"I am anxious, when I lay down to sleep I cannot stop mulling things over, my heart beats so fast it seems to jump out of my chest, I am running out of air and am sure will suffer a heart attack ...".
Often, life situations places us out of our comfort zone and confronts us with our own resources. It is common to think that by aging we learn to have things under control and that the experience of going through many situations is an antidote to suffering and anxiety.
Anxiety, due to its disabling and annoying symptoms, is seen as the bad cop, and is often closely related to the next prejudices:
• Anxiety is the enemy to fight against.
As any painful, disturbing and inexplicable feeling, our first natural reaction is to try to get rid of it. However, if we take advantage of it and read between the lines, anxiety can be taken as a sign of alarm. It can be a useful source of information that reveals that something is not working properly, that there are situations that fracture our balance. It might be the reflect of pending internal conflicts.
• Sure there is a way of controlling anxiety through my thoughts!
Another extended believe I hear frequently is the statement "sure there is a way to control anxiety through controlling my thoughts"… as if there were a magic phrase, a mental trick (for instance to draw a blank) or a talisman that as a plaster can avoid such discomfort. Unfortunately, the rational control is not always able to fight emotionally based issues.
In these cases, the best way to reduce anxiety and prevent future episodes, is to find its origin to understand where it steams from, confront it and find a better outlet (accept what it going on, take action, etc.). Only by confronting the underlying issue, anxiety can be eradicated.