What is Anxiety?
written by Princess R. Lakshman
There comes a moment in everyone’s life when the mind perceives Stress. This occurs when we feel that there are too many activities to manage in too little time. Or that these activities that need to be managed are “too expensive”, “too difficult”, “too embarrassing”, “too unfamiliar”, and so on. These perceptions of “too hard”, “too expensive”, “too embarrassing” and so on, trigger the brain to release stress hormones in the body. The most common stress hormone is Cortisol. As this hormone increases in the body, the physical reaction of the body is to feel overwhelmed.
Feeling overwhelmed results in the following symptoms for most people:
- Heart palpitations
- Sweaty palms
- Dry mouth
- Worry (constant)
- Fear of going outdoors or interaction with people
To name a few.
The natural response to these symptoms is one of two things – Fight or Flight – that is, we choose to either fight back or to run away from the situation in order to minimise or eradicate the above symptoms. The best part about knowing this science about Anxiety and its symptoms is that Anxiety can be controlled with the empowerment of your own mind. Anxiety is more often than not a feeling of “Exaggerated” reality or “Imagined” reality.
When we overthink things and make it seem larger than it actually is, in reality, we are “Exaggerating” reality. When we overthink things and start adding visuals in our mind of things that we fear may happen but are actually not happening in reality, we are “Imagining” a reality which is completely false at that moment in time.
- Acknowledge and admit that you have feelings of Anxiety. Tell someone you can trust that this is how you have been feeling. Once you acknowledge and admit it to yourself and someone you trust, the next steps of managing anxiety becomes easier.
- Avoid caffeine and nicotine
- Drink at least 2 litres of water daily
- Get at least 8 hours sleep
- Eat wholesome, fresh food with more protein and fewer carbohydrates
- Do some physical activity like brisk walking or yoga for 30 minutes daily
- Sit quietly for at least five minutes daily and breathe deeply, being completely aware of each breath
- Tell yourself this positive affirmation: “Every day in every way, I am better and better. Thank you, Allah.”
Thought Switch helps overcome Anxiety
A daily practice of Thought Switch technique helps overcome anxiety. When we suffer from anxiety our thoughts begin to control us to the extent where we begin to believe them to be real. For example, fear of a job interview, fear of new parenthood, fear of a new relationship and so on.
You can control your thoughts. Here is how to practice Thought Switch to change a fearful thought to a faithful thought.
- Every time a fearful thought occurs in your mind, become aware of it.
- Feel the fear. Fear is never a pleasant thought.
- The moment you are aware of this unpleasantness, immediately start imagining a happy and joyful outcome of your situation in your mind.
- The mind is not able to differentiate between what is real and what is imagined. It will entertain any thought you plant in it. In the cinema of your mind, play a joyful movie, not a sad one.
- Consciously choose only happy, positive and joyful mental images and thoughts.
- Repeat this daily in order to form a habit of only positive thoughts.