Anxiety - Afterdeployment.org

afterdeployment.org

Anxiety - Afterdeployment.org

1.1 INTRODUCTIONAnxiety can be described asmotivation, excitement, tension,anticipation, stress, worry,nerves, and phobias. Anxietycan be a normal reaction to newand positive challenges or tostressful events. But, anxietycan also be the result of distortedthinking and other controllablecauses; if not controlled,anxiety can becomeproblematic and interfere withyour health and wellness.1.1.1 What is Anxiety?Anxiety is a mix of thoughts, emotions and physical reactions.People describe experiencing “butterflies” or “knots” in theirbellies, or a pounding heart, or chest tightness. Anxiety canbe useful, signaling the body to go “on alert” and prepare foraction. Anxiety can be a motivator or a response to the anticipationof an event. Anxiety can signal a person to act,which can facilitate coping with a difficult situation.1.1.2 What is Worry?Worry is the thinking part of anxiety in which the worrier regularlypredicts the occurrence of negative or catastrophicevents in his life or in the life of loved ones. Worried thinkingoften leads anxiety’s physical symptoms (rapid heartbeat,restlessness, disrupted sleep, etc.).Everyone worries about something at one time or another.But, worry becomes problematic when it is chronic andinterferes with daily living. It becomes a cycle that is difficultto break and may cause you to make significant lifestylechanges like isolating yourself or avoiding public places.Worried thinking focuses on the likelihood of negative outcomeswithout realistic efforts to plan or problem solve.Worry is about living in the future by always thinking “Whatif?”Here are some signs that worry might be problematic in your life:You are chronically on alert and thinking about potential future dangers or threats.You are consistently making negative predictions about the future.You tend to overestimate the likelihood that something bad will happen.You repeat worried thoughts over and over again in your head.A QUICK NOTE ABOUT CATASTROPHIC THOUGHTS: The catastrophic thoughts associatedwith each anxiety disorder tend to be unique to that disorder. For example, the thoughts associatedwith Social Anxiety tend to be about being rejected, humiliated, or looking or sounding stupid.Obsessive-Compulsive thoughts tend to be about thoughts sticking and repeating around potentialcatastrophes (e.g. the oven might be on and will burn the house down), something specific in theenvironment being dangerous (e.g. germs), or an unrealistic fear of harming oneself or others. Thesethoughts get stuck, like a song that gets stuck in your head.

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