You can look around online and you will see what is often called the biggest threat to people of all time. ANXIETY! The word itself can give you anxiety. There are hundreds of Facebook groups all about anxiety. Twitter chats galore. Then there are videos upon videos about how to curb this supposed plague of anxiety.
Anxiety and depression have become a problem. Maybe not for the reasons some folks like to think but they are a problem nonetheless. We have kids being prescribed meds on a daily basis for experiencing their emotions on the normal setting of full blast.
Do we have an anxiety problem? Yes, but it is only because we haven’t been taught how to understand nor process our emotions. We are taught how to be good little employees while in school. Yet when it comes to handling how we feel we are each left to our own devices. The majority of us slowly get it figured out. While others go on weird conspiracy theories.
What is anxiety?
In a nutshell, anxiety is the anxious feeling you get when you worry about something. Often called knots in your stomach, butterflies, Lump in your throat, these apprehensions of one level or another. They are all feelings. You are experiencing different sensations in your body. That is why
The biggest problem with anxiety is that you are caught in a worry/thought loop. For example, you locked your keys in your car and you are late for your first day on your dream job. You start to worry about, “How are you going to get to work?” That thought leads to tones of other thoughts. For instance, My box is going to yell at me. He is going to think I am a horrible employee. Everybody at the office is going to judge me for wasting their time. I knew I was going to screw this up. You get the picture. With that worry, you have stress.
Stress causes all sort of interesting thing to go on in your body, from the dumping of adrenaline into your bloodstream. That causes you, heart, to beat faster. Which causes you to focus on what your heart is doing. Therefore, you are also worried about why your heart is beating so hard and fast. Why are you sweating it is 30 degrees outside. You shouldn’t be sweating in this weather. You are going to get hypothermia. All of a sudden, you start to feel your fingers going numb.
So, do you see what is going on? Anxiety is nothing more than a resonating echo chamber for worry. This echo chamber gets louder and louder until it affects your body. Much like how an opera singer can shatter a wine glass from across the room. Your worry is piled on a minute by minute with unaccounted for thoughts. These thoughts eventually start making physical manifestations like accelerated heart rate, shaking, uncontrolled sweating, and shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, muscle spasms, twitchy eyelids and more.
Anxiety is nothing more than an emotion, a feeling that is created by a thought. When these thoughts are left unaddressed then people often head down the path of depression, anxiety attacks, and other panic oriented attacks. That is because your mind has thoughts that are running unchecked. How often do you pay attention to the thoughts you think? Not as often as you need to. When was the last time you, out of nowhere, got just outright pissed off and you do not really know why? That was an unchecked thought. Your brain loves to do what it is good at and that thinks thoughts. It wants to do it as efficiently as possible. So it will run thoughts without your conscious mind actually being engaged.
An underlying problem
Not only does anxiety and depression create an echo chamber in your head but you also if you are not paying attention you will also be sucked into the echo chambers or others. There are several times that I have seen people who without realizing it contributing to the whole anxiety problem. The group actually is perpetuating the victim mindset. They recommend that they get this type of med or just say it’s going to be alright. OK, yeah it is good to make sure they know that they are alright. People will ask questions like, “my nose is itching all the time is that because of my anxiety?”
There are people who will answer it with “Yes. My nose itches all the time.”
This is adding to this false narrative that anxiety and depression is this global problem. Instead of saying “no more than likely you have hay fever.”
Interestingly I have been kicked out of more than one group because I didn’t amplify the echo chamber. I let them know that the problem is because of their thoughts or that their feelings are normal. I often try to make it a celebration that they are normal. Unfortunately, some people don’t want to be thought of as normal. They want to think they are experiencing something that nobody else has experienced.
My favorite right now is that the admin of one group made the post of how she hated negative thoughts. She will not tolerate anybody who brings a negative thought into her group. Well, I couldn’t help myself and pointed out that her statement was actually negative in itself. With that, I was kicked out.
The reason that I found that so interesting is that she is so blind to what she was doing that she had no clue that she was amplifying her negative mindset. Now I was actually in this group a couple of times because this admin had created a rather successful group. Then it became too negative so she shut it down and started a new one. I have a feeling that in a couple of months she will shut that group down and start a new one because of her negative response to being negative.
Groups are a lot like the Jim Rhoan saying of you are the 5 people you spend the most time with. If you are around many people who would rather be victims then they are not going to find their solution they will only make more victims.
How to break free from Anxiety
Honestly, you can’t, unless you want to experience life without the wonderful color of emotions. You are always going to feel that gnawing worry from time to time. There will be unbelievable highs followed by crushing lows. You may even swing from orgasmic joy to such pitiful despair in the same day. That is life. Life is emotions. When you look back on your life, you will remember the times you were happy, sad, or scared out of your mind. Your emotions are your memories. You are just a body walking through life without the experience when you are on mood-altering drugs.
If you want to have a normal life, there is hope for you. You don’t have to be a prisoner of the crushing depression, you can experience all the anxiety the day can throw you and you can simply roll with it. The secret is that you control your emotions. That is right you, only you.
First off you have to understand that emotions are nothing but feelings generated by thought. Now your thoughts may end up causing you to experience anxiety or even sadness. Though these emotions are uncomfortable, they are good. Grief can be messy but there is nothing more beautiful than expressing how much life meant to you. These events each cause a thought that causes emotion.
What About Depression?
Though not the same depression has many similarities as anxiety. Depression is often created by the thoughts you are having. You may have failed in a business endeavor, or maybe you are going through a divorce. It is easy to get caught up in the negative thought loop of a victim mindset. Those thoughts can bring you down to the point that you are in a depressive state. That type of depression can feel like it will never end. If you can get out of that particular thought loop.
Though the depression in men can be results of a messed up brain chemistry. I am talking about the ordinary run of the mill down in the dumps kind of depression
It’s Your Thoughts
How many times have you heard something similar to this?
“That lady cut me off. She made me so mad.”
“My husband makes me so mad because he won’t take the trash out when I tell him to.”
My boyfriend hurt my feelings last night
My girlfriend is so annoying
Any of these sound familiar. Most of them if not all of them. Now here is the pop quiz. What is wrong with each of those statements?
The answer, they pass the responsibility over to somebody else. You have all the control over your thoughts. Your thoughts generate your emotions. So when nameless woman or dude cuts you off in traffic do you really want someone who has no care for your emotional well-being to have control of your emotions? Why would you want to let someone who is busy trying to make themselves happy be responsible for your happiness?
Your thoughts make your emotions. What is actually happening is that you are generating a thought from an action somebody performed. You are responding or reacting to that event. That response is the emotion created by your thought. So how does this information help you not to have a crippling anxiety attack? It helps by knowing that you can experience your emotions. Take the time to allow your emotions to be present. Allow that sadness of your dog passing to wash over you. Allow the fear of standing in front of a crowd to do a talk. Relish in the interesting sensations of your anxiety as you get the nerve to walk up to someone to shake their hand. You are normal everybody has those sensations. You don’t have to be smiling all the time you don’t have to be in anguish either. You will put on your brave face and enter your boss’s office because he wants to talk to you.
You can control your emotions.
Change your thoughts of an event and you change your emotional response. That new response changes your outcome. Kent Julian is known for his E+R=O or Event’s + Response = Outcome. This goes right with what I am saying. If you don’t want to be a quivering pool of nervous jelly then change your response. Change your thoughts and you change your emotion. What if I told you, you could still love your ex-boyfriend even if he cheated on you? How would you feel if you blessed him with all the love they could have? You would feel marvelous. That is because you get to feel whatever you want. As long as you don’t try to force other people to feel what you want. That is because you can’t make a person feel an emotion. They have just as much control over their emotions as you have over yours.
When you can’t cope
There are times when people just have lost their way and need help. These people have lost the very ability to function. When that happens that is when they may become clinically depressed. There are times that the echo chamber of their minds is so loud that they can’t hear the good people are saying. When that happens that is when you need help from a licensed professional. Though I wouldn’t want to take any type of antidepressants that doesn’t mean they don’t help at times. They can help clear the fog long enough for a person to get their bearings. Yet I always worry when someone is told they will be on meds for the rest of their life. There are other solutions.
Other conditions may generate anxiety, for instance, people who are OCD. IF they don’t complete certain tasks, certain ways there is often a feeling of dread and fear. Then there is also PTSD which is common among our veterans. They relive the horrors of their experiences and face the stress of not being able to change the outcomes. There are treatments for these conditions but as a whole, most people who suffer from anxiety are not in that realm. They are faced with tests and pressures of trying to get into a good school. These stresses are often self-imposed or imposed by the parents who want to be able to puff out their chests when talking about little Billy.
Anxiety is not fun to experience unless you are in the right thought pattern. You can start changing your thoughts with some simple self-coaching or even hire a life coach and let them help you understand what it is that you are experiencing. Most of the time the coach is going to make sure you push yourself and encourage you to get uncomfortable.
So in closing breathe your anxiety isn’t going to kill you. Yeah, your heart is hammering because of the adrenalin being pumped into your body. Take a deep breath and learn how to chill out. Find a way to relax. Hire a coach for a few sessions and see what good they can do for you.
I like being able to help people find their “why” and achieve the personal freedom they desire. Besides writing for Relaxed Male I also am a life coach. By helping men find the leader that is found in each and every one of us. I do this by encouraging men to get outdoors and find the balance they are missing. Realize that they need to be in contact with the outside as often as they can. It is not only good for them but for their families and relationships.