Is Anxiety Eating You up? Here’s How You Can Quash the Monster
What would you say is the most common mental health issue in the United States? Most people would go with depression, but that’s not it. It’s no secret that depression is the major condition affecting a significant portion of millennials, but that’s just one generation.
Anxiety disorders, on the other hand, cut across all generations, affecting at least 40 million American adults. That’s an insanely huge figure, considering that 40 million could be the population of an entire country in another continent.
Dr. Natalie Dattilo, a Brigham & Women’s Hospital clinical psychologist, says that looking at it psychologically, she’d term anxiety a miscalculation. A person’s mind overestimates the probability of negative things happening while at the same time underestimating their ability to handle such occurrences.
As for Steve Gross, a social worker, anxiety is all about the negativity bias that humans have. As he puts it, we tend to fixate more on scary and threatening information instead of focusing on happy thoughts.
Thinking about it, Gross has this spot on. Sometimes, we seek out this scary information ourselves, and when all is said and done, we’re are the very same individuals who end up hurting and tormenting ourselves.
According to the social worker though, although your anxiety may be out of an exaggerated risk, it is your body’s way of trying to ensure that you’re safe.
All the same, this doesn’t mean that we should now stop treating anxiety disorders as a mental health condition. Far from it. In fact, Gross is committed to stopping the menace that this condition has grown to become, saying that optimism is the best way to slay this giant.
Dr. Dattilo agrees with his approach, as it is also the one she uses with her patients. As the doctor puts it, positive thinking is what optimism is all about. It is the end result of blending hope, confidence, and goal-driven behavior.
So, how can you bring that pinch of optimism back into your life? For starters, Dr. Dattilo says that you should change the way you think. According to her, the brain is one very malleable organ and can, therefore, be altered easily.
For this though, you may need some professional help so that the psychologist can help you identify which of your thought processes are problematic.
One other thing you should do is stop being enslaved by your fears. According to the doctor, patients with chronic anxiety are almost always plagued with catastrophic thoughts. This is where an individual is almost always sure that things never work out for them, and as such, they are ever on edge.
Understanding this type of fear is, naturally, the first step towards beating it. Learn everything there is to know about that move you’re afraid of making, then make a realistic assessment of possible outcomes. By doing this, you get to realize that it may not be as catastrophic as it had initially seemed.
Do you have those friends who always think positive? No matter the situation before them, you’ll never hear them tear themselves down. Such are the kind of people you should hang out with more, if you want to beat your anxiety.
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