Anxiety as a mental health issue has had much media attention of late. According to Sarah Fadar, a Social Media consultant ‘If you’re a human being living in 2017 and you’re not anxious, there is something wrong with you.’ A certain amount of anxiety is normal and healthy.
How do we know when we have tipped the balance and moved over to unhealthy levels of anxiety? Healthy anxiety drives us forward and can be harnessed to keep us engaged and motivated. It helps us to be sufficiently on task and drives us to action. Without healthy this healthy anxiety, we would be insufficiently driven. We have a natural innate ability to have the right amount of anxiety to motivate us in order to reach our goals and therefore enhance the quality of our lives. Anxiety becomes unhealthy when rather than driving us towards achieving our goals, it makes us fearful and makes us question our abilities to fulfil our goals.
Where does this unhealthy anxiety come from? It usually stems from being negatively evaluated as a child, from overbearing adults in our lives. Although we may not feel that those situations were serious, our sub-conscious minds have registered those evaluations as threatening and therefore the subconscious mind will be triggered by subsequent events in which we are being tested or judged. It can make the person become hyper-vigilant and sensitive to criticism.
This creates a lower threshold for coping with anxiety in the person. The aim is to increase the threshold Medications can dull the emotions but they cannot resolve the underlying issue. In order to truly heal our minds and return to experiencing anxiety as a helpful tool, we need to re-visit those earlier events, in a therapeutic setting. Hypnotherapy under the guidance of an experienced therapist guides the mind back to those relevant memories. It is then possible for the mind to reconstruct those memories and store them without the emotional charge. This helps the person to offload unhelpful beliefs that one accumulates about oneself, particularly in childhood. It can also allow the person to relax and to become more tolerant and comfortable in situations where they may be judged or criticised.
Anxiety is created by our perceptions of a threat, and the key to addressing anxiety to alter our perceptions of the threat. Psychiatric treatment does little to address why have unhealthy levels of anxiety. As long as we continue to mask our emotions with psychiatric drugs, we will do little to address the underlying causes.