Anxiety & underlying causes

Anxiety has many reasons for appearing and once people start considering how they are thinking, feeling and behaving, they can usually identify where the anxiety started to emerge

In order to manage the consequences of anxiety (the behaviours, feelings and thoughts), we must address them explicitly and then, in order to sustain our ability to deal with anxiety we must look at the underlying causes. Uncovering anxiety’s antecedents can take away the fear of it recurring and contribute to maintaining our wellness.

In many ways the world we live in has it’s only value really placed on success, there is a lot of pressure on us in society from when we are very young, to do well in exams, to get a good job, to look good…there is an anxiety that can be absorbed through our very living and perhaps we are all primed to anxiety’s dance.

If we find ourselves consumed by anxiety that feels like it’s overwhelming and we learn to manage the immediate effects, there’s an opportunity also to look behind the behaviours and thoughts to what may lie behind:

  • One event may have us primed for our stress hormones to peak and they can be readily retriggered and catapult us back into the reactions we had in the event we had initially experienced. If we have had bad experience, how to react is laid down in our neurons in our brain, the stress hormone, endocrine is released which activates our adrenal glands and our fight, flight, freeze response is decided. An emergency reaction is laid down in our bodies and can be activated in a situation less threatening.
  • Knowledge of ourselves as children is really useful- How we were understood, were we able to talk about things that worried about, were they listened to, were we ignored, were we told that which was worrying us wasn’t anything to be concerned about and that there are other people who have it worse than they do.
  • How our parents were, how do they deal with stressful situations? How were they wish us when they were stressed?
  • What we believe about ourselves, how able we feel to deal with things. Do we feel strong enough to deal with adversity.
  • How did we manage stress as children, did we have good coping mechanisms?

Answering some of these questions may help illuminate some of the reasons for our felt inability to manage anxiety, gaining a deep understanding will help us greatly to manage anxiety better in the long term.

Some of these questions may lead to some troubling emotional experiences, especially if we are travelling back to childhood or if the one event we went through was traumatic. We must be mindful of how we might feel when we begin to uncover from yesterday, the reasons for how we might be today.

I will spend the next post considering useful ways to support ourselves through anxiety.

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