Originally published in 2010
Anxiety can be described as any or a combination of feelings that all have their roots in some type of fear, including unease, worry, apprehension, dread, powerlessness or a sense of impending danger – real or imagined. Symptoms can be wide-ranging: the mind goes blank or other cognitive functions are lost, obsessive thoughts, phobias, chronic worry, ongoing unease, sweaty palms, tension headaches, trembling, difficulty breathing, dizziness, panic attacks, increased heart rate and palpitations. Anxiety disorders such as panic attacks may result from certain physiological conditions, most notably heart arrhythmias, and anyone who experiences this should seek immediate advice to make sure the cause of the attacks is not physical.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 40 million American adults – that’s 18% of the population – have anxiety disorders, which often begin in childhood. Social phobia alone, when people become overwhelmingly anxious and excessively self-conscious in everyday social situations, affects 15 million adults, and specific phobias, an intense fear of something that poses little or no actual danger, affects 19.2 million adults in the U.S.
“Worry is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.”Arthur Somers Roche, American journalist, writer, 1883-1935.
Anxiety is a feeling, a type of emotion. Some anxiety such as fight or flight is encoded in our genetic makeup and is a normal human response to many of life’s uncertainties. Among them nervousness over an impending test or a sought-after job, uneasiness in a relationship or concern over the health of a loved one, speaking or performing in public, or worry in the workplace for a variety of reasons (the most common being the employee performance review). It is when anxiety becomes exaggerated that this otherwise natural human emotion can threaten our well-being
“As the turbulence of anxiety churns in the subconscious and plays out in your thoughts and actions … it can cause fatigue, sleep disorders, hormone imbalances, health problems and premature aging.”“Transforming Anxiety”, Childre, Rozman 2004.
Years of research by the HeartMath Institute has shown you can achieve a healthy balance in your emotions. Learn to stop feeding anxious feelings, create new emotional patterns and behaviors and replace the negative ones that have been draining your energy and spirit. HeartMath scientific research and controlled studies have shown your own “heart intelligence” holds the key to this transformation. By achieving coherence in your heart, mind and spirit you can maintain a calm, balanced, yet alert state at home, school, work and play.
A HeartMath TIP:
You’ll be amazed at how much calmer and relaxed you feel after trying these three quick steps adapted from the HeartMath Notice and Ease® tool, which has helped so many reduce their anxiety.
- Notice and admit what you are feeling.
- Try to name the feeling.
- Tell yourself to e-a-s-e—as you gently focus in your heart, breathe a little slower and deeper than usual, and e-a-s-e the stress out.
Benefits of Reducing Anxiety
- Stress hormones decrease, energy level increases, and you feel better
- Stronger, more satisfying relationships
- Quality of life and feeling of empowerment increases
- Reduce “overwhelm” – time pressure, information and stimulation overload, mentally scattered feelings and impatience.
- Decrease projections of worst-case scenarios, negative thinking
- Improved memory, cognitive functions