What is anxiety?

We all have moments where we feel anxious and overwhelmed. The demands of our daily life ensure that. Moments of anxiety are not signs of weakness – they’re signs of our humanness! But what is anxiety exactly? Periods, or episodes of anxiety are short bursts of worry or nervousness that are situational in nature. These situations may be butterfly’s before an interview, a rapid heart beat before a first date or fears that a medical test may bring bad news. These bouts of worry will typically subside after the event or once the situation is resolved.

What about chronic or clinical anxiety? This is when excessive worry presents itself persistantly and seems difficult to shake. The worries may be based in real situations but the magnitude of the emotional discomfort makes every day tasks difficult. Relationships may become strained, and thoughts are taken hostage by the persistent fear that something will or has gone wrong. Even when the situation passes, the anxiety remains. Even if there is not a specific situation that is causing the worry – you sense this air of dread that makes it hard to see what’s real.

Both types are frustrating. Friends may tell you – “just don’t worry” or “you’re overthinking things, it’s fine” and though they may mean well, it can leave you feeling more frustrated than before. Of course if you could “just not worry” then…you would.

A grand mystery really, if only you could see things the same way these friends did, if only you could “snap out of it” and participate in the same life that they seem to be enjoying carefree! But where’s the door to that life, where’s the invitation?

Whether you’re struggling with chronic anxiety or stress from a bumpy patch in life there are ways to change things. You don’t have to keep living in the fog and you may be able to find that door to a new life after all.