This suggests that we shouldn’t deny its importance. We need to apply the best strategies and resources to beat anxiety when it decides to appear.
Because of how common and significant it is in today’s world, we’re going to try to identify how anxiety relates to one of its main risk factors: not seeing to personal needs, or placing them on the back-burner.
Anxiety is a Destination with Many Entry Points
It’s true we pathologize anxiety too much. We forget that it’s not just a disorder, it’s an alarm system. It’s one of the ways our body and mind tell us that something isn’t right.
Since we over pathologize it, there is a multitude of different treatments to beat anxiety. But most of them make a huge mistake.
They try to treat only the symptoms, neglecting the root cause and the things that keep it around. This kind of symptom-based treatment is wrong because it doesn’t attack the causes of anxiety. All it does is focus on its manifestations.
This emotional state doesn’t come from a single cause. Some of the most frequent are prolonged stress, or feeling like there’s a big difference between our “ideal-me” and our “real-me.”
That is, there might be a difference between the kind of life I have and the kind I want. When we see this difference as huge or insuperable, it’s very likely anxiety will appear.
To put it another way, one of the most common roots of anxiety is not seeing to our personal needs. We might live on auto-pilot for a long time and not create the life we really want. When this happens, our psychological system will set off an alarm: anxiety.
When a person doesn’t see to their needs — time for themselves, more free time, less contact with certain people, a reduced workload, or fewer household/family duties — they expose themselves every day to an environment that’s hostile, uncomfortable, and not good for them.
These negative feelings, when they last a long time, bring on anxiety.
There’s nothing wrong with making sacrifices and fulfilling obligations we don’t want to. But if it turns into the norm, then we do have a problem.
When we indefinitely function like this, we won’t satisfy our needs as individuals. In these cases, our mind has a way of telling us things aren’t going well.
Our mind may tell us this isn’t the right path, life isn’t good: so we have to make changes. Anxiety exists to give us that knock on the head.
Anxiety Activates When Your “Internal Compass” Can’t Find North
Say you experience symptoms of anxiety. These range from rapid heartbeat, nausea, sweating, or a feeling of disconnection from reality, etc. When this happens, the first thing they do in therapy is attack those symptoms.
And this is correct, but it’s not enough in the long term. If the emotional state remains over time it’s because something is feeding it.
That something might be what caused it in the first place, or something else. In any case, until we deal with it, it will keep on hurting us.
Anxiety is an alarm system that tells us we have to make changes. The changes depend on the person in question.
In some situations they might be related to work. In other situations they’re related to one’s marriage, family relationships, children, etc. But what the vast majority have in common is sacrificing one’s personal needs or values.
How to Beat Anxiety
To beat anxiety, we have to make an effort to improve our emotional self-knowledge. We have to get to know our values and needs.
In the short term, it’s good to focus on the symptoms. But it’s not enough, because the root of most anxiety disorders lies in dissatisfaction with our lives.
That’s why if anxiety treatment doesn’t focus on creating a new and better life, we’ll just cover up the anxiety for a moment. But the root problem will still be there.
The first step is to go to therapy. This seems easy or obvious, but it’s the most common mistake people make.
They try to solve a problem that needs the attention of a specialized professional. They do it without help and by themselves.
Effective therapy starts by attacking the symptoms of anxiety. That way, later on the person will be able to set goals and make changes in their life. Then these changes will help them fulfill their deepest desires.
There’s one more step to take once we have the most debilitating aspects of anxiety under control. To truly beat anxiety, we have to work on personal growth.
One really important part is learning to set aside time and space for our needs. It might be tough because it means the person has to answer questions they never ask themselves. They might ask, for example: “what do I want?”, “what do I need?”, or “what do I like?”
Asking ourselves these questions and getting help from a psychologist opens the door to beat anxiety. If you suffer from a disorder like this, take the step.
Ask for help and start to listen to your deepest desires and needs. This is the best way to start a new, free life — anxiety-free.