Apprehension of threat makes us feel afraid and anxious. Sometimes, however, it can seem as if the fear we experience when we are anxious or panicky has no particular cause that we can identify. At other times we can be gripped by particular fears that keep us from living our lives to the full.
We live in difficult times and the backdrop of global pandemics (current or future ones) climate change, social injustice, and personal worries are very real and will also raise our base line anxiety.
Anxiety is a state of red alert and sometimes this is about internal threats: things we tell ourselves about ourselves or self limiting deep seated beliefs we have about our inadequacies and insecurities. Others of us have learnt to be hypervigilant as life has not always been safe for us. In fact that is the flavour of anxiety: we don’t feel safe and we don’t feel secure when anxiety rules our lives.
Even if we try to tell ourselves that there is nothing to be afraid of, it can feel impossible to switch off the red alert feeling as it is manifest in the body as well as the mind.
Managing our fears, talking about them, finding new ways of making sense of things and strategies for calming our minds and bodies can all be helpful. Mindfulness and self-compassion offer us amazing tools to calm the agitated state of anxiety. But that isn’t necessarily for everyone.
Sometimes being heard, being understood or making sense of things can help to find a new perspective that frees and liberates us from the clutches of anxious mind states.