Tracie has been featured in

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety-300x199This is a very interesting question and the answer depends on where you live in the world, your language, your belief systems and how your culture sees human behaviour.

In the Western medical system, anxiety is seen as a mental disorder and of course there is lot of money circulating around attempts to cure people of that mental disorder.

Many other cultures do not have the same words for or view of anxiety so they do not recognise it in the same way.

If you were Native American those feelings of nervousness may be a sign that you need to connect with the guidance of your spirit guides and ancestors.

In some African countries anxiety may be sign you are cursed and need a shaman to chase out the evil spirits.

For people from the West these may seem crazy and primitive ideas but let’s be honest, Western medicine at times comes up with some real dumb ideas.

In Western medicine many psychiatrists tried to have shyness listed in the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM, V). How silly is that?

From a physiological perspective anxiety is a state of excitation of the nervous system. It is part of the body’s natural functioning and not a pathology.

If your nervous system never got excited you would never move forward in life and never do anything. It is the body’s way of initiating action to excite the nervous system. It is like turning on the light switch to get electricity to go to the light bulb in your bathroom.

The nervous stem needs to be excited to prompt your organs, muscles, hormones and your mind into action.

If you don’t turn the electricity on, the light bulb will never light up.

But some people forget to turn the electricity off and they are stuck in a state of over excitation for long periods, which then becomes very uncomfortable. That uncomfortableness we describe as anxiety (angst/worry) in the West. It is a state of psychological, emotional, cognitive (thinking) and behaviour disharmony.

If you stay in that excited state for a long time your immune system weakens, your digestive ability is lowered, you begin to feel exhausted, disoriented, very disappointed and afraid because you do not feel you have any control over your life.

You start to dread the future because you have no sense of being in control of yourself, your fate and feel powerless to determine your own outcomes.

You begin to associate that sense of uncomfortableness with objects (like in phobias), with people (you become afraid of them, have little trust), with places (you like to stay only in your familiar places), and always with the future (you think since you do not have a sense of control that things will go wrong).

These can be specific anxieties based around particular things or generalised free-floating anxiety that you transfer from one thing to another.

Of course anxiety can arise from certain physical illness too, when the body is diseased. If you break your leg you go into a state of alarm and physically go into anxiety to spur you on to do something about the situation.

Also with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, senile dementia and Alzheimer’s to name a few, there can be a large amount of anxiety that goes with physical dysfunctions.

Those without mental illness may like to adopt the Traditional Chinese Medicine way of thinking about anxiety which is ‘wrong thinking’, which needs to be fixed. In other words we need to think differently to change our bodies.


Speak Your Mind