What exactly is anxiety, and does it serve a purpose?
This day and age, most people view anxiety and all of the nervous synonyms that go along with it to all fall under a medical term of “disorder”. We have all types of medication, therapy, help groups and more to help us deal anxiety that seemingly everyone is suffering from in some way, shape or form.
But what if we were to tell you that anxiety is actually a completely normal, regular human instinctual reaction? That it actually served a purpose, and that not only do you no longer have to suffer from it, but that there are plenty of ways to mitigate it holistically? The more we understand about anxiety and why we have it, the better our chances of overcoming and dealing with it.
Anxiety is a byproduct of our fear
Everyone knows about fear. But we classify anxiety as if it is something different entirely. That sensation you get when the whole world is closing in around you, something is always around the corner, it’s difficult to breath, etc. Anxiety can manifest in many physical ways, not to mention the mental strain it causes.
Though anxiety disorder may truley be a diagnosis, and indeed some people do suffer from it more than others, oftentimes simple anxiety is not dealt with at its base level. What we label ‘anxiety’ is simply a byproduct of our fears. It is a sensation we get when our body jumps into fight or flight mode, being ready for anything even though we may know for a fact that we are completely safe. The thing about fear is, though, that it can be fought.
Anxiety is a result of being human
One of the most difficult parts about anxiety is that it can come from nowhere for seemingly no reason at all. One moment we may be completely content, relaxed and at ease. The next would have us biting our nails, breathing heavily and unable to focus. Why is this?
First and foremost, human beings are animals! We have instinct, and a flight or fight response to nearly everything we do. Our bodies and our brains are not chemically created to deal with modern life. We live in a society where everything is about delayed gratification, where we are constantly living in our ‘future selves’ rather than in the present. We worry about our next paycheck, our next relationship, our next big work project. As human beings, we were not designed to think this way.
Ways to deal with anxiety holistically
So if anxiety is inevitable, how can we get rid of it? Well, ridding yourself entirely of the feeling of anxiety and worry may be near impossible. Unfortunately many faul victim to drug and alcohol abuse which only temporarily fixes the problem, and, in the long term, it will typically exacerbate it. So what are some natural ways we can help mitigate these feelings?
Change the Subject – If you are able to identify why it is you are feeling anxious, try to think of something else–but not just anything else. You are probably worrying about something in the future, or in the past. Focus on something positive that is in the present. Take a walk, talk with a friend, do something productive!
Write it Down – Pen and paper are some of your best tools. It has long been proven that writing and putting your thoughts down on paper can be extremely lethargic. It will help with your sense of well-being for the day and you will know that the time wasn’t wasted.
Exercise – Anxiety is a problem of the mind. So focus on your body instead. A moderate to intermediate exercise will always help your mind calm down as it works to help your body complete its task, inherently helping the worry drift away. Don’t have a gym membership? Go on a run outside!
Reading – Absorb yourself in another world. Books, especially one that tells a great story whether it be nonfiction or fiction, can completely envelop your mind and take you to a different world entirely. Like the other suggestions, no matter what you read, it’s a productive way to spend your time!
What environment has worked best for you from experience?
Clearly, it is unfortunate that we are simply victims of our own biology. We were never meant to grow up in an environment with a society such as ours, but nevertheless, that is the reality. The best we can do is study ourselves, learn from our mistakes and help each other.
Have you or someone you love suffered from anxiety, or still suffer from it? What ways have you attempted to overcome it without medication? We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!