Take a piece of paper, pick up your pen, or just open your notepad and let’s review a little bit.
Think about things that trigger that fear of yours. The physical symptoms that you experience. Notice the thoughts that fly in your head in that moment and how you cope in the situation. Write your notes down.
After evaluating your triggers, physical symptoms, your thoughts, and things you do to cope with your intense fear, let’s define this fear.
Some situations can be interpreted as threatening to you. You may feel your heart racing, your muscles tensing, your stomach upset. You may experience excessive nervousness, uncontrollable worry, poor concentration, you may avoid your fear or even face some sleep problems. As you can notice, it is a mental and physical reaction.
So what is anxiety?
Anxiety is your body response to situations that are interpreted as threatening to you. As we all know, more is less and less is more. So, in small doses, anxiety can be helpful. Paying your bills, focusing your attention on problems, staying alert and aware etc. protect you from danger. But when anxiety is severe and occurs frequently, it can become completely weakening.
And how does it grow?
Let me explain this.
Our minds are smart. They try to avoid unpleasant situations. So anytime you are in a “scary” situation, you will find yourself avoiding it. Duh, this is definitely relieving. But this will not last long. The next time you are in a similar situation, it will feel even scarier. So this will create a harmful cycle of avoidance and fear.
Okay, but now what can I do about it?
CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) was found to be a very effective treatment for anxiety. This therapy alleviates negative cognitions (thoughts, beliefs) and maladaptive behaviors associated with mental disorders.
Relaxation skills such as mindfulness, deep beathing, progressive muscle relaxation, etc. can provide relief for the symptoms of anxiety.
Medication can also help control anxiety’s symptoms.
Ideally, a combination of CBT and medication can be an effective treatment.