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What is anxiety?

Is it strange that I have anxiety when writing about anxiety? Perhaps I should look into that…

Anxiety is very common. It is a part of the human experience. Anxiety gets a bad reputation because of the negative impact it can have on your life. Perhaps it prevents you from talking with others or going to social events. Maybe you internally freak out when you talk with someone about a conflict, but on the outside you appear relatively calm and collected. How people experience and respond to stress varies widely!

We are going to get down the basics, where we are going to talk about what anxiety actually is, and how it may impact you. Find out what causes anxiety?

Definition of Anxiety

Anxiety is often used synonymously with worry or stress. “I’m so stressed out!” “I’m worried about my job.” “Politics gives me anxiety.” All of these words attempt to describe a certain feeling state of apprehension. The most direct way to conceptualize it, from my experience, is that anxiety is a type of fear.

Think of fear as being one of the core emotions that we experience, right up there with mad, sad, and glad. Underneath the umbrella of fear, there is a whole spectrum of emotions ranging from hesitant to terrified. In other words, I can be afraid a little, a medium amount, or a lot. In addition to the amplitude of the emotion, the frequency also helps color in how you define your emotional experience.

For example, if you are startled, that usually refers to an experience that lasts less than a few seconds. If you are worried, then you are experiencing fear for a longer duration, which can last hours, days, weeks, months, or even years.

Anxiety is a type of fear that varies in magnitude that can last years. In fact, it can become so pervasive that it can become your new “normal.”

Anxiety- Thoughts, Feelings, and Physical Symptoms

Anxiety can impact your thoughts, feelings, and physical symptoms. You may have thoughts that fixate on stress-producing topics again and again. Or, you may try to distract yourself from that topic only to find your sneaky mind returning to that topic moments later. You may feel nervous, uneasy, panicky, worried or downright afraid. Sometimes, you may get lightheaded, pace, fidget, or have trouble sleeping. These symptoms are no fun to deal with.

When these kinds of symptoms show up, it may be time to consider getting some help.

Every aspect of fear is a part of the human experience. But, when stress filled emotions begin to negatively impact you and your life, then it raises questions about whether you could benefit from seeing a professional.

For example, if your social interaction is limited by your worry, and you would like to spend more time with other people, then perhaps counseling could help you. If your anxiousness prevents you from being present during your day and enjoying your relationships, then talking with a professional could be beneficial.

Click here to find out more about Anxiety Counseling