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Anxiety: How Do We Get It? How Do We Get Rid of It?

Anxiety never comes out of the blue, as much as it seems that it does. There is always a context to it, an anxiety trigger. Always some perception of vulnerability that triggers the physiological response and the emotional response. But have you wondered why we get anxiety in the first place?

How Do We Get Anxiety?

Anxiety can be recruited into our lives in a variety of ways, but usually something happens to us that makes us feel vulnerable.  It could be something like a traumatic experience: sexual abuse, war, being mugged, a car accident, etc. Or it could be something else, like an illness (from the flu to cancer), having a conflict, a break up, embarrassment, hearing a scary story, etc.  

Anxiety could start quite small and appropriate for the given situation, but because of the meaning we make around it, it can snowball into something quite horrible. Even though anxiety is always triggered by some context, our physical and emotional responses perpetuate it.

Stress as an Anxiety Trigger

Doesn’t it seem like everyone and their brother has anxiety? It is because they do. It is an epidemic. Our world is changing fast and everything is speeding up. Our consciousness and the rhythm and vibrations of our body are being effected. This is causing an increase in anxiety rates.

Everyone might call anxiety something different: for example worry, frustration, embarrassment, OCD, or fear. And it might feel and mean something different to them, but in a way it is the same animal.  It is stress.

When we are under stress, hormones are released throughout the body to give us energy to protect ourselves from danger.  If you are not in physical danger, just perceived vulnerability, anxiety of anxiety, anxiety over guilt, etc., the energy we conjure to protect ourselves actually frightens us more.

Anxiety snowballs from there, as all sorts of frightening and disturbing thoughts come to our mind to make it worse; not to mention self-judgments. For anxiety to last, we have to be afraid of it. We have to think we cannot handle it.

How Do We Get Rid of Anxiety?

When we are afraid of anxiety, it gives it power. It is like feeding it. And when we stop being afraid of anxiety, it decreases it. The meaning that we give to the anxious feelings makes all of the difference in the world.

Check it out these two scenarios:

Panicker Number 1: “Hmm, cool, this is an anxiety attack. Wow, it’s intense, that is weird. It’s okay, it’s a bad day, I am overtired and had too much caffeine. I better get some sleep.”

Panicker Number 2: “Oh no. Something is wrong with me! It is happening again. I hate this, I wish this didn’t happen! Why does this always happen to me? I can’t breathe! I am so weak, I cannot handle this, I am freaking out! I hate this feeling! I’m going to have a heart attack! This is going to push me further down. I cannot do anything the rest of the week because this will take me so long to recover! I am going to be like this forever! I can’t take it. How am I going to live like this?”

The different interpretation of events makes all of the difference in how the rest of the day, week or month (or even year) will go.

Remember, people jump out of planes to get an adrenaline rush, on purpose. They call it “thrill” and they love it. An anxious person might call the adrenaline rush “terror.”  Same physiological feelings, different meaning.

So what if we could change the meaning of our anxiety? What if we allowed it without judgment, rode the wave without being afraid of it? Then it wouldn’t snowball, we would know we could handle it and it would go away. I promise.

Did you ever try to not be afraid of your anxiety? What happened?

By Jodi Lobozzo Aman

I blog here: Heal Now and Forever Be In Peace
and here: Anxiety-Schmanxiety Blog,
share here: Twitter@JodiAmanGoogle+
inspire here: Facebook: Heal Now and Forever Be in Peace,
Get my free E-book: What Is UP In Your DOWN? Being Grateful in 7 Easy Steps.

28 thoughts on “Anxiety: How Do We Get It? How Do We Get Rid of It?”

  1. It is all perspective and your choice in reaction 🙂 Took a long time to accept it, but once it became a habit, I am happier.
    yes, I still ‘react’ at times, but not as often!

  2. I don’t think I am yet like panicker number one, but I found that the best way to stop the thoughts that come with panic is to do something, to react. Best option is to get myself busy, but there are other things I sometimes do that might seem silly, but they help. I focus on something that is around me. It can be a mosquito flying in the room, it can be a ray of sunshine on the wall, anything.
    The example you gave about people jumping from a plane is exactly what made me love big roller coasters.

    1. Judith,
      Why is that obvious because I am now over them? I have good news! Panic is recoverable. I have had them–worse than you can imagine–I couldn’t even leave my house–and now I live free. If you are assuming this, it seems to me that you have had no freedom and cannot imagine it is so simple, I understand and address that concept in my article Forgiveness is a Verb .

      Perhaps you have had a horrible night. Let me know if I can help.

      1. I am grateful to have found some information to help. I suffered from severe stomach issues starting last September. I had weird feelings occasionally that felt like something metabolically was going wrong. Then, in late December I noticed a weird dizzy/foggy symptom. This symptom started feeling like I was medicated although I wasn’t. I had every test you could imagine until finally my doctor discovered that it was anxiety. I was shocked! It didn’t look like I would expect it to. I was put on an antidepressant and handed a low dose of xanax to cope until things calmed down. I hat medicine yet am trying to get rid of the drugged/foggy symptom which is constant still and gets worse if I am stressed out. I am a busy, working mom of three with a husband who is a pastor. We are busy! We knew we needed to slow down before this. We are trying and I am going part time next year. Any advice to help me get well? Have you ever encountered this symptom and how can I get rid of it? I’m desperate.

        1. Hi Wendy,
          I’m glad that you found helpful information in this article. Jodi is no longer writing for HealthyPlace, so she is unable to respond to comments. The dizziness/fogginess you describe is common to anxiety, and it can be a side effect of medication as well. Keeping an open dialogue with your doctor about your medication could be extremely helpful. Also, being aware of your anxiety and building a toolbox of helpful techniques is something that many people find very beneficial. There may be things that readers have shared that you might want to try. Knowing that you need to slow down is a great start. What are you going to replace the busyness with? Overcoming anxiety and its effects isn’t always a quick, easy process, but it is absolutely possible and very worth it!

  3. Hi, Jodi–A very helpful post. Noticing the anxiety and not judging it, just “tolerating” it is what I’m trying to do with my mindfulness work. I do believe that fearing the anxiety and not wanting ANY anxiety makes it worse. I like the example of the person who jumps out of the plane.

    1. Thanks, Tina! I’m glad that you’re have success trying hear things. When we are afraid it seems overly and obnoxiously simple. We have to go through all kinds of complexity to get there, like Buddha!

  4. The causes of anxiety are numerous and very intertwined one. In a word, they are bio-psycho-social context of our reality, in which everyone should to supply its life needs and desires, as well. In consequences, it isn’t significant if we would to face with this emotional experience, but the essence is how we would to deal with it. It depends mostly of the way that we interpret the events and the life circumstances that determines our lifestyle. This psychological performance is called the cognitive working out of our feelings and impressions. That is to say, there is an close interaction between mind and feelings that moderate our attitudes and behave. As You have mentioned, it is necessary to make any change in our everyday conduct, in order to handle in satisfying level the daily problems. Surely, the development and elaboration of our emotional display would to lead in an infinitive world of psychosomatic suffering, in which one dominates anxiety.

  5. I absolutely tend to be more towards the second example. I love the idea of not being afraid of your anxiety. As simple as it sounds, I’ve never tried it. I’ve always gone into “oh no what do I do??” mode. I’ve never really thought to just say “ok I’m anxious. I don’t have to tell/take it out on the rest of the world or myself”. This post has actually inspired me to write a post of my own – I talk a lot about my anxiety but not sure I’ve ever described where it comes from. So thank you!!

    1. There is not a universally understood definition, people may use these interchangeably or use them to describe different feelings. For example, some people think of panic as more intense including difficulty breathing or raised heart rate. You can decide for yourself what you want them to represent.

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