Anxiety is a feeling of uneasiness manifested by physiological cues, such as sweating, shaking, and racing heartbeats. It might be the natural reaction to stressful situations, such as public speaking, major decisions, or conflicts. Anxiety activates our fight-or-flight mechanism, which is critical to surviving. While it’s normal to be anxious occasionally, chronic anxiety could ruin our life, happiness, and relationships. I have pinpointed five reasons we may be a victim of anxiety disorder and some simple steps we can take to ease its destructive toll on our well-being.
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Too Much Expectation
Many people get anxious because of unreasonable standards they hold themselves to. While it’s okay to be ambitious and set lofty goals, it’s also important to remain grounded in the present. When you catch yourself focusing excessively on the future, remind yourself to separate success and happiness. You won’t be happy when you reach your objective if you don’t learn to cultivate happiness habits now.
Excessive Desire for Control
Our natural tendency to be in control, if unbridled, will create fear and anxiety when our actions can’t get measurable results in uncertain situations. When I experience helplessness, I remind myself that just like I can’t regulate my breath, my blood circulation, digestion, and other automatic “bodily functions,” sometimes I should kick back and let nature do its work. This simple mind trick may be helpful to you, too.
Fear of Change
Black and white thinking causes many to resist change, even if they are aware of its advantages. We see any familiar situation as the best option and everything else as unfavorable. Realize that change is the only constant in life. Instead of making assumptions, approach change with an open mind and curiosity. That will help reduce anxiety and give you more steam to deal with negative outcomes.
Can’t Let Go of the Past
The inability to let go of the past creates anxiety because it clouds our judgment and prevents us from having any perspective. Our today is a merciless reflection of our past, but our future need not be. We can make the present the past of the future we are aiming for. The best way to prevent past mistakes from spilling over into our future is to learn from them today and move forward. The past is the primary source of worries where problems can’t be solved. You might as well let it go, learn, and grow from it.
Afraid of Losing
Why do some cope with loss better than others? They avoid catastrophizing. They make the deliberate decision to divert their attention away from negative thought traps that characterize our natural loss-aversion tendencies. Losses are often blessings in disguise. What if you espoused that mindset? I know from experience that you could enjoy greater peace of mind.
I have used these strategies myself and with clients of all walks of life. Three-quarters of my coachees report significant improvement after using these techniques. They may help you, too.