Anxiety is normal and natural. It’s an instinctive drive that helps us to survive in our evolutionary environment. Anxiety is the emotion we experience when the outcome is uncertain and it helps us to identify and problem solve risks in our environment. The further away from the cave, the more uncertain the outcome and the more anxious one is supposed to feel. A jumpy caveman is quick to respond to signs of sabre tooth tigers and therefor survive.
Anxiety in and of itself is not necessarily bad. Like stress, anxiety can help us to be motivated to take action. Unfortunately, a natural reaction to anxiety is avoidance. Physical, mental or emotional strategies to reduce or eliminate the anxiety. For example, over the course of one weekend last year I needed to complete three uni assignments as well as develop two workplace training packages (about 10 hours work each). I looked at all the work ahead of me and went ahead and took a nap. Avoidance is often an immediate solution (anxiety is instantly reduced) however it’s impact is short term and often the problem is a little worse once the effect wears off.
Everyone feels anxious at times however if you feel anxious on most days and have done so for at least 6 months, you might benefit from some new ways of thinking or behaving to reduce that anxiety. Particularly if your sleep is disrupted, the anxiety symptoms impact on your performance at work, or relationships with others. Ask yourself “what am I not doing because I feel anxious”? And speak to your GP about a referral to a psychologist if feeling anxious is stopping you from feeling happy or healthy.
If you would like to learn more about how to manage anxiety, contact our friendly staff at the Parramatta Psychology Clinic on (02) 9687 9776 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.