Why Am I So Anxious? – Blissful Relaxation If you are asking yourself this very question, it clearly shows that, at least, you’re not in denial about having anxiety issues. If you’re feeling anxious all the time, it’s bound to affect your everyday life. What does constant anxiety feel like? Worrying can be useful when it motivates you to make a move and solve a problem or take care of an issue. Yet, if you are overwhelmed with uncertainties and you always see the most unfavorable outcome of situations, worrying will soon enough turn into an issue of its own. Constant questions and fears wear you down. They slowly destroy your enthusiasm and let the anxiety take over and become the unwanted part of your day by day life. When you’re constantly feeling anxious, your body releases stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. As a result, you may feel typical physical symptoms of anxiety, such as an elevated heart rate and increased perspiration. Most common symptoms of chronic anxiety are: Panic, fear, and uneasiness Irritability Restlessness or feeling on edge Muscle tension Difficulty concentrating or having their minds go blank Being easily fatigued Sleep disorders (difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless sleep) Will I stay anxious forever? Chronic worrying can be stopped. You can teach your brain to remain quiet and take a positive look at life from a more balanced and less fearful point of view. You will need to do something about your anxiety issues so they don’t have negative long-term effects on your mental and physical health. Let’s consider some of the reasons why you may feel anxious all the time. Negative beliefs feed your anxiety. They are NOT nutritive and useful for your mind. Even if you may at times think that worrying can prevent bad things from happening and makes you more alert – it doesn’t. It just keeps you dreadfully waiting for bad things which will probably never happen. They won’t. Accept it and focus your mind on positive things as they will certainly happen more often than you may expect now. Positive beliefs about worrying can be devastating. You are not doing yourself a favor if you keep thinking that your worrying will protect you. In order to stop chronic anxiety once and for all, you need to give up your belief that worrying serves a positive purpose. Once you have realized that worrying is the actual problem and not the part of the solution, you can regain control of your anxious mind. You need to stop giving worrying a purpose: I’ll find a solution by giving the problem a lot of thought. I don’t want to overlook anything or I will fail. If I keep thinking a little longer about this problem at hand, I’ll figure it out. I want to be prepared and in control. I want to be responsible and not take things lightly. Once you finally realize that 90% of the time worrying has no purpose, it will be easier for you to give it up. In a way, when you are worrying about a problem, it might seem that you are less anxious at the time. Why is that? You are giving your worrying a purpose. You want to solve the problem. But worrying the problem and solving it is not the same thing. Let’s start with the nature of the problem which causes you to worry about it. Is your problem real? I’ve read a simple explanation of the problem-solving process. It involves evaluating a situation, coming up with appropriate steps for dealing with the problem, implementing those steps into a plan and, finally, putting the plan into action. As simple as that! Worrying does not follow the same pattern of logical thinking and seldom leads to solutions. You can spend days or weeks pondering over worst-case scenarios. You will then get even more worried that you are not getting any closer to the solution. So you start worrying that your worrying isn’t intensive enough. You worry some more rather than start with analyzing the problem. Is your problem solvable in the first place? If it is, the solutions are usually very simple and require moderate intelligence and some time to think it through. In most cases, solvable problems require little worrying, if any. You are NOT building a rocket ship in your garage, or trying to make money out of thin air, or hoping to get your favorite celebrity to marry you, or try to accomplish sports results of an eighteen-year-old in your forties, are you? Didn’t think so! You are a normal person, dealing with normal problems which are solvable. We’ll stick to this scenario for the time being. So, if your problem causes you to worry excessively without any positive results or solutions whatsoever, is it possible that your thought process is absolutely fine, but that the problem itself is questionable? Maybe your problem isn’t solvable because it’s not real? Have you thought about that? You are not going to be fired because you were late once. They will not expel you from college because you are shy. Your plane is not going to crash. Your best friend is not talking behind your back about your styling. Your kids look up to you and not think of you as a failure. Your sore throat is not cancer. I could go on and on, but the point is to be able to distinguish between solvable and unsolvable worries, between real problems and imaginary ones. When you start worrying and feeling anxious, ask yourself whether the problem is something you can actually solve. Can you do something about the problem or prepare for it, or is it out of your control? Productive, solvable worries are those you can do something about straight away. For example, if you’re worried about your car payments, you could call your bank to see whether there are more flexible payment options available. If there are better options, good. Problem solved. If there aren’t, change your bank. Sell your car and buy one you can afford or don’t buy a new car at all. Go green! I sold my car 15 years ago. It made me worry too much. I survived! I’m just speculating with these examples, of course, but you can see what I’m getting at. If you worry that your next presentation will not go well, go over it a few more times. Ask a friend or a partner to act as your boss. Rehearse more and you’ll be more relaxed and confident. Unproductive worries are those for which there is no corresponding immediate action. “What if I lose my job?” “What if I get incurable disease someday?” “What if my kid gets into a car accident?” “What if I end up alone?” If the potential problem is solvable, start brainstorming. Make a list of some of the possible solutions. You don’t need a perfect solution every time – you need one solution for the problem. Put it into action and move on. Focus on the problems you can solve, rather than on the circumstances or possibilities beyond your control. After you’ve considered your options, do what you can and you’ll feel less worried when facing each new problem – you’ve solved them before, you’ll solve this one too! How to deal with unsolvable worries? If you’re a chronic worrier, you are most likely concerned with problems which are unsolvable, unrealistic or unreal. Worrying may seem to help you avoid unpleasant emotions which you are trying to avoid. The undeniable fact is that you can’t worry your emotions away. While you’re worrying, your feelings are only suppressed for the time being, but as soon as you stop worrying, the emotions will come back. The only way out of this vicious circle is by learning to embrace your feelings. This can be difficult at first because of the negative beliefs you have about emotions. For instance, you may firmly believe that you must always be rational and in control, that your feelings always need to make sense, or that you shouldn’t feel certain emotions, such as fear or anger. The truth is that our emotions don’t always make sense and they’re not always pleasant. You need to accept your feelings as part of being human. You’ll be able to experience them without becoming overwhelmed and learn how to use them to your advantage, or simply discard them completely if they are of no help for your well-being. We all need to find a healthy balance between our intellect and our emotions. We cannot always be in control – it’s so tiring and often painful. Let it go! Accept uncertainty and unpredictability of life! Let it surprise you! Let it change you! Embrace the change! Accept uncertainty and unpredictability of life If you are a chronic worrier, you probably can’t stand unpredictability. You need to know with 100 percent certainty what’s going to happen at all times and in all situations. You worry in order to try to predict what the future will bring. You dread not being able to prevent unpleasant surprise try, you will fail. Then, you will feel miserable, unworthy and anxiety of future failures will kick in. Is it not easier to take a deep breath and say, “Hey, that’s it. I’ll try to control only what I can and what’s important for my well-being and happiness. I’ll trust the universe to look after me. Life is good as it is. I’m happy and I enjoy my life. It’s not perfect but it’s mine” Thinking about all the things that could go wrong doesn’t make life any easier or more predictable. You may feel safer when you’re worrying, but it’s just an illusion of being in control. Focusing on worst-case scenarios will not prevent bad things from happening. It will only keep you from enjoying all the good things you have in the present. So if you want to stop worrying, start by accepting uncertainty. This is the first step in anxiety relief process. Enjoy the present. Forget the past and don’t obsess with the future. Have you tried listening to affirmations or practicing mindfulness? I do both and they do me a world of good. Affirmations make me feel better and boost my confidence. I usually listen to them before I go to sleep. They are simple, affirmative statements emphasizing the good aspects of the present such as being content with your life, feeling positive about yourself and loving and caring for others. As for mindfulness, it’s a really old concept of being focused on the present moment, rather than worrying about the future or dwelling about the past. Let your worries go. Notice that when you don’t try to control the anxious thoughts that pop up, they soon pass, like clouds moving across the sky. It’s only when you engage your worries that you get stuck. Stay focused on the present. Pay attention to the way your body feels, the rhythm of your breathing, your ever-changing emotions, and the thoughts that drift across your mind. If you find yourself getting stuck on a particular thought, bring your attention back to the present moment. Using mindfulness meditation will help you to stay focused on the present and acknowledge your emotions, rather than try to ignore them. It is a simple concept, but it takes a little practice to really feel the benefits. At first, you may your mind keeps wandering back to your worries but each time you draw your focus back to the present, you’re reinforcing a new mental habit that will help you break free of the constant negative worry cycle. You will learn to acknowledge and observe your anxious thoughts and feelings and observe them as if from an outsider’s perspective, without reacting or judging. Focusing on your breathing and your body in the present moment will efficiently keep you from feeling anxious about the future. Why is mindfulness helpful? In the present, you are fine. You are relaxed and calm. All is good in your world. The future does not exist yet, and neither do worries. Learning how to relax will then help you be more realistic when perceiving problems and more efficient in solving them. How about challenging your anxious thoughts? If you suffer from chronic anxiety, you probably look at the world in ways that make it seem more dangerous than it really is. Do you often overestimate the possibility that things will turn out badly? Do you find the worst-case scenarios most likely to happen? If you do, be aware that these irrational and pessimistic attitudes are known as cognitive distortions and are results of rational thinking. They’re byproducts of a negative pattern of thinking that’s become so natural for you that you’re not even aware of what’s going on with your thought process. In order to break these bad thinking habits, you need to examine and challenge your worries and fears. With this approach, you’ll develop a more balanced perspective and gradually stop all the unnecessary worrying. Cognitive distortions that add to anxiety, worry, and stress are easy to overcome if you ask yourself simple questions about the likelihood of bad things really happening. In the vast majority of cases, if you manage to detach yourself from your over-worrying and think objectively for a few minutes, you’ll see that most things are not as bad as they seem. Are you a perfectionist, perhaps? Perfectionism is a tendency to set standards that are so high that you either cannot meet them, or you can meet them but with great difficulty. You may tend to believe that anything short of perfection is a failure. Chronic worrying may have its underlying causes in the burdening importance of not making mistakes. While healthy people believe that making mistakes from time to time is inevitable, perfectionists tend to believe that they should never make a mistake. Trying to be perfect is likely to make you feel stressed and disappointed with yourself. Over time, you may start to believe that you are not as capable as others. It may also lead to anxiety and depression. So, lower your standards a little if you realize that you are slowly becoming more and more miserable about not living up to them. No one will think less of you and you will feel the much-needed relief. And finally, when it comes to being so anxious all the time, it may not be all up to you. What about the people around you? Emotions are contagious. The people we spend a lot of time with have a great impact on our mental state. Think about how people around you relate to your worries. Spend less time with people who make you anxious. Maybe there is someone in your life who drags you down and often leaves you feeling stressed out? Think about not spending time with such people. They might be a part of your life, but if they are not making you feel good about life in general, yourself or if your time with them leads to anxiety and depression, avoid them just to test how that will affect you. Maybe there are ways to have healthier relationships with those people by avoiding certain topics or simply find more positive people to spend time with. This is NOT to say that you should break up with your partner or stop seeing your parents or siblings: just work on your relationships and set some boundaries in order to improve your mental health. This will be for the benefit of all the people you care about and all the people that care about you.