The cycle of anxiety is a progression of a stressful thought or feeling through an upward spiral of worry, with each stage of the spiral compounding the previous one, until it feels as if anxiety is a constant, albeit unwelcome, companion throughout the day and night.
If you’re fed up with wanting to hide your anxiety behind a false smile, and you want to stop the desire to hide under a blanket fort, it’s time to understand the cycle of anxiety.
It’s natural to feel anxiety from time to time, and in any situation where there is an element of danger, or possible danger, it’s right to feel anxious. It’s the subconscious mind doing it’s best to keep you safe, while at the same time alerting you that something is not right and needs your attention. The problem is when anxiety is your constant default pattern and takes over your life.
Scanning for Danger
When the mind becomes anxious, even when you’re unsure what’s making you feel stressed or worried, your brain will begin scanning for any possible dangers in the environment. This can take the form of being hyper-vigilant to your actual physical environment, or from perceived dangers around you. This can include conversations with others where you might begin to make incorrect conclusions based on another’s tone of voice, choice of words or some other nuance in what is said.
Without being consciously aware, your whole mind-body system is looking around to see what might be a problem. Even if there’s no actual danger, you’ll find yourself looking out for anything that might affect you. This is particularly the case if you were brought up in a chaotic or unsafe household, or have been subjected to any form of abuse, bullying or trauma.
Because certain situations feel uncomfortable, there’s a tendency to avoid them. For instance, if you need to give a presentation at work but have a fear of public speaking, you might phone in sick or make some other excuse to avoid the task. Another example might be a child who avoids school because of bullying or worry over academic performance.
Avoiding any uncomfortable situation gives a feeling of short-term relief. Your subconscious mind has succeeded in keeping you safe from what is, from its perspective, an unsafe situation. The alarm bells temporarily stop and the jangly nerves calm down.
Long-Term Anxiety Growth
By side-stepping situations that cause stressful thought patterns and avoidance behaviour, the fear felt at the very idea of being in the same or similar situation begins to gain power. The cycle of anxiety is established. The anxiety has not been addressed and the lack of action to deal head-on with the problem confirms to the subconscious that the fear is correct and should be reinforced. Anxiety gains momentum and becomes your default state.
What’s the Solution?
The solution to the cycle of anxiety is to help the subconscious switch off unnecessary alarm signals, to calm the ‘fight or flight’ system, learn better coping strategies, and take action to deal with inappropriate fear responses to everyday situations.
There are various options to be explored: medication, psychological support, meditation, breathwork, hypnotherapy, neuro-linguistic programming, meridian tapping, and many more.
Recognizing that you’re in a cycle of anxiety is the first step to dealing with it. When you can observe yourself in the process of an unhelpful pattern of behaviour, it’s easier to engage in ways to deal with it. This involves being a witness to how you ‘do anxiety.’
How do You ‘Do’ Anxiety?
What words do you say to yourself?
What thoughts do you think?
What feelings arise as a result of your thoughts?
How do those feelings affect you physically, i.e. your breathing pattern, posture, do you move or tend to remain still?
How do you behave as a result of the combined thoughts, feelings and physical reactions?
Once you notice exactly how one aspect builds on the next, you begin to see how you have a process of producing anxiety within yourself.
Next you can begin to understand the cycle of anxiety and be mindful of where you are within the cycle of anxiety. Are the feelings currently building, are you in the process of finding a way to avoid a situation, are you feeling short-term relief, or have you moved past the relief and find the anxiety gradually growing stronger in the long-term?
When you can see how the overall picture of your subconscious programming – how you ‘do’ anxiety as well as how you are in the ‘cycle of anxiety – you can begin to break down each segment and discover what works for you to break the cycle.
And it’s also important to understand how anxiety fuels other unwanted behaviours and possibly addictions, all of which simply temporarily soothe the anxiety but never actually stop it.
Take Action Now!
Whether you decide to try medication or meditation, or any other method of traditional or alternative therapy, it’s vital to break the cycle of anxiety, so that you can feel free to make life choices more logically, rather than be hijacked by the pervading fears and feelings that anxiety brings.
If you’re interested in discovering how the integrated therapy approach I offer may help you, please get in touch via the contact form below, so that you can begin the journey towards being free from the cycle of anxiety. Imagine living your life with excitement about the next day, discovering the joy in each moment, feeling in control and happy. It’s possible but only if you take action to make it happen.
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And there’s more…
Want to understand the Cycle of Anxiety and how to deal with it? Take a look at these resources:
Written by a counsellor who suffered from anxiety for many years, this book examines what anxiety and panic is and discusses ways to deal with it. Discover how to defuse anxiety and panic, and gain a sense of control over it. Buy this book! Click on the link below: Anxiety: Panicking about Panic: A powerful, self-help guide for those suffering from an Anxiety or Panic Disorder – Joshua Fletcher:
Worry convinces us there’s danger, and then tricks us into getting into fight, flight, or freeze mode – even when there is no danger. The techniques in this book, rather than encouraging you to avoid or try to resist anxiety, shows you how to see the trick that underlies your anxious thoughts, and how avoidance can backfire and make anxiety worse. If you’re ready to start observing your anxious feelings with distance and clarity-rather than getting tricked once again- this book will show you how. Buy this book! Click on the link below: The Worry Trick: How Your Brain Tricks You into Expecting the Worst and What You Can Do About It – David A Carbonell:
Nik and Eva Speakman have a wealth of experience in dealing with psychological issues, and are the pioneers behind Schema Conditioning Therapy, which examines what causes anxiety and the best ways to deal with it. They look at how you produce the schema (the various aspects of how you ‘do’ anxiety) and unpack how to deal with it. This book will help you to change your thought process, which in turn will help you to feel better and produce a change in your behaviour. Buy this book! Click on the link below: Conquering Anxiety: Stop worrying, beat stress and feel happy again – The Speakmans:
There’s a new and faster way for anxiety relief, but few have ever heard it. Most people are advised to either just “manage” their anxiety or medicate it away. If you’re tired of just managing your anxiety and want a powerful natural solution, then apply the ‘Dare’ technique as explained in Barry McDonagh’s latest book. Based on hard science and over 10 years helping people who suffer from anxiety, the author shares his most effective technique in this new book. The DARE technique can be used by everyone, regardless of age or background, to live a life free from anxiety or panic attacks. Buy this book! Click on the link below: Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks – Barry McDonagh:
Rescue Remedy is the world-famous combination of Bach flower remedies for quickly restoring inner calm and enabling our body to release its own potential to manage daily stress without side effects. It’s a natural alternative to other stress relief methods and allopathic medicines with the benefit of being in a liquid format. Rescue Remedy is completely natural and contains five of the 38 Bach original flower remedies; Rock Rose for terror and panic, Impatiens for irritation and impatience, Star of Bethlehem for shock, Clematis for inattentiveness and Cherry Plum for irrational thoughts. Safe for the whole family, to help with everyday stresses. No side-effects or contraindications. Non addictive. Buy this now! Click on the link below: Bach Rescue Remedy:
Want to learn more about flower remedies? Take a look at this blog: https://www.ruthybaker.com/2020/05/04/flower-remedies-for-anxiety/
Try this NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) tool to help deal with anxiety: https://www.ruthybaker.com/2020/05/16/nlp-spin-doctor/
Heard of Tapping and want to discover more? Here’s a quick demo of an Anxiety Busting routine based on Thought Field Therapy. Please like, share and subscribe to be kept up-to-date with my YouTube channel, latest vlogs, videos and content! Click on the link below:
What’s the opposite of anxiety? Feeling confident! Relax back and allow this guided meditation to ease you into a state of quiet confidence. Please like, share and subscribe to be kept up-to-date with my YouTube channel, latest vlogs, videos and content! Click on the link: https://youtu.be/EIalVvMHSto
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