Anxiety

Anxiety is a normal part of human experience. When we become anxious, our bodies respond physically to enable us to fight, run or freeze in place, all responses that, in the right circumstances, are necessary to survival. Unfortunately, those signals can go off when there's no actual present danger. For some people, anxiety is a near constant experience and their bodies are continuously stressed by the physical anxiety response.

Anxiety can also be a sign that something in our life needs attention. It may be telling us that a relationship has significant problems that need fixing, or that job stress has become so frequent or intense that it's time to start looking for a new work situation. It can be a sign that we've been procrastinating on something that needs to get done, or that there are feelings we are avoiding.

 

Anxiety can show up in our lives in ways that are painful and problematic. It can include symptoms such as:

 

  • Excessive worry about things such as health, relationships and work

  • Feeling keyed up and unable to relax

  • Irritability

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Muscle tension

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Feelings of panic

  • Racing heart, trembling, shaking and sweating.

  • Fear of open spaces or leaving one's home (agoraphobia)

  • Fears of specific things or experiences, such as snakes or heights

  • Obsessive thoughts and odd repetitive behavior, as in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

  • Overwhelming anxiety and self-consciousness in social situations, as in Social Phobia

 

Treatment for Anxiety

 

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy is especially useful in working with anxiety. It can help with identifying irrational or mistaken beliefs that fuel anxiety and provides effective relaxation and emotion management skills. In some cases, resolving old issues can reduce or eliminate anxiety. Or we might need to examine and problem solve those life circumstances that are triggering or contributing to the anxiety. With more severe anxiety, medication or supplements prescribed by a naturopath might prove helpful. Some people have a genetic predisposition to anxiety, and may be prone to it under stress throughout their lifetimes. In those cases, skill development is especially essential.