Anxiety is quite different from fear in that it is unique in its appearance and mainly originate from our core concerns. Although anxiety reflects many similarities with fear, our anxieties cannot be understood in terms of all people are the same or some people are the same. When it comes to anxiety, no two persons experience anxiety in the same manner, because the difference dimension is the exclusive playing ground of our anxieties.

Constant and unfocused spells of looming gloom and doom.

Anxiety is a multi-energy dynamic system reaction to an undefined threat or danger. Anxiousness is reflected as an intertwined combination of biochemical changes in the body, our personal history, our memory, experiences and the present social circumstances. Anxiety is an unpleasant and complex combination of emotions and feelings that may (or may not) include fears, apprehension and plenty of worries; which are frequently accompanied by some manifestations of physical sensations such as palpitations, nausea, muscle spasms, chest pains and/or shortness of breath.

Anxiety seems to be a unique human experience. Animals clearly know fear, but human anxiety involves an ability to use our memory and imagination to move backward and forward in time… an ability that animals do not appear to have. Anxiety that occurs during post-traumatic stress indicates that our memory structure is a more complicated mental functionality than animal memory. Moreover, a large portion of our anxiety is evoked by anticipation of future events. Without a sense of personal continuity over timeI.e. having an awareness of the past, present and future , we would not have the necessary “sources” for anxiety.

Anxiety has a consistent mental, physical, emotional, spiritual and behavioural impact on our life's. The mental aspect entails the CONSTANT expectation of a looming, vague, diffuse and uncertain danger. Physically the body prepares the itself to effectively deal with “a threat” (known as stress reactions): blood pressure and heart rate is increased, sweating escalates, blood flow to the major muscle groups is boosted and the immune and digestive system functions are inhibited. Externally, physical signs of anxiety might include a pale skin, sweating, trembling, an irregular heartbeat and shallow breathing. Emotionally, anxiety causes a sense of dread or panic and that could physically result in nausea and chills. Behaviourally, both voluntary and involuntary behaviours or automatisms may arise directed at escaping or avoiding our feelings of anxiety. These behaviours are frequent and often maladaptive, which often surface as acute mind defenses. However, anxiety shouldn't always be regarded as either pathological or maladaptive… it is a common emotion along with fear, anger, sadness, love, content, depressions, regret, happiness, …etc. and anxiety plays a very important role in its contribution to our survival on this planet, especially via our intuitive ability.

It is important to distinguish between anxiety as a feeling or experience, and anxiety as stuckness. A person may feel anxious without having anxiety blockages. Also a person facing a clear and present danger or a realistic threat, is not usually considered to be in a state of uncontrollable anxiety. In addition, anxiety tends to frequently surface as a symptom in the areas of a our life that is frequently confronted by changing circumstances, often related to threatened dreams, expectations and goals brought about by future shock.

Although anxiety is a commonplace experience that everyone has from time to time - some much more than others - anxiety is difficult to describe in a concrete manner, because it has so many different potential causes and levels of intensity. “Professionals” categorize anxiety as an emotion or an affect; depending on whether it is described by the individual experiencing it (emotion) or by an outside observer (affect). The word emotion is generally used for the biochemical change and feeling state that underpin our internal awareness of anxiety. Affect is used to describe our emotional state from an observer's or “outside” point of view. When a “professional” says that a person has an anxious affect, s/he means that the individual appears nervous or anxious, or respond to others in an anxious way (e.g. the individual is shaky, tremulous, sweating, …etc.)

Although anxiety is related to fear, it is not the same thing. Anxiety is unfocused, vague and hard to pin down a specific cause. Sometimes anxiety being experienced - in the present - may originate from an event or person that produced pain and fear in the past, but we are not consciously aware of the original source of the experience. It is this aspect of the remoteness of anxiety, that makes it difficult for us to compare our experiences of it. Whereas, we will be fearful in a physically dangerous situations, and can agree that fear is an appropriate reaction in the presence of danger, anxiety is often triggered by circumstances, objects or events that are unique and specific for each individual.

We might be anxious because of a unique meaning or memory being triggered by present circumstances, not because of some immediate danger. Thus, when observing an anxious person, could be truly puzzling as to the reason's for anxious experiences. Anxiety can have a number of different causes. Anxiety is a multidimensional reaction to stimuli in our environment or a reaction to an internal stimulus resulting from a combination of “normal” biological and individual psychological processes (e.g. a hypochondriac's reaction to a stomach rumbling). Anxiety is a constant and vague feeling of uneasiness and looming doom, therefore making it difficult for us to pin point exactly what the reasons are for these feelings that we experience. The remoteness of anxiety doesn't support understanding of anxiety either. Therefore, we tend to latch on to something that makes logical sense to us and what we think would explain what is happening. This way of dealing with anxiety can be more upsetting and unbalancing to our inner world, than it is helpful to us; because “outside” explanations cannot account for the uniqueness and individuality of the anxiety that we experience. To complicate matters even more, certain situation or events also increase our levels of anxiety more than others, for example: We can be more anxious in the presence of strangers than friends, more anxious during exams than tests, …etc. leaving us with an illusion that we “know” what cause anxiety. This “belief” can result in the formulation and clinging to certain “bandwagon” ideas as an ultimate solution for anxiety. Various terms and concepts such as: emotional intelligence, maturity, self-worth, passive aggressive, self-determination, …etc. in itself contains valuable reference information, but when we do not see or interpreted it in terms of our personal context, it often encourage and strengthen our levels of anxiety, rather than reducing it.

The Key for understanding anxiety, is the ability to listen to the messages and become aware of what our energy system is trying to tell us. We need to familiarize ourselves on how our energy system (as an unique, individual and finely tuned dynamic system) operate and what signs (specific to us) provide us with an indication that things is getting out of hand (i.e. increased levels of anxiety). Outside sources and resources can be immensely helpful as references to our understanding; BUT… in the end… real and lasting success is how we listen and respond to the signs that our energy system provides us with. Unfortunately, anxiety is unique to each person and it makes it difficult - even impossible - to indicate all possible “tell signs” of anxiety. However, some areas to monitor our levels of anxiety, can be indicated as follows…

What we have to remember - especially with regards to anxiety - is that preventing anxiety is much more efficient and productive than “curing” anxiety. As humans we have significant control over our thoughts, and may master many ways of preventing anxiety in the first place by monitoring, evaluating and correcting possible irrational perspectives, ideas and believes. We also have some power over anxiety arising from social and environmental conditions, but other manifestations of anxiety are “hard wired” into our bio-computer and our life cycle (i.e. process of life), and cannot be confronted and dealt with all that easy - for example - our human core concerns.

First PagePrevious PageBack to overviewNext PageLast Page

  • Last modified: 18 October, 2018 @ 5:35pm
  • by Jan Viljoen