Fear is a natural human emotion that protects us from taking foolhardy risks – a very useful signal that warns us of potential danger. As such this powerful emotion has enabled the human race to survive, and to thrive, for millennia.
Anxiety on the other hand is more about the expectation of a fearful event happening.
Every emotion has its place, but if the emotion occurs in situations where it is not needed then it can be debilitating. If you have felt anxious for no apparent reason then the anxiety mechanism has been in overdrive. Many of the symptoms of anxiety such as pounding heart, sweating and fast breathing, happen as a result of the body being primed for action, the “fight or flight response”.
Sometimes the brain tricks us into thinking there is danger when there isn’t. This is due to the survival mechanism being over-cautious and airing on the safe side. If this mechanism is being triggered inappropriately then there are some effective ways of controlling it, so that it serves us better.
The first step is to be aware of the anxiety itself and the three elements that make it up: the physical sensations that you experience, the emotions you have while experiencing them and the thoughts that go through your mind at the time.
There is a very useful anxiety management technique that you can help you deal with inappropriate anxiety. It is known as the AWARE technique and it has 5 steps. To make it easy to remember each step starts one of the letters of the word AWARE:
Click here for a description of the AWARE technique. If you want any help in gaining more control over anxiety then a few sessions of Human Givens Therapy will be very beneficial.
Kevan Owen HG.Dip.P, MHGI, DHypPsych (UK).
Human Givens Therapist. Mobile: 07717 289373.
The Bell Surgery, 453 Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 8AU.
Trinity House Practice, 150-152 Cumberland Street, Macclesfield, SK10 1BP.