Hope for Anxiety
By: Javan
January 27, 2013

It seems like everyone has anxiety. We hear the word anxiety used constantly in everyday situations. You might hear it around work, from friends, even at your child’s school…..it’s a common struggle for so many people, including children. Anxiety can seem like an intolerable feeling. Just thinking or talking about anxiety can instigate more anxious feelings. There is hope, even if anxiety tends to have a negative connotation. It’s normal, common, and an important emotion.

When we are born, we are given the most important part of ourselves, the emotional brain! We are NOT born with impulse control, reasoning, or analytical skills. These come later as the brain begins to grow after age three. In the meantime, the experiences of life are mostly emotional until age 25, when brain growth is mostly complete. So imagine that you’ve spent most of your growing years as an emotional being and then, *poof* at 25 or 30, you’re suddenly feeling more certain, less unsure, and focused. It’s normal, since the brain hasn’t been functioning in it’s full capacity until later in life.

The ability to have reasoning and impulse control influences life experiences and perceptions. So what does this have to do with anxiety? If anxiety is experienced without limits when we are children, then imagine how much more we are able to understand when we feel anxious as adults! As adults we have choices, options, and the ability to analyze our needs. Options include deciding how to react and knowing that behaviors influence outcomes. Feeling anxious isn’t the issue. It’s not the problem. Anxiety is the warning emotion that says, “Something isn’t working for me” or “Something is bothering me.”

Medications have been put on the market to remove anxiety and, as a result, many people are unable to process basic concepts of emotional distress within themselves. Panic attacks, anxiety disorders, and depression continue to rise among children and adults. Imagine for a moment, if there were time to process your internal “warning” signals.  Warning signals are not dysfunctional. Your internal workings are made up of all your life experiences. You’ve been taught to become anxious for a reason. But without guidance and hope, these reasons can remain unknown or worse, misinterpreted. What HAS become normal is the judgement and shame about feeling anxious or sad. Today, it’s common practice to try and remove the emotion, which perpetuates the issue. The issue is unresolved and leaves a person to feel helpless. As if there are no options, no choices, when this is not the case.

There is hope is knowing that emotions help regulate our understanding of life. The emotional brain protects a person’s sense of dignity, respect, and differentiation. Understanding your needs helps influence decision making, so your choices or options are based in who you are, thus reducing anxiety and depression. Your needs come from having a clearer understanding of yourself.