Anxiety is usually the worry and fear of an uncertain outcome in the future due to a stressful event.
According to the data, anxiety and depression are the most common mental health problems in the world, and they often conspire to wreak havoc, leaving us emotionally in a mess.
Nowadays, depression is gradually recognized and accepted by us, but anxiety is not really taken seriously.
KnowYourself’s 2019 survey of young people found that 28.01 percent had high levels of anxiety and 65.35 percent had moderate levels.
Social survival pressure is indeed great, and many people are in high or low anxiety:
The student party is worried about not being able to take the postgraduate entrance exam and graduate school;
Migrant workers worry about earning money and not being able to buy an apartment.
The middle-aged begin to worry about their children’s education and their parents’ retirement.
In an environment like China, there seems to be a lot to worry about.
This year, many people suddenly lost their jobs because of the outbreak, and anxiety is spreading in the air.
Some people experience more severe anxiety in the face of stress, which lasts for a long time (months or more) and can even interfere with their daily lives, leading to anxiety disorders.
Some people, however, cope with stress with relative ease and turn anxiety into motivation.
So what kind of thinking makes it difficult to cope with stress and produce excessive anxiety?
Frederic Fonge, a psychiatrist who specialises in cognitive behavioural therapy, notes that habitual anxiety can be linked to two ways of thinking:
- Overestimate the potential risk
Anxious people think that everything is dangerous, and that these dangers can come anytime, anywhere.
“I always feel sick somewhere, and then I expect the worst.”
“Whenever my husband drives on the road, I worry about accidents like accidents.”
“I’ve been with this company for years, well past my probationary period, and every day I still think they’re going to fire me right away.”
So they have to do all the precautions to really feel at ease.
Call your husband who is driving every hour for confirmation.Go to the doctor again and again to make sure you’re not seriously ill.
Such a person avoids all possible dangers and finds it difficult to enjoy life in peace.
- Thinking you can’t handle the unknown
Anxious people are fearful of the unknown and overestimate potential risks, so they also avoid new situations or make sure they are prepared for everything.
As a result, they can’t exercise their ability to deal with accidents in real life.
Gradually, they really can’t face the new situation, and they no longer believe that they can cope with the unexpected by themselves.
Eventually, when the unexpected does happen, there’s no knowing what to do.
Habitually anxious people imagine the world as a jungle full of danger, where they are vulnerable to being eaten by an animal that comes out of the woodwork.
As a result, they fall into a cycle of anxiety:
The world is dangerous.Avoid new situations/plan everything well – & GT;When an accident occurs, it cannot be resolved — & GT;I really don’t have the ability to face an accident — GT;The more convinced that the world is dangerous
There are three sources of anxiety
Why do ome people live relatively easily under the same pressure, while others worry and worry so much?
In general, traits such as over-thinking are usually formed by a combination of factors:
- Biological origin
Due to genetic factors, some people may be born with a more sensitive and excited nervous system.
The field of behavioural genetics has found that people with a short version of a gene called SERT on their 17th pair of chromosomes are more likely to suffer from anxiety.
However, genetic factors only affect susceptibility, and later childhood experiences and environmental stresses can stimulate anxiety.
- Educational reasons
In some ways, children come to believe that they are incapable of solving certain problems.
Some parents show an overcautious attitude toward the world by saying,
Be careful, it’s dangerous!
Don’t go! You can’t do it!
They do not believe that their children will develop the ability to cope with setbacks in life, so they always “protect” their children very well.
However, these actions only make children question their ability to face problems head-on, hide in their own world, and become easily afraid and anxious.
Young children need to rely on adults to gradually learn to live independently.
But some parents leave their children to face all the dangers alone, making them prone to anxiety and panic attacks.
For example, the “frustration education” is always advocated. Some parents do nothing when their children meet setbacks, or even artificially create setbacks.
Too much frustration, however, only leads to more and more experiences: I can’t control anything, I can’t handle it.
Over time, the child feels incapable of solving the problem and becomes more anxious about potential dangers.
Growing up, if parents are overly critical and set high standards for their children,
It also leads to more insecurity experienced by children in their growing up, which, to a certain extent, makes them easy to feel anxious when they grow up.
This is how xiao Xue, a former colleague, grew up. Her parents often tell her:
You must study hard, otherwise you will not be able to find a job in the future, be eliminated by the society;
Pride makes people lag behind, you only take the third place, to continue to work hard, do not be complacent;
These anxious feelings were sown when she was very young.
Even though she has an advanced degree and is doing well at her job, she still has unrealistic fears that “the company will fire me.”
This can be divided into long-term accumulated stress and short-term stressful events.
Accumulated stress can result from years of unresolved psychological conflicts, such as financial problems, marital problems, and physical health problems.
Prolonged exposure to this kind of stress can lead to anxiety disorders.
In addition, major failures, losses, or significant changes in life in a short period of time are also likely to cause anxiety, such as unemployment, business failure, or a change to a completely different living environment.
Zhihu users mentioned:
I have resigned naked for 2 months. I wake up at about 7 o ‘clock every day, and my heart is getting flustered.
I send out hundreds of resumes and only get one or two interviews a week.
I began to realize that the market was not good, and I did not know when I would find a job. I was really anxious.
When you’re anxious, think of the worst
When you’re anxious, your mind is filled with endless thoughts, and it’s easy to get stuck in them.
In his book Self-confidence in The Cure of Injury, Dr. Frederic Fonge describes a way to “combat” anxiety:
“To the end of disaster”
To do this, divide a piece of paper into the left and right sides, and write down the “worst” possibilities on the left side, as follows:
My customer returns poorly — & GT;My boss will question me at the weekly meeting, and I’ll be speechless.I got fired — & GT;I have no income, I suffer from depression…
Next, write down each possible alternative scenario on the right:
The way my client returns — the boss doesn’t question me/the boss questions me, I can self-summarize and propose remedies — the boss isn’t satisfied, but he doesn’t fire me — I can find another job…
Compare the left and right sides and you will find that the “worst case” is often exaggerated.
So instead of letting anxious thoughts run through your mind, pick up a pen and write them down.
Also, by writing down other possibilities, you can shift your attention from the totally bad outcome to the more likely one.
Of course, there are other ways to reduce anxiety, such as:
Learning to relax
When you get stuck in anxiety, you can use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation or mindfulness meditation to calm yourself down.
Or create a little ritual of your own, such as counting, and make an appointment to count from 1 to 60, then turn your attention to the task you have to complete.
Deal with anxiety
Anxiety can be accompanied by certain physical and psychological reactions, such as blushing, sweating, brain blank, persistent nervous tension, etc., making people feel uncomfortable.
But if you resist it from the bottom of your heart, you’re going to have an extra dose of anxiety: anxiety about your anxiety.
What’s more, behaviors that desire to quickly extinguish your anxiety tend to backfire and make you more anxious.
Therefore, may wish to accommodate their own anxiety, and “anxiety” as a friend.
It may be a distraction when this friend comes, but you can just say hello and continue to focus on the task or task at hand.
If you can’t concentrate, try doing something that interests you with anxiety.
When you immerse yourself in something else and don’t pay too much attention to it, you will find that the emotion will naturally disappear over time.
Develop your own secret of effectiveness
In solving problems, we can consciously focus our attention on the positive,
Keep an eye on your progress and breakthroughs, and write them down in a checklist or journal to build your energy.
Solve problems with external resources
When you have a problem, try to ask a family member or friend for help instead of trying to do it alone.
Relationships are part of the life that sustains us.
Family and friends are not there to see the happy side of each other all the time. They are there to support us when we are alone and helpless.
So, if you get into trouble, remember, you’re not alone.
Although anxiety is a more negative emotional experience, from a biological perspective, it is a survival instinct in humans that reminds us to be better prepared to deal with potential crises.
So we have to learn to accept and allow anxiety to exist, so that it can become our energy to move forward.
However, if anxiety affects your daily life for a long time, it’s also important to ask for help.
Remember to take care of yourself.