I always thought that anxiety (the daily kind not the diagnosed kind) was reflected in feelings of not being able to perform everyday actions. I associated anxiety with analysis-paralysis, the idea that you're so anxious that you can't bring yourself to do anything. Then I started to notice, than most people around me had some level of anxiety - with no idea.
Listening to an insightful podcast episode, Unlocking us by my favourite Brene Brown, articulated my thoughts into a science. The idea that many people have a form of over-functioning anxiety. An anxious over-functioner feels the need to jump in and control a situation when there may be nothing that needs control. This happens when emotion, usually triggered by a form of stress, takes over logic and the anxious over-functioner feels that if he/she solves a problem immediately, they'll be back in control and the problem will go away.
This is the opposite reaction to an anxious under-functioner. An anxious under-functioner (me!), goes into the well-known state of analysis-paralysis. I'll analyze the situation to pieces, get myself so anxious and worked up about it that I'm actually drained of energy and just want to collapse into a ball and do nothing.
Neither, of course, are productive. But both reactions are our innate human instinct of survival. When anxiety takes over, for both the over-functioner and under-functioner, our brains our telling our bodies that there is a threat and we need to either fight or flight.
This is where breathing comes in. More often than not, there's no threat and a few slow, deep breaths will bring our brains back to a rational thought process where it realizes that it's not in danger. Once we do this, we're giving our brains enough space to allow for rational thought to take over. This slowing down allows us to think through the 'threat' in front of us and tackle it logically, one step at a time. So whether you're overdoing it or underdoing it, you're not alone and it's natural. Try taking a step back in those moments and breathe. The jumbled thoughts in your mind will start to come together orderly and seamlessly - allowing calm to takeover.
It’s that time of year when many of us start to feel the impending doom of going back to work. As we close off a festive holiday season and start trying to get our minds into productive work mode again, it’s natural to feel a little anxious. In fact, there’s actually a trending term for this exact feeling. It’s called the ‘Sunday Scaries’ and it’s that much more real after we’ve all just had a leisurely week or two weeks off for the holidays.
How many times have you walked into a party and taken a deep breath, bracing yourself before talking to anyone? It’s normal to get nervous before talking to people. According to psychologist, Rick Hanson, in his book, “Hardwiring Happiness: The new brain science of contentment, calm and confidence,” he indicates that humans share ancestry with creatures, like bats, whose self-fulfillment is founded on the carrot and stick philosophy. The carrot was their reward for doing well while the stick was punishment for acting poorly. These creatures thrived by avoiding the stick instead of pursuing the carrot. According to Dr. Hanson, over time, humans have transformed this into a desire to avoid negative environments instead of actively pursuing positive ones.
Who doesn't struggle with self-esteem?
Each one of us has some sort of confidence conflict. Maybe you left the house today feeling great and then someone said something that made you second guess yourself. And in a matter of seconds your self-esteem hit rock bottom. Even when you don't show it, our self-esteem can have a dramatic effect on how we view ourselves and ultimately, in the way we interact with people.
Having a baby is the most beautiful experience. As women, we spend nine months growing a human being in our bodies. We’re careful to nourish them and intuitively listen to their needs while they nestle into their new home in our wombs. Then the time comes, and our bundle of joy arrives. We’re new moms! Life is beautiful, our baby is beautiful and we couldn’t be happier…right?
But what if we’re not?
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