Anxiety is an emotion characterized by an unpleasant state of inner turmoil, often accompanied by nervous behavior, such as pacing back and forth, physical symptoms such as butterflies in the stomach, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, ruminating about everything you are thinking about and more. It is those unpleasant feelings of dread over anticipated events.
Anxiety is not the same as fear, which is a response to a real or perceived immediate threat, Whereas anxiety is the expectation of future threat. Anxiety is a feeling of uneasiness and worry, usually generalized and unfocused as an overreaction to a situation that is only subjectively seen as menacing. It is often accompanied by muscular tension, restlessness, fatigue and problems in concentration. Anxiety can be appropriate, but when experienced regularly the individual may suffer from an anxiety disorder.
What triggers anxiety? When felt appropriately, anxiety is beneficial and can keep you out of harm's way… the anxiety you may feel while hiking near a steep drop-off, for instance, will cause you to be more careful and purposeful in your movements. Or when the senses pick up a threat such as a loud noise, a scary sight, uneasiness about a future event or creepy feeling this information goes to our brain and the fight or flight response kicks in. Triggers are issues that make your anxiety worse or more prevalent.
Some common triggers are:
So how do we relieve ourselves from all that anxiety? If anxiety is severe, medication can help. But first try the suggestions below and use medication only as a last resort.
Don't let anyone tell you that you have to "live with" anxiety. The above suggestions should bring you relief but if you feel your anxiety needs more attention don’t put off getting further assistance. Sure, the going can get tough, but it becomes harder the longer you wait, put things off, and give in to it.
Research shows that participating in therapy can bring significant relief. Your therapist can help you learn to focus on more positive thoughts, search for triggers that you keep getting stuck on and help you move through them and help you find specific goals which you can reach for.
You can feel better. Don’t hesitate to reach out for support when needed.
Liz Birch is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist who provides services in her office in Tustin, CA. Her areas of expertise are in communications, relationships, marriage strengthening, stress reduction, depression, trauma, anxiety, anger, personal growth, and ptsd (civilian and military). She is also a Certified Hypnotherapist. She can be reached via LizBirchTherapist.com, email at LizBirchMFT@gmail.com, or by calling 714-614-0612.
I'm a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist who works with individuals, couples and families. I hope I inspire you to take risks and step out of your comfort zone. You might be surprised what you discover.