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Do you think anxiety is a helpful or harmful emotion? Well, the answer is that it is both.  Occasionally experiencing anxiety is a normal part of life. Like all our human emotions, anxiety serves as a necessary notification system that can alert us to pay attention to some potential harm in our environment or identify a need we have that is being overlooked. A little anxiety usually helps us to activate ourselves to get something done; “take care of business” whether it be emotional, work/school-related, financial, relational, societal, moral, etc.  Too much anxiety activates a primitive part of our brain that goes into survival or flight-fight-freeze mode that can impact our daily lives and create more problems because we are unable to move or we become highly activated and overreact to situations that may not warrant that level of response.  

Anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Intense anxiety or panic (fear or terror that intensifies within minutes) can be difficult to control, can last a long time and can lead to avoiding places or situations to prevent these feelings.  Sometimes these worries have a connection to some past traumatic life event that was experienced, sometimes they are irrational and come out of some hidden place that we are not aware of. Anxious people tend to have their brains on a radar system that is always scanning the environment for where the “danger” is.  Anxiety often causes physical symptoms such as stomachaches, headaches, eating and sleep problems. If you are experiencing these feelings, please call me and we can tackle this challenging syndrome together!

 

Social Anxiety 

This is one of the most common forms of anxiety disorders that people suffer from. Feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness, and concern about being viewed or judged negatively by others lead to high levels of anxiety, fear, and avoidance of social situations. It usually includes fear of public speaking, talking to strangers or authority figures, looking stupid, being criticized, and involves physical reactions like sweating, heart palpitations, blushing, trembling, or shaking.  It can interfere with making and keeping friends. Frequently, people turn to alcohol or drug use to help them cope and lessen their fear of social situations. Of course, this usually leads to having another problem.  If you have been feeling this way for six months or more and you realize it is impacting everyday tasks at home or work, help is available to treat this stressful disorder.