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10 Misconceptions People With Anxiety Can’t Wait To Set Straight

10 Misconceptions People With Anxiety Can’t Wait To Set Straight

As human beings, it is entirely normal to experience anxiety. Our brain’s flight or fight response serves as a protector, alerting us to any potential threats to our safety. However, for some of us our flight or fight response becomes activated when we don’t need it to.

When our brain is constantly alerting us to potential threats, as irrational as they may be, we are forced to take notice. This is why anxiety suffers often feel on edge- their brains are constantly tipping them off that something frightening is lurking around the next corner.

Many people experience life in this way but unfortunately, stigma scares many of them out of talking about or even learning more about their anxiety. As a result, many misconceptions surrounding anxiety have emerged.

These misconceptions can be damaging not only to the sufferers themselves but also to their friends and family who are eager to provide their support.

Here are 10 misconceptions that anxiety suffers want the rest of the world to be aware of so that they can better understand what we are going through and how to help.

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1. “Talking it out” won’t always work

When someone is going through a tough time, a popular question to ask is, “Do you want to talk about it?” But for those with anxiety, this isn’t always a helpful method.

When we are in an anxious state, sometimes the last thing we need to do is discuss it in further detail. We do a lot of self-examination in our heads, which can be pretty exhausting on its own; expressing it vocally may drain us even more.

Instead, ask if there is anything you can do to help. We may just want to be alone or we may ask for your support in another way. The experience of anxiety is different for all of us, so it is best to simply ask, “How can I help?”

2. We are rational people who, at times, think illogically (and we know it)

From the outside, we know that our fears can seem pretty silly. But they are all too real on the inside. We try really hard to convince ourselves that in reality, the things we fear pose no threat at all.

This is challenging to do because we are fighting against a number of factors that contribute to this fearful response such as genetics, past experience or trauma. We know when our fears are illogical, but that doesn’t mean we can just make them go away.

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3. Medication is far from a quick fix

If there was a miracle drug for anxiety, we would all be on it and there would be zero trace of anxiety in any of us. Medications do exist to treat symptoms of anxiety but they certainly don’t cure it.

While many have found that these medications provide temporary relief to symptoms, they would agree that their anxiety hasn’t magically vanished entirely.

4. Anxiety can be managed but not controlled

There are a number of methods for managing anxiety, such as exercise, meditation, diet and therapy., which is encouraging for those who feel victim to their anxiety. While there isn’t a cure-all by any means, there are ways to keep symptoms in check.

However, sufferers simply cannot control when or how anxiety will strike. The very best we can do is simply be prepared for when it reels its ugly head.

5. The cause of our anxiety isn’t always an obvious one

Sometimes we experience anxiety and have not a clue as to where it stemmed from. Giving a big work presentation is an obvious reason to feel anxious, but for those who experience anxiety regularly, the cause isn’t always so obvious.

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We will exert a lot of energy in trying to figure out where the anxious feelings are coming from, but we can’t always come up with an answer.

6. It can strike out of nowhere

Things can be going perfectly smooth when all of a sudden a wave of anxiety crashes down. There is no rhyme or reason to anxiety sometimes and it can surprise us just as much as it stuns you.

We know it can be really inconvenient for those around us when anxiety strikes, but know that we are doing everything we can to manage it.

7. Anxiety can affect us both mentally and physically

Anxiety is not only felt mentally but it can also take its toll physically. A common misconception is that anxiety is simply feeling nervous or uneasy, but for many of us, it affects us in a much larger way.

Our brains being in a constant anxious state can cause us to feel extremely fatigued. We may also experience digestive problems, dizziness, and tension headaches.

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8. You may not sense our anxiety, but it is always there

When you’ve experienced anxiety for a significant length of time, you become better at concealing it from others. But this doesn’t mean there isn’t something brewing on the inside. If we feel anxious but aren’t in a position where we feel comfortable expressing it, we will hide it and pretend that everything is absolutely fine.

This is an uncomfortable experience because we are feeling one thing internally but trying to convey something entirely different externally.

9. We may judge and criticize our anxiety, but expect that you won’t

Anxious people can get down on themselves for feeling the way they do (which is why acceptance is so important to us). We will judge and criticize our thoughts, which will lead to more negative thoughts and in turn, create those feelings of anxiety.

It’s something we are working on but ask that while we master being more accepting and less judgmental of our own anxiety, that you do the same. Understand that we are doing the best we can and support us as we tackle any negative judgment or criticism.

10. If becoming less anxious were a choice, we would certainly choose it

We never chose to be this way. Anxiety was never our first choice. For reasons that we may never fully understand, we are anxious people and work extremely hard every day to not let it get in the way of the lives we want to live.

We never signed up for this fight but we know deep down that we are strong enough to win it.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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