Anxiety disorders are one of the most widespread psychological problems in our society. They are even second only to substance use disorders such as tobacco and alcohol.
This means that we should not deny their importance. We must apply the best strategies and tools to combat anxiety as soon as it occurs.
Because it’s so common and so meaningful today, we’re going to try to describe how anxiety is linked to one of the main risk factors: not noticing or delaying your personal needs.
Fear is a destination with many gateways
It is true that too often we approach fear from a pathological standpoint. We forget that it is not only a disorder but also an alarm system. It’s one of the ways the body lets our mind know that something isn’t right.
Since we look at it too pathologically, there are a multitude of different treatments to beat anxiety. But most of them make a huge mistake.
Because they’re just trying to treat the symptoms. In doing so, they neglect the original cause and the things that sustain it. This kind of treatment that is based on the symptoms is wrong because it does not address the causes of the anxiety. It focuses only on the forms of expression.
This state of feeling is not the result of a single cause. Here are some of the most common causes: prolonged stress or the feeling that there is a big difference between our ‘ideal me’ and our ‘real me’.
That means there can be a difference between the kind of life we lead and the life we want. When we experience this difference as enormous or unbearable, there is a very good chance that feelings of anxiety will occur.
In other words, one of the most common sources of anxiety is that we don’t pay attention to our personal needs. We may live on autopilot for a long time and not create the life we really want. When this happens, our psychological system will set off an alarm signal: fear.
Lack of attention to your needs
When a person fails to notice his needs – time to himself, more free time, less contact with certain people, a lower workload or fewer obligations in the household/family – he exposes himself every day to an environment that is hostile, unpleasant. and not good for him.
There’s nothing wrong with making sacrifices and fulfilling obligations that we don’t really want to perform. But if this becomes the norm, then we have a problem.
If we function that way indefinitely, then we are not meeting our needs as individuals. In these cases, our mind has a way of letting us know that things are not going well.
Because our mind tells us that this is not the right way, that life is not right: so we have to change things. Feelings of fear exist to give us that blow on the head.
Fear drives you to action when your ‘inner compass’ has lost the North
Suppose you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety. That could be a fast heartbeat, nausea, sweating or a sense of disconnection from reality and so on. When this happens, the first thing one does in therapy is to address these symptoms.
And this is correct, but it is not enough in the long run. If the emotional state persists over time, it is because something is fueling these feelings.
That something could be what caused the fear in the first place, or something else. In any case, it will continue to hurt us until we do something about it.
Fear is an alarm system that tells us to make changes. Those changes depend on the person involved.
In some situations they have to do withwork. In other circumstances, they are associated with marriage, family relationships, children, and so on. But the vast majority have one thing in common, the sacrifice of one’s personal needs or values.
How can we beat anxiety?
To defeat fear we must make an effort and improve our emotional self-knowledge. We must learn our values and needs.
In the short term, it is good to focus on the symptoms. But it is not enough. Because the source of most anxiety disorders lies in a dissatisfaction with our lives.
If the treatment of the anxiety does not focus on creating a new and better life, then we will only temporarily hide the fear. But the original problem will still be there.
The first step is to go to therapy. This may seem easy or obvious, but it is the most common mistake people make.
They try to solve a problem themselves that needs the attention of a specialized professional counselor. They do it without help and on their own.
Effective therapy starts with addressing the symptoms of anxiety. That way, the person will later be able to set goals and make changes in their life. These changes will then help him to realize his deepest wishes.
Once we have the most debilitating aspects of the anxiety under control, one more step is needed. To truly defeat fear, we must work on our personal growth.
One piece is really important. We must learn to free up time and space for our needs. It can be difficult because it means that the person has to answer questions that they have never asked themselves. For example, he asks the questions: ‘what do I want?’, ‘what do I need?’ or ‘what do I like?’.
By asking yourself these questions and getting help from a psychologist, you open the door to beating anxiety. If you suffer from this disorder, take the step.
Ask for help and start listening to your deepest wants and needs. This is the best way to start a new, free – fear-free – life.