well-known individuals, have suffered with problematic anxiety; including singers Adele, Robbie Williams and Justin Timberlake, actors Jennifer Lawrence, Johnny Depp and Scarlett Johansson, and sports people such as the former All Black John Kirwan and footballer David Beckham.
Helping people to gain freedom from problematic anxiety is my passion. If you'd like to explore how I can help you to reduce your anxiety let's have a chat. Contact me now on 021 056 8389 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wishing you a relaxing, calm week.
Tony helps individuals to harness the power of personal change to achieve success and well-being in life, work and business. Tony's particular area of expertise is in helping people perform under pressure and gain freedom from worry, anxiety and stress. Tony’s solution focused approach to coaching uses a range of techniques drawn from the fields of co-active coaching, hypnosis, positive psychology and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).
Contact Tony today to discuss how he can help you, or if you think Tony could help someone you know, you might like to encourage them to get in touch with him.