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Anxiety is a horrendous condition. Rational or not, it’s all too real to the person experiencing it. Symptoms include sweating palms, increased heart rate, and panic attacks. And the worst part? Many people misinterpret the severity of anxiety. The strangest thing is, we all experience it in some form or another. It may not always go to the levels described above, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t anxiety. Do you avoid a room if you know there’s a spider in it? Do you fail to make health checkups when you need to? Both of these are examples of allowing anxiety to alter your behavior. So, even if you don’t think anxiety is something you suffer from, it may have more of an impact on your life than you think.
Anxiety is a product of fear. When you fear something, you experience a fight or flight reaction. Your body prepares to either face that fear or flee. Anxiety comes when you choose to flee. It cements in place the belief that you did the right thing, and should do the same next time. In short, it takes over. It feeds false beliefs to help you rationalize your behavior. We all know that it’s best to face the things we fear. But, your anxiety will stop you from seeing that. Of course, anxiety isn’t the villain. It’s there for self-preservation. But, when it gets out of control, it stops saving you and starts worsening your fear. As you hide, you’ll stop seeing your fears in a realistic way. They’ll become larger than life, and you’ll be more afraid than you were to start with.
But, hope isn’t lost. If anxiety has its claws in you, it’s time to break the hold. The first step is knowing that it’s okay to ask for help. Remember that your anxiety is working to ‘keep you safe.’ It doesn’t want you to break that grip, so getting help might be hard! Even so, it’s important. If your anxiety is general, book an appointment with your doctor to talk about how you’re feeling. If a particular event is making you nervous, consider whether you could take away some of those nerves. For example, if you have a dentist appointment coming up, you could see if sleep dentistry is an option to help you relax. Taking small steps like these will allow you to face your fears. And remember, it was running from fear that caused your anxiety in the first place. You may need a little help facing things at first. But, you’ll find your anxiety subsides every time you achieve something that scares you.
Once you’re on the journey to recovery, step outside the comfort zone your anxiety created for you. Make a conscious effort to continue doing things you’re afraid of. Join social groups. Put yourself in a situation with the thing you fear. Don’t overwhelm yourself, but try to push your boundaries. The more you do this, the further away your anxiety will feel.
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