Anxiety and the “WHAT IF” Question

Have you ever found yourself running through different “what if” scenarios in your head and imagining all the possible things that could go wrong? If so, you are not alone. The National Health Service reports that everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their life. But what exactly is anxiety and would it surprise you to know that it is a recognized disorder and that there are multiple anxiety disorders?

In its simplest form, anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress; a feeling of trepidation, fear or apprehension about what’s to come. For example, when sitting an exam, or feeling anxious about an upcoming visit to the doctor or the dreaded dentist, or how about that nerve-wracking feeling you may get going for a job interview?

During times like these, it’s perfectly normal to experience feelings of worry or nervousness, but for some, these worries become difficult to control and rather than these feelings being fleeting or localized to a specific event, feelings of anxiety are more constant and the ever-presence of them can start to affect our daily lives. As soon as one anxious thought is resolved, another may appear about a different issue and so the cycle begins again. The “What if this happens?” or the “What if that happens?” scenarios that often keep us awake at night or stop us from doing what we really want to do start to play out more frequently.

If this resonates with you, then you are not alone. As many as 1 in 4 people suffer from one form of anxiety disorder or another and women are more prone to it than men.
But have you ever noticed that often the “what if?” version of events that we create in our heads either never even happens or is nowhere near as bad as what we envisioned it would be?

And what if I told you that anxiety is one of the ways in which our mind tries to keep us safe? Would this surprise you? It seems crazy, right? That something that is supposed to keep us safe, can for some of us have such devastating effects. But it all harks back to our Neanderthal days when we needed to be in a constant state of fight or flight as we kept a look out for saber-tooth tigers and other life-threatening situations.

Now I can hear you saying, “but saber-tooth tigers are extinct”, but think about it, if we were not anxious about anything at all, you can imagine we may find ourselves in some pretty dicey and dangerous situations. Without that warning system in our head, getting too close to that cliffs’ edge or looking right and left before crossing the road may not exist.

Unfortunately, however, for some of us, we sometimes lose the ability to put the real danger or lack of danger of a situation into perspective. Our mind reacts as if everything is dangerous whether or not it actually is or not. We may not even be sure why we feel anxious because logically we can see that there’s no danger present and nothing to worry about, yet our body still feels like it is in a constant state of high alert. The fact that we’re not able to switch off can then leave us feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.

And worse still, left untreated, anxiety can for some of us lead to a general anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder amongst others disorders which can be extremely debilitating. Restricting activities to the point where you may even avoid certain situations altogether out of worry or worse yet, you start to exhibit physical symptoms as a by-product of all the anxiousness and worry you feel. Days like this can stop you in your tracks.
The good news though is that anxiety is completely manageable with the right treatment and approach. I have found using a blend of NLP, EFT & Hypnotherapy to be a fast and effective way to help my clients break free from anxiety and all the side effects that come with it. As all human behaviour is a product of the state of mind we are in at the time, if you can change how you think about something then it will naturally change how you feel whether you’re making something up (the “what if” scenarios) or you’re recalling an actual memory or life event.

So, if you are ready to say goodbye to the worry and allow thoughts to just be thoughts, get in touch with me and book a call.

For more information on the different types of anxiety, click the link here.

Trust your unconscious, it knows more than you do

Milton Erickson