We are not talking about the the whole “think globally, act locally” movement here. This is about the utter confusion and inability to sort out your thoughts when anxiety strikes. People who are prone to panic or anxiety attacks often tend to think globally. They have a hard time sifting through information and deciding what is relevant when they are in pain. It is as if they are being bombarded by conflicting emotions, most often led by fear of the future and what it holds for them.
Q: What is possibly the worst thinking habit people with anxiety engage in?
A: The tendency to overestimate the intensity and duration of their emotional reactions to future negative events, deciding the impact will be much greater than it is in actuality.
First I would ask “Which other people?” Are they strangers, acquaintances, work colleagues, friends, close friends, or family?
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is being hypersensitive to either real or imagined criticism. What underlies this feeling is an exquisite sensitivity to the feeling of embarrassment.
What is more exhausting than feeling your emotions? Anxiety, anxious feelings, and dread are all triggered through the brain’s response to sensations, thoughts, and memories, or some combination thereof. You hear the pot crashing in the kitchen and snap to until your cortex decides about a half a second later that it was just that and not a gunshot or someone being seriously wounded.
Did you know that if you have anxiety in almost any form, list making is your friend?
Anxiety in its purist form is about loss of control. It is that feeling that you cannot control the outcome you so desperately wish to do. And what better way to harness a little of the feeling of being in control than making a to-do list?
Sometimes I am so tired of the self-help industry and the imposed expectations it places on us. While reading an interesting article about the differences in shamanic treatments for mental illness that are radically different from the Westernized way, my senses were heightened about the level of expectations in this culture. It is exhausting.
I was reading an excerpt from an interview given by Dr. Atul Gawande on his book Being Mortal: What Matters in the End, and he commented that:
“People have priorities in their lives besides just living longer and they matter a great deal. The most reliable way to learn what those priorities are is to ask and we don’t ask. The result is that when you don’t ask, the care and treatment that people get is often increasingly out of alignment with their priorities and what really matters most to them.”
This time of year there is a lot going on with end-of-summer vacations, children going back to school, some leaving for college, and the gears that must shift as we head into late summer/early fall.
There’s a lot of bravery going on right now. The young kids that must adjust from the sudden loss of limbs from shark bites this past week at Oak Island, North Carolina, and the families of the slain in Charleston, South Carolina, are all having to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. Maybe South Carolina will take a brave look at a sometimes sad heritage, as well as the rest of America, face our violence, and actually do something to change this awful path.
PAGE RUTLEDGE, LCSW, CHt | Anxiety Therapy
5006 Randall Parkway (close to UNCW)
Wilmington, NC 28403
Free parking at office