Somewhere during the past few millennia, our brain's detection system which triggers the body's flight / fight response has been psychologically bent. Whilst a degree of anxiety about a dog rushing up to us is normal. Running away screaming hysterically would, in most situations, be considered excessive, abnormal and of course encourage the dog to join in the game of chasey!
This little example highlights the difference between a person who suffers from the fear based condition termed, "anxiety disorder" on a day to day basis. A broad range of fear based conditions begin to consume individuals who suffer from Anxiety Disorder. They often wait 12 months or more before seeking help in any form. Last year 14% of Australians, about 2 million people suffered from one or more bouts of anxiety. Source: sane.org That's almost twice as many as were treated for depression. SBS News
Symptoms of anxiety disorders may include: a pounding heart, difficulty breathing, upset stomach, muscle tension, headache, sweating or choking, insomnia, feeling faint or shaky.
What kind of anxiety disorder do you have?
As with every health issue, an accurate diagnosis is essential before we delve into treatments, solutions and shifting our mindset to change our anxiousness measurement score. A few common anxiety disorders include:
Generalized anxiety disorder: A pattern of excessive worry about a variety of issues on most days for at least six months, often accompanied by physical symptoms, such as muscle tension, a hammering heart, or dizziness.
Social anxiety disorder: Feeling significant anxiety in social situations or when called on to perform in front of others, such as in public speaking.
Phobias: A particular animal, insect, object, or situation causes substantial anxiety.
Panic disorder: Panic attacks are sudden, intense episodes of heart-banging fear, breathlessness, and dread. “It’s the feeling you’d have if you just missed being hit by a Mack truck — but for people with panic disorder there is no Mack truck,” says Dr. Beresin in Harvard Health Publishing
Where's the balance?
A level of anxiety is healthy and improves our ability in many ways. Athletes performance on race day can either be very good or very bad based on the level of anxiety they feel. Some elite performers choked at the final moment and performed poorly. Others powered to victory with the help of their anxiety.
The release of hormones makes the body very strong, fast and provides quick response times. This is the original purpose of anxiety or fear. Energetic bursts of strength, speed and reactions to fight or flee when faced with a threatening situation. In a creative burst we roll out a totally new concept of design or suddenly see a clear solution to a problem that has been unresolvable for months. This can only occur with the mind intensely focussed, driven by the hormones that cause anxiety.
Although there are chemical interventions (pharmaceutical drugs) these often have unwanted side effects. Some slow us down making living daily lives more difficult rather than easier. Some speed control spikes in hormone reactions. But they do not teach us how to replace the sources of anxiety with reality. This is the crux of the issue.
How I feel to day, what I do today, and who I want to be is my decision. I can choose to be miserable and my energetic fields will be drawn to others whose energy supports my misery.
I can be faced with seemingly insurmountable problems, yet choose not to be overwhelmed by them. I can take affirmative action that turns around my anxiety. I can use physical exercise. I can modify dietary intake of substances that cause mood imbalances. I can sleep longer, laugh more and do things that I enjoy with people I enjoy to stand victorious over my anxious moments. I can discuss my feelings with friends who support my dreams, empower me to reach higher and further and shine to my potential.
I can watch the same media I watched yesterday and be distressed by what I see and have my irrational fears consume me. You see, where I invest my time, money and attention is where I choose to live. I control the anxiety scale in my life, so do you.
If however you are stuck and need professional help; one of the best resources in Australia for mental health is Beyond Blue They have an excellent online survey tool to measure your anxiety level. Try it out here >
Another place to go for help online is sane.org Their information is easy to read summarises research and the latest data and free.
September is Mental Health Month. Prepare something to raise awareness, develop a Human Resources initiative to support team members who may have issues, and ensure your staff know that a mental illness is no different from a cut finger: it needs the correct care and attention to ensure it heals correctly.