What is anxiety?
Tolerable feelings of anxiety are part of life. It is the body’s way of communicating about potential danger and maintaining readiness.
As a result, anxiety helps us avoid dangerous situations and, if necessary, allows us to function quickly and effectively in these situations.
The benefits of anxiety
Sometimes anxiety helps us understand that we need to do something differently. This may lead to lifestyle changes that improve well-being. For example, if a busy everyday life causes anxiety, eliminating unnecessary activities can help the situation.
Sometimes anxiety becomes excessively strong, uncontrollable, or long-term. Instead of guiding our activities towards better solutions, anxiety interferes with our everyday life. In this case, anxiety is a less helpful feeling rather than a protective one.
Thoughts, emotions and activities are continuously connected with each other
Changing your operating methods can influence your thoughts and emotions. Correspondingly, changing your thought patterns can affect your own emotions and change your behaviour.
In the video (2:29) you hear people who have experienced anxiety tell what kind of emotions and thoughts anxiety might trigger in them.
Thoughts, emotions and activities
The situations we encounter in everyday life bring up various emotions inside us. These emotions develop so quickly and automatically that we easily believe they are a direct consequence of external events. However, this is not the case. In fact, our thoughts and our interpretation of the situation is what affects how we feel.
The influence of one's own beliefs
A person who thinks before an important event something confident like “I can present my views convincingly” is unlikely to experience excessive nervousness and anxiety. The body’s reactions don’t become difficult to tolerate even if the person is still a bit nervous about the situation.
On the other hand, a person who thinks before an important event something like “Oh no, everyone will probably think I don’t know what I’m talking about” often experiences high levels of stress and anxiety. This can lead to an increased heart rate, sweating, trembling and an upset stomach.
You can see here that various thoughts and emotions make us behave differently in the same situation: the more self-confident you feel, the more convincing you're likely to be.
Understanding this connection is the first step to change!
Reactions of the body
Exercise: Identify emotions in your body
You will learn to identify physical events related to your emotions.
- In as much detail as possible, write about where you feel different emotions in your body.
- Also describe if the emotion starts in one physical place and ends in another (for example, from the shoulders to the back of your head).
Once you’ve noticed the body part where you feel anxiety, you can practise dealing with the sensation in your body and subsequently also your anxiety.
- Anxiety causes muscle tension -> when you are more aware of this, you can do relaxation exercises to reduce the anxiety.
- Anxiety makes it difficult to breathe -> when you are more aware of this, you can do breathing exercises to reduce the anxiety.
Where in my body do I feel emotions?
You can change your operating methods and thought patterns!
This self-help program will give you the tools needed to do this.