2078 Teron Trace #326, Dacula, GA 30019 | (678) 205-0838

Fear, Anxiety, Stress and Worry; Oh My

Fear is a distressing or negative emotion caused by the belief that something is dangerous, painful or a threat.  To manage or cope with fear, face it by accepting it. Fear is a normal human emotion. Like all human emotions, it has a purpose. Evolutionally, fear serves to protect and keep us safe. It serves as a warning of danger, both physically and emotionally. It allows us to prepare and protect ourselves from real danger.  However, emotional fears, such as fear of public speaking, fear of social situations, or fear of an object or location can seem irrational and be more of a nuisance than a help. So what can we do about it? In the moment sometimes just breathing through it will help.  Just place your hand on your stomach and watch it as you breathe in for a count of three, hold for a count of three, and breathe out for a count of three. This will allow the body to diffuse the fear sensations, and move the mind away from the fearful thoughts.  If managing the fear alone is not working, talking with others about the fear helps.

Anxiety is the anticipation of a fear. Frequently it generally includes bodily manifestations, such as muscle tension or a queasy stomach, feelings of unease or edginess, and thoughts about the fear.  Anxiety causes avoidance of the feared and/or reminders of the feared. Anxiety is another normal human emotion. A small amount of anxiety can be motivating. It will motivate to study for an upcoming test or prepare for a big presentation. But like most things, too much anxiety can be detrimental, too much anxiety can cause paralysis or helplessness as a result of feeling overwhelmed. To manage anxiety in the moment, breathe deeply, this increases the amount of oxygen in your blood which produces an instant relaxation response. Visualization also helps manage anxiety. Close your eyes and spend a few minutes visualizing yourself in a relaxing place, a place that promotes peace and serenity for you. The location is not as important as the sensory details – the sights, sounds, and smells you visualize make the experience richer.

Stress is the response –  cognitive, emotional or physical – to a demand or pressure, whether it is pleasant and anticipated, or unpleasant and dreaded.  Everyday life can be stressful. The inescapable demands of school, work, and family in this digital age create ongoing life stress. Therefore stress management should be an inherent component of daily life. Incorporating stress management strategies into daily life will prevent stress from becoming debilitating or overwhelming. Everyday stress management includes regular exercise, adequate sleep, a balance between work and play, and time management. Exercise improves mood by allowing the body to release its own feel good hormones. Adequate sleep promotes feelings of wellbeing, allows the mind to recover from stress, and provides the energy to accomplish daily tasks.  Play, anything that one enjoys (reading, watching a movie, gardening, hiking), allows the mind to focus on enjoyable activities, thus releasing it from the demands of work and giving it a needed respite from work.  Time management helps keep demands and responsibilities in perspective and doable.  A life with these factors included will be less stressful than a life without them.

Worry is the cognitive manifestation of stress, anxiety and fear.   Worry involves negative thinking and rumination about stress anxiety and fear.  It erodes self-confidence, damages performance, and prevents rational or logical thinking.  Challenging negative thoughts with facts and reality often robs them of their influence.  It helps to write them down and review them to see if they have any basis in reality.  This usually allows us to see these thoughts as the fallacies they are, as irrational and illogical. It also helps if the negative thinking is replaced with something positive, like a positive affirmation. Affirmations works best when based on an honest assessment of facts and information.

 All of these; fear, anxiety, stress and worry, can result in unhealthy behaviors, from the seemly benign repetitive nail biting to the more obvious harmful overeating, smoking or drinking.  Chronic or continued experiencing of any of them can result in poor physical and mental health.  Try some of the tactics discussed above to help manage them.  However, if they persist, the help of a mental health professional may be beneficial.

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2078 Teron Trace #326 | Phone: 678-205-0838
Dacula, GA 30019 | Fax: 678-318-3405
Contact us at: info@psychologygwinnett.com