Anxiety or Nervousness

In May I wrote about anxiety amongst young people and I am often asked to explain the difference between anxiety and nervousness.

FTR Counselling AnxietyBasically, nervousness is ok …. Anxiety not so good. Everybody gets nervous. It’s a natural reaction when we expect, or imagine, that something negative is about to happen. That’s why an upcoming doctor’s visit might have you feeling nervous. Nervousness and anxiety, while both emotions that are a bit scary, are, however, quite different in character and how they affect us.

Being nervous is usually a short-term feeling. Part of what causes such a feeling is that while our bodies are locked in the present, our minds are free to wander into the past and the future. Usually, thinking about things past and future is a pleasant thing. Past memories can be of good times and bring us com- fort. Thinking about the future allows us to create new goals and plan successfully.

But thinking about past things sometimes brings nervousness. What is about to happen, like that doctor’s visit, may remind us of a past negative experience. When we imagine the future, we may find ourselves imagining all the possible catastrophes that could occur.

Nervous feelings are actually fairly easy to overcome, or at least to limit. We can start to do that by realising we are responsible for our own thoughts. If remembering past negative events is making us nervous, we can intentionally focus instead on happier, healthier, more comfortable thoughts.

To do that you have to get your mind and body in the same time zone. Remind yourself that this is now, not back then. Pay attention to what you’re seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling. ( this is the five sense practice) .Take a deep breath. Think about now and you lessen the negative, nervousness-pro- ducing thoughts about the past or future.

What we think impacts on how we feel and controls how we behave.

At times, however, nervousness can be more serious. When someone focuses excessively on negative past events, or bad fu- ture outcomes, simple, short-term nervousness can become real anxiety. Generally, being anxious is usually longer in duration and occurs with more intensity or frequency than nervousness. Being severely anxious can have a crippling, negative effect on your life. You may find you are constantly remembering the past and negative events, or anticipating future problems. Such severe anxiety can limit your ability to act and hinder relationships with family and friends.

If severe nervousness or anxiety occurs on a regular basis and is causing you problems, seek help. I can assist in getting anxiety under control and helping you to a happier, more relaxed life. If you are impacted by any of these issues, be encouraged to take the first step, be brave to ask for help, see advert below for contact information.

(News/Feature: Conselling)

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