Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety arises with both mental and physical reflections of our negative expectations. While there are many reactions reflected in the body (shivering, sweating, etc.) when we are worried, negative thoughts are listed one after the other in our minds. These thoughts are “Something bad will happen to me and I will be hurt by being vulnerable.” It can be said that it is based on the idea. In short, anxiety is a mental disorder, even though it manifests itself on biological grounds. Even understanding how our mind works in moments of anxiety does not completely solve the problem of anxiety, but it can be an effective and therapeutic start to reduce our anxiety. Therefore, in this blog post, you will get to know anxiety better and take the first therapeutic step through enlightening information about how our mind works when we are anxious.

Differences and Similarities Between Anxiety and Fear

It is necessary to start by defining anxiety correctly. Anxiety and fear are emotions that are often confused. While fear arises as a result of a threatening event or object at that moment, anxiety manifests itself only by thinking about this object or event. For example, fear accompanies us when we are running away from a dog that is chasing us. However, when we enter the street where the dog is chasing us, imagine that you are worried again even though the dog is not there. We call this state of emotion anxiety, not fear. The similarity between the two is the physical reactions of anxiety and fear in our body. Even if the dog is not there at the moment of anxiety, “it will definitely come before me./ What if the dog is there?” Our heartbeat may speed up and our hands may sweat. Our body can react as if the dog was there.

  • Sweating

  • Shake

  • Increase in Blood Pressure

  • Tension in Muscles

  • Acceleration in Breathing

We can observe such physical reactions in both anxiety and fear.

In summary, in anxiety, unlike fear, only the thought of an event or object, without itself, worries us. Similar or identical bodily reactions occur outside of our control, even though the fear object is not there.

Why Do We Worry?

As we mentioned, fear automatically arises to protect us from an object or situation that poses a threat at that moment. Anxiety is actually similar to this, and it is an emotional state that is beneficial to occur at a certain rate in order to protect us. Nor do I strive to overcome these barriers unless I’m worried about exams, performance, finishing a report while I’m at work, or worrying about my child’s future. I do not take any precautionary measures. Therefore, the presence of a certain amount of anxiety for some situations motivates us to strive.

When Does Anxiety Become a Problem?

If anxiety is a natural and necessary response, why do we treat it as a problem in psychology? For the reasons we mentioned above, eliminating anxiety completely can never be set as a goal. Moreover, it is not possible to completely eliminate anxiety. The important thing is that the level of anxiety is sufficient. It is unnecessary to work on reducing anxiety if my anxiety does not cause significant changes in my daily activities, appetite and sleep. If these physical symptoms are present, and if there are beliefs that I will be “failed”, “inadequate”, or that everything will be ruined, I probably need to lower my anxiety level, especially in my thoughts on the subject of concern.

How Can I Reduce My Anxiety?

When your anxiety increases to the point that it becomes a problem, it is very important to work with the mind, even if your body reacts. At the root of anxiety is a stereotyped negative thought in your mind: “Everything will go wrong.” “Something bad will happen to me” etc.

A little anxiety-related activity that you can do by following the steps below can be a little bit helpful as a start:

step 1: When you reconsider the situation you are worried about, observe which negative anxiety sentence goes through your mind. (for example: “I will hurt”, “I will be vulnerable”, “I will fail”, “I will be hurt”, “My children/family will be hurt” etc.)

step 2:Now rate the probability that this negative thought you believe will happen to you as a percentage.

step 3: For example, even if the rate is 90% for you, there is a 10% chance that nothing bad will happen to you. What can go into that 10%? Think about what could happen if everything didn’t go as bad as you think.

step 4:If possible, write down these ratings and odds on paper.

step 5: Look at this paper again a day later. What are you feeling? Is the rate still the same for you? Try to realize that even if it stays the same, there is a 10% chance that something bad will not happen to you.

Even observing by doing this activity a few times will increase your awareness of your anxiety. However, it may not be enough. As anxiety grows, it will become more difficult to deal with. In such a situation, it would be beneficial to continue with a specialist.

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