Most people have experienced it at least once in their lives: your heart racing, a state of alert, feeling a threat or danger, difficulty breathing, a suffocating feeling in your throat…
This is known as anxiety.
However, this spontaneous reaction that overwhelms you at times is surrounded by myths that keep us from really understanding what anxiety is.
Most people just know its symptoms, but is there something else behind it?
“Read this: Discover the 7 Most Common Types of Anxiety”
1. Anxiety is not an illness
We may consider anxiety to be an illness because it sometimes incapacitates those who suffer from it. At times, it looks scary and people around it don’t understand what’s going on.
But this doesn’t make it an illness.
- While some may experience it frequently and uncontrollably, you must remember that nothing is working incorrectly in your body or mind.
- You just have to learn different strategies to help you deal with it and keep it from controlling your life.
“Find out: 6 Things Fear Doesn’t Want You to Know”
2. Can I die from it?
When feelings of anxiety pile up, you may feel like you’re going to die. Suddenly, your throat closes up and you can’t breathe well.
However, thinking like this will just make the symptoms worse. It will intensify them and you’ll feel much worse.
After all, your body is reacting to a danger, but where is the real danger? You are safe; you are fine. This is just your body’s response to fear.
You can’t die from anxiety, because it doesn’t kill and its symptoms don’t, either. Remember: What you’re feeling in your body won’t lead to what you’re fearing.
You’re not going to run out of air. Your throat is not going to close up. Your fear is nothing but an idea that your body needs to learn how to respond to.
3. It’s a normal response to a threat
Anxiety is a normal response to prepare yourself to face a threat towards yourself or a loved one. Therefore, everyone has experienced it at some point.
However, in some situations, the body’s response is not doing its job.
When it happens in completely nonthreatening situations with nothing to provoke it and the reaction is out of proportion, then it’s time to learn how to cope with it and control it.
When it’s not helpful and it’s making you unwell, then you need to investigate what it is that you’re afraid of, what you haven’t gotten over yet, or what problems you’re having. That way, you can begin to address them and learn to face them in a healthy way.
“Read this, too: 7 Ways to Start Your Day Well and Fight Stress and Anxiety”
4. Anxiety causes significant changes in you
It may not seem like it at first, but anxiety does cause changes in your that make you body act just like it has been programmed to act in order to face a threatening situation.
When it comes to the cognitive aspect, images and thoughts start going through your mind that don’t just activate this response, but also lead you to think of a plan to flee.
As for the motor aspect, your muscles and body get ready and tense up in order to carry out whatever your mind orders them to do, (whether it’s to run, flee, hide, fight, etc.)
In turn, this can affect other processes. This is the physiological aspect, where you get the racing heart, sweating, headache, or gastrointestinal issues.
Remember: your body is reacting to a threat so it can face it as well as possible. However, when there isn’t actually any danger, the body will need to be taught how to properly respond.
5. Over time, your health can be affected
Anxiety is indeed natural, and even if it appears when it shouldn’t, it doesn’t have to be a negative experience. This response can also be your body’s way of telling you that it’s time to slow down, eat healthier, get more exercise, and take more time for yourself.
However, living with anxiety for a long time can have a real impact on your health. Unfortunately, it can lead to a weakened immune system, depression, insomnia, and short-term memory loss.
Knowing the origin of your anxiety will help you pull it out from the roots and get it back to functioning normally.
Ignoring the symptoms, not doing anything, or just covering it up with medication won’t make the problem go away on its own.
You have to deal with the root cause.