Friday, 12 February 2010

Is Anxiety Always Bad for You?

We tend to think of anxiety as something which creates stress and problems.

Well of course it can do this. But it can have good or useful sides to it too.

For example, if you are faced with a genuine threat or risk, an appropriate level of anxiety can alert you to thinking about how to take reasonable measures to avoid or deal with the threat - in evolutionary terms one often hears of the famous 'fight or flight' response to a threat.

If you deal with dangers or risks complacently, without any anxiety, then you may increase the likelihood of being caught out or suffering adverse consequences following from the risk.

The key words are perhaps 'reasonable' and 'appropriate'. It is when your level of anxiety is excessive in proportion to the real risk or danger that it may be considered to be unhelpful. In those circumstances it may be that you want to use techniques to help you calm down or to help you put in perspective the risk or analyse in a sensible manner how real it is or the extent of it.

If you suffer from a particular form of anxiety, such as generalised anxiety or social anxiety, it is likely that in some situations your perception of the level of 'risk' is distorted - for example, you might expect that people will think badly of you or laugh at you for certain actions or behaviour when many people may not even notice the behaviour or may have a more positive or less judgemental view of it than you anticipate.

If you suffer from severe anxiety and find that you expect yourself to be or behave perfectly all the time, then try not to be so hard on yourself - remember that no one is perfect and if you can, try not to apply a harsher standard to yourself than you would to others. Also, in line with the above, if you have perfectionistic tendencies or a high level of anxiety try to acknowledge those areas of your life where your perfectionism or drive has actually bought positive results for you - it may well have helped you to achievements which people with less drive admire.

Anxiety is not always your enemy. One of my suggestions would be to value it for the times it helps and to try to put it in perspective at times when it doesn't help.

Blog Post Written by Life Coach David
For Life coaching Books and Resources visit: Life Coaching Books

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