We all experience anxiety at times and sometimes it’s is difficult to ascertain when anxiety is helpful and when it becomes a psychological problem. In psychology, we know that moderate levels of anxiety can be useful in problem solving and productivity. However, when anxiety gets too strong, we lose our ability to successfully cope with the issues at hand and deplete our stress tolerance capacities and other resources, and feel overwhelmed and sometimes even paralyzed.
Anxiety can manifest in different forms: The ones which are classified in the ICD-10 the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Health Problems, a medical classification by the World Health Organization:
There is Generalized Anxiety: you feel “nervous’ almost all the time, with excessive worry, and have trouble coping and concentrating to the point that it impacts your functioning.
Social Anxiety (social phobia): when you feel overwhelmed, worried, and self-conscious about everyday social situations. You fixate on others judging you or on being embarrassed or ridiculed.
Panic disorder. You feel the terror that strikes at random. During a panic attack, you may also sweat, have chest pain, and feel palpitations (unusually strong or irregular heartbeats). Sometimes you may feel like you’re choking or having a heart attack.
Specific phobias: You feel intense fear of a specific object or situation, such as heights or flying. The fear goes beyond what’s appropriate and may cause you to avoid ordinary situations.
Difficulties with sleep: Struggling with falling asleep and staying asleep is another common manifestation of anxiety. You may find yourself lying in bed, thinking and worrying about various aspects of your life, responsibilities you have, deadlines, money issues, romantic issues, family issues, anything that may be a cause for concern at the moment.
Somatic symptoms and complaints: Sometimes, anxiety manifests in the body in the form of stomach troubles, uneasiness, gastrointestinal complaints, headaches, fatigue, etc. In children and adolescents, in addition to somatic and physical complaints, the anxiety may manifest itself in behavioral acting out at home, difficulties at school or problems with social interactions, to name a few.
Other diagnosable anxiety disorders are trichotillomania (a compulsive urge to pull out your hair, eyelashes, or eyebrows), or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
What anxiety are you?
We will try to understand the source of your anxiety in the context of your personal history, and whether it stems from an inner conflict or some other older attachment problems, which are now acted out in relationships, and how it manifests out in your daily life. Because most of the anxiety’s symptoms are acted out in the body and somatically, any form of meditation or somatic awareness and consciousness can be helpful in tackling it.