Anxiety is an emotion characterised by a feeling of tension and excess worry, and the anxious thoughts we experience can often present themselves as intense, excessive and persistent worry about everyday situations.
Feelings of anxiety can sometimes interfere with our daily activities and, when severe, certain anxieties have the power to dictate our lives and hold us back from doing things due to worry and uncertainty. Here are 5 reasons why your anxiety may prevent you from reaching your goals, and some steps to help you take back the control by neuroscientist and co-founder of Hello Pure Dr Arianna Di Stadio.
Fear of the unknown
When you are in a new situation it is normal to feel anxiety as it is unfamiliar and uncertain. The ‘fear of the unknown’ is a common feeling people face, and this fear can lead them to stick only to what they know and avoid new experiences. It is vital to remember that without new situations we cannot grow, and we may be missing out on great life events.
So, the next time you are presented with a new challenge that you have never previously encountered, push yourself to dip your toes in the water, as you are likely to feel a huge sense of achievement for doing so and maybe encouraged to try more new things moving forwards.
Concern about failure
Many people are anxious about failure. This is completely normal as nobody wants to fall short of the expectations they hold for themselves but, without failure, how can we ever learn from our mistakes?
Fear is part of human nature but, by letting it control you, you may miss out on opportunities where you could actually succeed. Next time you feel tempted to avoid doing something because you’re afraid you might fail, try using encouraging affirmations, as you will be surprised what a huge difference a positive mindset can make.
Keeping statements such as: “I am confident and determined”, and “I keep pushing until I succeed” can trick your brain into thinking you aren’t so afraid, and you’re strong enough to take on the challenge despite any potential setbacks.
Anxiety about anxiety
Anxious thoughts can be a vicious circle. When you feel anxious, it can be an unpleasant experience that you do not want to go through again. This can, in turn, lead to worry about the feeling coming up again, which only perpetuates the very emotions you are trying to overcome in the first place.
Having anxiety about anxiety is a very normal reaction, as no one likes to feel uncomfortable. However, this can hold you back as it can lead to avoidance behaviours, which can make the anxiety worse.
If a situation or place provokes anxious thoughts, instead of avoiding it, whenever the opportunity arises, you should push yourself to try that situation again, as repetition will slowly bring down your anxiety and make you feel far more comfortable.
The need to manage your anxiety
Sometimes, we can’t just get rid of anxiety, especially if it is deep-rooted. Instead, we need to look for ways to manage the anxiety we feel so it doesn’t dictate our lives. There are many different methods that can be used together to help us deal with anxious thoughts. These include practising mindfulness, exercising regularly and taking supplements such as 5HTP+. These all encourage the brain to produce serotonin, which can help us sleep better at night, as well as reduce anxiety.
If it feels like your anxiety is taking over your life and you are experiencing anxious thoughts regularly, it may be time to seek medical help.
If you need to speak to someone about your mental health, contact your GP who will put you in touch with the best services that can help you manage your anxiety in the most appropriate way.