Anxiety: The Paradox
Anxiety can feel really out of whack when you are swamped with it. It is paradoxical in nature, meaning it will cause you to do exactly the opposite of what would support your goals. And too much of it will put your physical and emotional body at risk.
Anxiety will catapult you to the endless “What if’s” faster than a speeding bullet.
Anxiety In Action
- The shopper who abandons her cart in the middle of the aisle, struggling through a panic attack.
- The socially anxious person who wants to meet others, but can’t bring herself to speak with anyone at the party.
- The person whose phobia of elevators makes getting to her fifth floor office onerously stressful.
- The estranged parent of an adult child who is desperately trying to understand what happened, and grieves the loss of contact, but often ends up stuck in blame, which is not helpful.
People often find that simply knowing anxiety has a hereditary component provides emotional relief. They can tell me immediately which side of their family was most affected. They also learn that anxiety has become their lifestyle habit, and that habits can be changed, which is also a welcome revelation.
And oh brother does our body loudly announce anxiety to us! We must learn how to respond to it differently. Anxiety is an evolutionary gift. It is our early warning system, but the message can get distorted over time.
And when an anxious client tells me they don’t understand what it feels like to be relaxed, or says they just can’t slow down their minds, I help them remind their bodies how relaxation feels via guided imagery, or clinical hypnosis. The new focus (which speeds up desired change) and peace that results is often a wonder to them.