Many years ago when I worked for a computer software company I was involved with both writing software code and additionally making sure that the end users of the software couldn’t make the programs and their interface crash.
In some sense for some of my role in that job, I was paid to worry about how a user could crash the software. I was, if you like, trouble shooting what could possibly go wrong. This was mostly OK, But, when the deadlines came, myself and my programming companions would demonstrate worry moving into anxiety.
So lets skip ahead some many years. One of my good friends, for years, has been telling me about an author, they knew I would like and appreciate. Of course I resisted this for many years too. When I eventually started reading the books of Alan Watts, I realised my friend was quite correct.
I almost has anxiety about having wasted so many years without Alan Watts wisdom in my life. But its only the right time to be open to learn something new when its the right time. One of Alan Watts books that I highly recommend is ‘The Wisdom of Insecurity’.
Another way to express this is security is an illusion. We can of course think and feel that we are secure and this is clearly advantageous and quells many anxieties. Of course there is nothing stopping a previously undiscovered comet, an alien race or ‘natural disaster’ wiping all humanity of our globe like a grease spot.
If we make a distinction come working definition that anxiety is the worrying and accompanying negative emotional response about possible / probable future events that may or may not happen. We can immediately ‘see’ that this is a thought constructed realm. It hasn’t happened yet and may not happen at all. And of course it feels remarkable real.
Anxiety and The Stress Response
Biologically speaking our stress response ( heart rate elevation, increased respiration, adrenaline and glucocorticoid production ) are specifically activated when our bodies experience a physical stressor.
This could be defined as having our physical life in immediate danger and accessing the fuel to freeze and play dead, run away or even fight tooth and nail to survive.
In this instance our bodies respond to immediate physical danger and by way of complex electro-chemical interactions kick start our emergency escape systems. Our Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal ( HPA ) system lurches into overdrive accessing and creating massive energy to run away while monitoring the developing situation. A bit like a semi-stuck accelerator on a car.
Our problems with anxiety become transparent because with negatively emotionally driven anxiety, created with only thought and imagination alone the same system ( our stress response ) can become highly activated. And guess what? No physical danger.
And guess what else? Everybody does this from time to time. But for some people this can become habitual because of life conditions or situations where there seems like a huge loss of control in day to day life.
What Can I Do To Ease Anxiety?
If we think about anxiety as thinking about some bad case scenario without any seeming solutions to escape, just a cycle of worry causing negative emotions which in turn cycle into more worry and negative emotions.
One solution is to find a way of the merry-go-round by doing just about anything else. That’s just the trouble isn’t it? It can feel like there is no way off the merry-go-round. The question is then how can I take my mind of the present anxious worries?
One factor in anxious arousal is a lack of feeling of control. So doing anything that can feel like you are making choices ( such as praying, meditating, going for a walk, playing a computer game, doing a cross word puzzle, adding up lists of numbers ) is you making and acting on your choices.
Such activities also makes use of the area in our brains in the frontal cortex ( Dorsal Lateral Prefontal Cortex ) that is part our the worry circuit. So potentially instead of worrying we are using thought to do something more productive.
There are also lots of physical exercises that by way of design make use of both our brain hemispheres. There is some empirical evidence that activities such as Brain-Gym, Swimming, Running, Juggling and Singing ( words and melody ) can alleviate anxiety.
Hypnotherapy In Newcastle To Help You Help Yourself
It took me some years to listen to my good friends recommendations about reading Alan Watts books. Up until I read my first one I had been resisting for all manner of reasons ( that would be a story of what I was doing instead ) but when I did, withing just a few pages I was reading something that was speaking to me in ways that complemented so very much of the work and interests I was engaged with.
Perhaps I can say with some accuracy, that none of what I read was new and at the same time it was a new way of thinking about similar ideas. This is what I call the cascade effect. When there is a threshold passed where ideas, thoughts and actions emerge. For me at that time I simply needed to be open enough to begin reading and see for myself.
And like I said I used to get paid to worry writing software code. What I wasn’t getting paid for was lots of thankless anxiety and way too much stress so I made a decision and chose to leave that job some sixteen years ago and pursue a much more meaningful profession. But that is another story.
If you are struggling with anxiety and the often negative emotional effects then hypnotherapy may be a solution for you.
For a free consultation to see if I can help you, give me ( Nigel ) a call on 0770 481 8467 Tuesday to Friday between 8am and 3.30pm and we can arrange a mutually convenient consultation.