It’s true that both anxiety and worry relate to the future but the similarities end there. One of the key differences between anxiety and worry is that worry is about a single, specific situation, whereas anxiety may impact several situations that fall under a common theme. For example, my anxiety impacts me when I am in the company of new or unfamiliar people.
If you find that you are experiencing anxiety one of the easiest ways of identifying it is by recognizing that you may think everyone can visibly see you are anxious. With worry the sense of everyone seeing you are worried does not feel like a burden but with anxiety thinking others can see your anxiousness is draining and actually feedsinto your anxiety. There is a sense that you want to hide it at all costs.
In recent years I have fought against anxiety as if it were the enemy, only to realize that it was trying to tell me something very important. Maybe I wasn’t ready to hear it, maybe it had to get worse in order for me to pay attention. Recently I’ve learnt that deep down it was trying to tell me that there are parts of my past that haven’t yet healed. Although I’ve come a long way, my anxiety reminds me that I still have a long way to go. That even though I like myself and have forgiven my bullies, the fear of being bullied still remains when I am in the company of new or unfamiliar people.
If you think about the times when you were most anxious, what did it surround? Whilst the literal cause of anxiety might relate to something quite specific, the root cause is often something much more generalized. For example, do you get anxious about keeping everyone happy? Is there something unresolved in one of your close relationships and / or do you have a need for all of your relationships to be conflict free? When you were a child did you witness a lot of conflict?
For everyone the cause of our anxiety will be different but I would encourage you to delve deeper into the root cause of your anxiety as when you do you may discover your anxiety is trying to show you that you have a deeper issue that needs your attention.
Try these three key questions to unravel the message your anxiety might be trying to convey:
What does my anxiety relate to specifically?
What does my anxiety relate to generally?
Did I experience what my anxiety relates to generally in the past?
I’m really excited to reveal that next month’s hot topic is anxiety. Having suffered from anxiety myself I know just how debilitating can be. It’s important to remember that anxiety is different from mere worrying (which admittedly is awful too).
Whereas worry is considered by psychologists to be normal and tends to relate to something specific, for example, your performance on a test, anxiety is more generalized and all pervasive and is considered by psychologists to be more severe by nature.
If you tend to worry a lot please sign up to my mailing list to get your free downloadable eBook ‘Don’t worry, be happy’.
For those of you that are unsure as to whether you have experienced or are experiencing anxiety there will be a ‘How anxious are you?’ questionnaire as part of my linear posts in the first week of the series!