Anxiety is a state that arises from the interpretation that there is a danger or threat around us, which we must flee or face, if we are to survive.
Today we call it a negative state that we shouldn’t feel, because of the unpleasant physiological symptoms and the deprivation of liberty that it generates. But it is obvious that, well managed, anxiety is a healthy and very malleable emotion without which we would not have survived.
Nowadays, many people suffer from anxiety all over the world and it manifests itself in many ways, but they all have in common that people who suffer from it interpret reality as a threat, as something terrible or like a disaster that’s about to happen.
Usually, negative thoughts caused by the emotion of anxiety take the form of questions. These questions guide us to confirm our own beliefs, whether they are needs for approval, perfection, security etc.
Here, the function of emotion is to help us achieve our goals, which in the case of anxiety, are to flee or to attack. And it does it through behavior. But when we are anxious, at a very serious level, emotion does not help us, but hinders action and puts us in the wheel, in all our projects.
The key to preventing this from happening is to change our interpretations while changing the way we behave. This is why we must be able to detect our beliefs, question them, debate them and replace them with others, closer to reality.
We have explained that on many occasions anxiety manifests itself with many questions that put us on alert and activate us on a physiological level. These are often questions of a negative character, oriented towards a reality that we filter so that we can contemplate the small possibility of danger, seen as the most probable.
Generalized anxiety: what if…?
Basic anxiety always comes down to asking the question of this small possibility of danger, but generalized anxiety concerns a multitude of situations in everyday life, which makes it very difficult for the person who suffers from it.
The “What if?” appears everywhere (it concerns children, spouses, environmental circumstances, work, etc.), which “forces” the person to be on alert all the time and in too many circumstances. Without rest. Neither physical nor mental.
The panic attack: what if I had a heart attack? What if I go crazy? What if I was ridiculous?
Here, people experience anxiety because of the symptoms of their own anxiety. It is like the child who is afraid of his shadow who, the more he runs, the more he pursues him.
The questions are about the catastrophic consequences of the physiological manifestations of anxiety, which can resemble certain illnesses and even make us think that we are going to go mad or that we are going to die. There are people who are also afraid of passing out and being ridiculous on the street, which prevents them from going out and consolidates agoraphobia.
Hypochondria: what if I was detected with a fatal disease?
As you would expect, in the case of hypochondria, anxiety scares us because we might be suffering from an illness from which we might die. To try to alleviate this fear, we do health tests all the time or we avoid seeing the doctor. So even though we are sick, we don’t realize it and we feel “liberated”.
Social phobia: what if I’m ridiculous? What if everyone notices I’m shy?
In social phobia, our inner little devil constantly asks us what will happen if we are ridiculous, if we have nothing to say, if we goof. We are also obsessed with what other people think of us.
This bombardment of questions makes us react with fear, we turn red with shame, we sweat, we stutter and we are especially afraid that these symptoms will be noticed, which makes us even more “fragile”. In the end, we end up running away from these kinds of situations “so dangerous” for us, convincing ourselves that there is no cure.
Anxiety is a little devil inside
As we have just seen, anxiety is an inner little devil who loves to put us on alert, to see us sweat, shake, feel hot or suffocate. This little devil likes to ask us negative questions. He tells us that everything is dangerous and that we must run away.
Challenge this little devil, question him and don’t believe him since he’s a liar. And even if you feel uncomfortable or in danger because of it, always remember that it does not have all unreal interpretations and that the symptoms produced are nothing but emotions which, basically, are there to help us.