Michelle Velan, Founder of Wondersource
You may have noticed that there’s been an explosion of anxiety over the last decade. From economic instability and climate change to social media addictions to political upheaval, including Brexit fallout, a UK study has shown all these things have added to the increase of anxiety in everyone. Unfortunately living with anxiety has trebled among young adults, affecting 30% of women aged 18 to 24, a staggeringly high number.A certain level of anxiety can have a positive effect on your life if it makes you more resilient, improves your problem-solving skills, motivates you to work harder or warns you about a potential threat. Yet when anxiety becomes pervasive, excessive and unhelpful it is considered a generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).
According to Deborah Glasofer, PhD, a professor of clinical psychology and practitioner of cognitive behavioural therapy, some people tend to be more prone to anxiety. This is often due to upbringing or genetics, but there are also other factors that can contribute to the anxiety cycle.
Avoidance: Anxiety can persist and even grow worse because of the ways people respond to their worries. Individuals with untreated anxiety problems tend to respond to their fears by trying to suppress the worry, seek reassurance that nothing bad will happen or avoid situations that might trigger the fear. These strategies can backfire and reinforce anxiety.
Distorted or biased thinking: Some worries might persist because of biased thinking. This thinking could involve an overestimation of the likelihood of a bad outcome or an exaggeration of how bad the bad outcome will be.
Negative thinking: Some worries are strengthened by negative thoughts about yourself, like the belief that you would be unable to cope with uncertainty or an undesirable outcome.
Selective memory and attention: Worries can also persist because of how information in the environment is processed. A person with GAD may selectively tune into information that supports the worry and ignore evidence that refutes it. Memory can also be selective.
Once we have a basis for understanding anxiety and how it can affect us, it’s easier to find ways to overcome it with short and long-term lifestyle changes.
Wondersource works with the best holistic health professionals in the business. If you need some support or someone to hold you accountable, reach out to schedule a free consult to find out more.