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What is Anxiety?|An Internal Alarm System
Have you Googled “what is anxiety” only to find the same symptoms across the internet? Do you get tired of reading the same information and get frustrated because no one helps you understand the how and the why instead of the what?
I do, too. Just as I explain things in stories and examples with my clients who have anxiety, I will do the same for you.
We all experience anxiety from time to time in our lives. But what exactly is it? In the simplest terms, it is our body’s alarm system. Think about your body as if it is a house. You head to the hardware store and purchase a security system. Why? Because you want to protect your home from being broken into and robbed of your prized possessions. You also want to protect yourself and your family from intruders while you are sleeping. When someone comes to your house and tries to break-in, the security system signals the alarm to go off.
Anxiety is our body’s security system
Anxiety is our body’s security system and works the same way as an alarm protecting a home. It is impossible to pay attention to everything around us all of the time. When we face situations, when we encounter people, or when we experience certain emotions, our brain sends alarm signals throughout our bodies. Our alarm signals might include our hearts racing, sweating, muscles tensing up, stomachs knotting up, feeling scared and worried, or feeling agitated and nervous. We experience those sensations which alerts us to pay attention and essentially protect us from harm.
What is the difference between anxiety and anxiety disorder?
If we never felt anxious, we would, for sure, be unsafe. Anxiety protects our fears and worries.
With healthy anxiety, our internal security systems shut off, and our alarms reset. But what happens when our security systems malfunction? What happens when the signals continue to go off once the situation is over? What if our alarms go off spontaneously when nothing is intruding on our lives? What if our security system is transmitting false alarms?
The way our internal alarms function is the difference between anxiety and anxiety disorders. With some repairs and some routine maintenance, our signals will function again. But, we must first learn what the malfunction is, what is causing it, and then get to work on the repairs.
If you are seeking a therapist, I encourage you to read my article How to Find a Therapist for Your Anxiety and Depression. I am a therapist myself and know how difficult it is for people to seek therapy.
Disclaimer: I always encourage people who are struggling with anxiety to see a therapist. If nothing else, to determine if there are other underlying issues. Although I can answer your question, “what is anxiety?” I cannot offer therapeutic advice. Anxiety is very complex and although my answer is simple, it is only the beginning of helping you overcome it. However, I can give make suggestions that are standard healthy practices for anyone, even without having anxiety or depression.
8 Ways to Manage Stress, Anxiety, or Depression When You Don’t Want to See a Therapist
- Reach out to someone you trust for support. Share with them your needs for feeling safe.
- Start journaling practice whether it be free writing, guided journaling, or using habit trackers and mood trackers
- Eat healthy. Certain foods in a person’s diet can contribute to anxiety
- Refrain from using drugs and alcohol to cope. This includes marijuana (when the positive effects wear off, the body’s response contributes to anxiety and makes your condition worse).
- Speak to your physician about using CBD oil and whether or not it is recommended for you
- Exercise earlier in the day. According to Healthline, exercise lowers cortisol levels (stress hormones) and releases endorphins, but exercising later in the evening can make it difficult to sleep
- Get enough rest and try to avoid caffeine
- Engage in mindful activities that spark creativity and relaxation to calm your mind
- Listen to encouraging songs for your anxiety or your depression
Related article: 81 Encouraging Christian Songs for Anxiety and Depression
Other articles you may find helpful:
- How to Overcome Fear|5 Bible Verses For Anxiety
- Uncensored Truths About Self Care
- Self Confidence Begins With a New Pair of Panties
- Mental Health Letter Writing: Dear Pain
- Daddy, Why Did You Leave Me?
- How to Find a Therapist for Your Anxiety and Depression
See you again soon !