Anxiety can begin as early as childhood. One in four Canadians will have at least one anxiety disorder in their lifetime. According the the Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada, the 12 month prevalence for anxiety is almost 15%. Though the numbers for anxiety are small, the effect anxiety has in someone’s life is tremendous. Anxiety is a natural response to stress. If we are giving a large presentation which could result in a life changing promotion, we are understandably anxious.
Anxiety disorders result from the persistence of anxiety in all situations, with disruptive side effects. When the brain assumes it is being threatened, it goes into fight or flight mode, releasing two hormones: adrenaline and cortisol. Both are stress hormones meant for survival. Adrenaline gives us energy while cortisol let’s the body know there is stress nearby. Excitement also produces cortisol and adrenaline. Consider the difference in this situation. A person is about to go bungee jumping. So much adrenaline is preemptively pumping through their blood that they exclaim they cannot tell if they’re excited or anxious.
Next, take a look at this scenario. A person is going to the grocery store to purchase their favorite snack. Of course, they’re excited to eat food that they like. The ideas associated with going grocery shopping sends that adrenaline and cortisol into high production again, but the person isn’t confused about being excited. They recognize the beginning of an anxiety attack. What if they made grocery shopping an exciting endeavor?
Tricking Anxiety Out of Being Anxious
The only difference between excitement and anxiety is the state of mind, one psychologist argues. One thing loved ones are instructed not to do when trying to support someone with anxiety is tell them to “calm down”. Trying to calm down an anxious mind is considerably more difficult than trying to convince an unexcited mind to get excited. Relying on this dichotomy is the theory to transform thoughts of anxiety into thoughts of excitement. Rather than focus on fear, using excitement as a thought foundations encourages focusing on positive possibilities. Tests done using this theory found that people who focused on being excited performed tasks better than those who focused on feel anxious.
Medications, meditation, mindfulness practices, and therapy are evidence based methods for treating anxiety. There is currently no cure for anxiety but to learn about it and adopt everyday practices for increasing manageability. Changing anxious thoughts into excited ones could be a great tool for enhancing the everyday experience of life.
Aurora Recovery Centers offers comprehensive treatment for dual-diagnosis issues and addiction. Our lakeside facility in Manitoba, Canada offers the tranquil healing environment necessary to make changes in your life. For more information on our programs of treatment call 1844 515 STOP.