What is anxiety?
Don’t worry, be happy’ - so the song goes, but is it really that easy? Anxiety has an important role to play in helping us get around safely in the world and it can be a beneficial ‘early warning system’ in a range of experiences. But for millions of people suffering from anxiety disorders, worries are a constant feature of everyday life.
People with anxiety disorders may be unable to stop worrying about seemingly unimportant things, and they can perceive situations as much worse than they actually are. Anxiety interferes with the enjoyment of life and disrupts work, relationships and self-perceptions. These are, however, treatable conditions, and learning about them is an important first step.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders, affecting one in 3 people at some stage in their life. Women are more likely to develop anxiety than men. While there are many forms of anxiety disorder but the one thing they have in common is their impact on day-to-day activities.
Anxiety can affect your ability to concentrate, sleep and carry out ordinary tasks at work, home or school. People with anxiety disorders often feel compelled to avoid stressful situations and in extreme cases avoid going out altogether. Physical symptoms are common and include shortness of breath, a pounding heart and trembling hands.
Anxiety is NOT a random, unknown, or uncontrollable disease or illness that you develop, inherit, or contract. Anxiety results from a certain style of behaviour.
More specifically, we create the physiological, psychological, and emotional state of being anxious when we behave in an apprehensive manner, such as being worried, fretful, and/or concerned.
Anxiety is a result of a behaviour. Anxiety is not an “it,” disease, or illness.
Everyone experiences anxiety to some degree. And most people have panic attacks at some point in their lives. So anxiety is not bad. It’s just a physiological, psychological, and emotional outcome when we behave in an apprehensive manner.
For example, Webster’s dictionary defines anxiety as:
- A state of uneasiness and apprehension, as about future uncertainties.
- A state of apprehension, uncertainty, and fear resulting from the anticipation of a realistic or fantasized threatening event or situation, often impairing physical and psychological functioning.
Once again, anxiety is NOT a disease or illness. It’s a physiological, psychological, and emotional state that results when we behave apprehensively.