Anxiety is a miserable feeling, but something all of us will experience at some time in our life. It can be a mental experience where fear, worry, and worst-case-scenarios overcome the mind. Sometimes there are no specific thoughts involved at all, but a visceral physical experience of a racing heart, tightness in the chest, sweating, hotness, and muscle tension that give one a feeling that something dreadful is happening. These experiences are terrible, and a lot of the time one will wonder if they are having a cardiac event. They will even go to the emergency room to get a medical workup revealing that they are in perfect health. A medical provider will recommend talking with a mental health professional, and that’s when I end up entering this all too-common narrative. People wonder “Why do I feel this way? How can I make it stop? How do I fix it if I don’t know where it’s coming from?”
This is where I tell my clients we can thank their anxiety now, because it’s done it’s job. Anxiety is a message from our subconscious that something is not being attended to. That “Something” is trying to get your attention, but you aren’t listening. So it gets louder, and louder, and louder, in the physical and mental manifestations of “anxiety”. And it works! The physical discomfort motivates people to seek help, and the next thing they know they are talking to a counselor about what might be bothering them deep down. Good work, anxiety! Job well done!
Anxiety can emerge for so many reasons, but usually it is a message that you need to seek support and attend to something that’s been lurking under the surface and would like some healing attention. Once you find support, there is much work that can be done to reverse the terrible physical experience of anxiety, and to re-train the brain to invest in more positive thinking patterns to get you on-track to a more positive mindset.