What is anxiety and how to defeat it ?
“We live in a society bloated with data yet starved for wisdom. We’re connected 24/7, yet anxiety, fear, depression and loneliness is at an all-time high. We must course-correct.” Elizabeth Kapu’uwailani Lindsey
I still remember that one particular night when I had my first anxiety attack. It was terrifying. I was struggling to breathe. My heart was racing and chest was hurting.
It felt like I was having a heart attack.
Frantically, I banged on my neighbors door, a math’s teacher from Nigeria, and asked for help. She called the paramedics and I was rushed to accident and emergency.
After four hours of waiting, interspersed with tests, I met with a slender figured Iranian doctor. Through his glasses he looked as I lay on the examination table and said, “You are in perfect health. You need to do Yoga. It will calm you down.”
As he shared his thought, I chuckled to myself that a medical doctor was telling me to have a daily yoga routine.
It felt surprising, yet re-assuring and comforting.
Anxiety can occur for a variety of different reasons, for example:
- Worrying about the future
- Thinking too much or over-analyzing situations
- Over-whelmed at work
- Scared about your child’s health
- Chemical imbalances in the body
- Fear of what might happen
Perhaps underlying the surface emotions is a feeling of being scared, in-secure or uncertain.
I will share this caveat though.
Only someone who is gripped by anxiety can understand what it is like. For an outsider it might seem like a list of symptoms.
Having experienced anxiety and healed from it, I can share it – it can very scary and lonely place where you can feel helpless and isolated.
In the most intense moments, I have found tapping on myself and using the Bach flower Rescue Remedy to be the most beneficial.
Do you get nervous prior to a job interview? Worry about that exam? Butterflies in stomach before meeting that new person?
If so, you’re most likely someone, for whom worrying about major events is a normal part of life.
But what if, for example, someone does not leave their home for an extended period of time, because they are afraid of being amongst crowds? This can have an impact on one’s quality of life.
According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 13 suffers from anxiety in the world. The study also shows that women are more affected by anxiety than men (1).
Identifying the nature of your anxiety and learning to manage it requires a lot of strength.
All anxiety related disorders are characterized with worry, nervousness or/and fear, excessive and on-going to the extent that it disables the person to function properly.
It is important to get it diagnosed by licensed medical and mental health professional.
Anxiety related disorders are broadly classified into three categories :
- Anxiety Disorders
- Obsessive compulsive disorders
- Trauma and stress related disorders
So how to defeat it?
Society has generalized anxiety as a fault or a weakness, considering it a taboo, neglecting its severity which is as dangerous as any physical disease. However, research studies have found certain altered brain functioning to be linked with anxiety disorders (2).
Here are some coping techniques that can help to maintain emotional balance and calm anxiety:
1. Setting small daily goals – Focus can be an issue for those suffering with anxiety, as is productivity and motivation due to changes in mood. Setting up small goals on a daily basis can help individuals to differentiate between their expectations and reality.
2. Meditation – Consistent meditation has wonderful effects on your brain (3). Here is my healing sand meditation to renew and relax.
3. Seek help– The very symptoms of anxiety prevent the sufferer for reaching out to others for support.They often feel alone and misunderstood. People may not understand that asking an anxious person to “take it easy” or “let it go” won’t really help them, and may only prevent them from looking for help. Learn to convey your thoughts to your loved ones. If you have anyone suffering with anxiety around you, be compassionate and make them feel that they are not alone.
4. Yoga – The practice of yoga calms the mind and still’s the body aligning with the spirit. “In the practice of yoga (asanas), it’s the way in which one approaches the practice that helps to process emotions. The overall transformative power of yoga asanas lies in the mindful exploration of each pose, irrespective of how basic or complex the pose may seem.” shares Yoga teacher, Saatvika Mangalaram
5. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – A treatment used to manage anxiety and depression. It is a talking therapy, where thoughts are reworked with positive ones.
6. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) – A clinically proven alternate therapy to lower anxiety (4). The steps to lower anxiety with EFT are as follows:
- Identify the physical sensations in the body associated with anxiety and use the tapping process to reduce
- Explore past memories related to the physical sensations and use the movie technique to clear
- Identify past events link to the feeling of anxiety and resolve with tapping therapy
- For more traumatic memories use the Matrix-Reimprinting or tear less trauma
- Explore limiting beliefs that trigger the worry an anxiety. For example, from, “Something bad is going to happen” to “Everything is going to be OK
It is necessary to understand that anxiety isn’t a flaw or a disability. It is a temporary state of mindborn from fear or what might happen.
It needs attention, healing and compassion. Perhaps it is just the body’s mechanism of coming back into balance,
“Anxiety is part of creativity, the need to get something out, the need to be rid of something or to get in touch with something within.” David Duchovny
Anybody suffering from anxiety is no less than a brave fighter!
Dr Rangana Rupavi Choudhuri (PhD)
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