What is anxiety to you? A tool in your toolbox or a dagger in your side? It’s up to you.
We all feel anxiety in different forms. Literally, everyone does — regardless of if it’s clinically diagnosable.
IS THERE GOING TO BE A BEAR IN THE WOODS WHEN I GO?
Anxiety is the word we give to fear or the “fight or flight” feeling when we aren’t actually in a fight or running for our lives.
In a real danger situation, the chemicals released into our brains and bodies can push us to do things we normally wouldn’t or couldn’t do. We can then run faster and farther than normal, lift heavy objects with ease, or react more quickly to a threat. But, those chemicals also take a huge toll on our bodies and brains. Even smaller doses of those fight or flight chemicals can really wear us down.
Typically, these responses are used when fear is present — allowing us to escape the bear in the forest. Anxiety is when we don’t go to the woods because of the possibility that there will be a bear there.
LETTING FLIGHT RESPONSE HOLD YOU DOWN OR BACK
The flight response often shows up to hold you back or away from something that challenges you or pokes at the sensitive parts of your mindset.
To our brains, (not logically – these thoughts or shifts happen subconsciously so they can be super hard to pick up on) sometimes doing nothing appears to be the safest course of action. For example, have you ever been so overwhelmed with your to-do list or a heavy emotional task that you would rather take a nap?
Our subconscious wants to keep us safe, which can sometimes mean keeping us trapped. It’s only through assessing the actual threat that we can make a conscious decision on whether to go or not.
One of our mentors (and a dear friend), Adrienne Dorison, asked us to assess this by using 2 questions:
- Am I going to die?
- Will this get me closer to my goal?
If you’re not going to die and it will bring you closer to whatever it is you’re wanting (closer relationships, more money, deeper understanding, etc.) — then you have a choice. Keep yourself safe and cozy in your comfort zone or take action to expand it, regardless of what your subconscious, anxiety-filled brain is telling you.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY ANXIETY IS DIAGNOSABLE?
Clinical (or diagnosable) anxiety is paralyzing, whereas non-clinical or undiagnosable anxiety is super uncomfortable. It’s real paralysis versus feeling icky or nervous. A good example is feeling nervous before a job interview (mild anxiety) vs. being so worried about the job interview and what will happen that you work yourself up into a full blown panic attack.
You can use your anxiety to your benefit — by using it as a metaphorical “check engine” light for your own human dashboard. It’s an indicator that something is off — to look inside and see if what feels off is based in reality or if it’s your pesky subconscious trying to keep you safe on the couch.
If your partner is showing signs of anxiety, Kyle wrote a blog on what to do when your partner has anxiety, so be sure to check that out if that applies to your life.
And if you’re wanting to learn more about anxiety and the differences between diagnosable anxiety and “normal” anxiety — check out our masterclass ANXIETY 101. We go over:
- What anxiety is and isn’t
- Common causes of anxiety
- What makes anxiety clinical or diagnosable
- How anxiety can present itself (the symptoms)
- Short and long-term coping strategies and remedies
- How to take action on the information
Your anxiety does not have to run your life. Take radical responsibility today. You can do this. Life is bigger than the comfort zone with no nerves. You deserve a life filled with peace, passion, happiness and deep self-love.