Anxiety is helpful until it’s not. Anxiety may remind you to finish that report you’ve been putting off, and it may remind you to call your mother every now and then. When you have too much anxiety, however, it can make your life complicated.
It’s quite common to question whether your anxiety is under control, or if you might have an anxiety disorder. Relax. There are ways to find out.
When Is Anxiety Helpful?
Anxiety is an instinctual response. It is how our brain responds to a possible hazard situation. Besides being helpful when you’re wrestling or running from a lion, anxiety is useful in civilized society, too.
Anxiety (hopefully) keeps you from running with scissors or playing with fire. The proverbial “butterflies in your stomach” help you gear up for important events like that big job interview, or that presentation you have to give next week, in front of your boss. In this way, anxiety works like an alarm clock to make sure you’re organized for something significant you have to do.
When Isn’t Anxiety Helpful?
When your mind and body respond anxiously to events that don’t warrant an anxiety response- say, meeting a close friend for lunch- this might be a sign of an anxiety disorder. Feeling, without reason, that something bad is going to happen, or that you should prohibit yourself from doing ordinary things, like shopping at the grocery store, are two indicators of a possible anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders excite the mind and body into hyper-states that may be inappropriate, unjustified, or debilitating in a given setting.
Anxiety disorders can take a toll on your body and mind. If left unchecked, anxiety disorders can obstruct your ability to achieve personal and professional goals. Fortunately, help is available when feelings of anxiety become too much to deal with on your own.
How to Respond to Unhelpful Anxiety
Since many people who experience an unhelpful amount of anxiety tend to avoid situations that they perceive to be anxiety-inducing, simply reaching out for help may be the most difficult first step in the process of addressing your anxiety disorder. In this instance, it’s important to recognize that your anxiety, while designed as your body’s internal alarm system, when you’re faced with danger, is actually having a contradictory effect.
In fact, close to a fifth of the population struggles with unhelpful anxiety, and less than one-half of all people who have an anxiety disorder seek assistance.
Remember: You’re not alone.
Many people who don’t get help are discouraged by how they perceive coworkers, friends, and, even, family members might respond if they made their anxiety disorder known. Another reason people don’t get help is it becomes all too easy for a person to live with unhelpful levels of anxiety for so long that he or she stops noticing that his or her anxiety has gotten out of control. A good rule of thumb, when evaluating your own anxiety, is to decide whether anxiety is getting in the way of the things you want to do and in the way of the things you need to do.
If you have an anxiety disorder, you may have trouble focusing. You may be enjoying life less than you used to. Work and personal events may feel like a burden. It’s possible your anxiety disorder may cause you to lose sleep. You can become accustomed to living life with anxiety and fail to recognize it as a problem.
Whatever you’re going through, it’s important to address it. TMS Advantage is a great place to start developing strategies to help manage an anxiety disorder.
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