Everyone seems more anxious these days. There’s a really good reason for this:
Everyone is more anxious these days.
Human beings have always faced stressors but in today’s world, everything is easily amplified, accelerated, and exaggerated.
What is Anxiety?
At times, each of us feels nervous, shy, apprehensive, edgy, or even panicked. On their own, these feelings don’t add up to an anxiety disorder. In those cases, anxiety
- doesn’t pass quickly or perhaps ever go away
- gets worse over time
- interferes with daily functions and activities
- negatively impacts health, career, school work, and relationships
Anxiety disorders, on the other hand, come in several forms. The most common forms are generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. Common signs and symptoms of these three conditions include:
- Fatigue, loss of concentration, irritability
- Fear of new places, large groups, and being judged
- Panic attacks
- Reliving and re-experiencing painful or traumatic events
- Shaky voice, over-sweating, trembling, and racing heart
- Muscle tension
- Sleep disturbances
- Relentless and uncontrollable worry
As you can see, an anxiety disorder can dramatically shift your quality of life and impact everyone around you.
Common Causes of Anxiety
Even though at least one in eight Americans struggles with anxiety disorders, the causes are not always easy to isolate. There can be genetic and brain chemistry factors at play but most often, it seems the causes are environmental, e.g.
- Daily stress
- Substance abuse
- Caffeine and other stimulants
- Side effects of medications
- Underlying medical conditions
- Troubling or traumatic events pertaining to, say, health, finances, or relationships
Over the past decade, new factors have been added to this list. All of them grow from changes in the technology we use and how we communicate.
Modern Causes of Anxiety
We live today in a world of shares, likes, and tweets. In our pockets, we each carry a miniature supercomputer with powers far beyond the imagination of recent generations. Of course, this can mean many good and exciting things. It can also, directly and indirectly, contribute to a rise in anxiety disorders. For example:
We get a delicious hit of dopamine with each like or comment or share or emoji reaction. Sometimes, the longer we agonizingly wait for engagement, the more amazing we feel when it arrives.
Lack of Social Skills
Humans evolved to communicate face-to-face. It’s how we learn vocal inflections, body language, facial gestures, and other communication nuances. Text, DMs, etc. all have value in their own way but they can never replace a real conversation.
Unhealthy Competition and Comparisons
Everyone is doing better than you. They are richer, happier, sexier, more fit, funnier, and more in the know. Even if we know this to false, we feel jealous as we scroll through the online lives of others.
Lack of Physical Activity
Humans also evolved to move. This runs counter to the sedentary hours we spend gazing at our smartphones and laptops.
Have you pledged to take a social media break only to fail within hours? Studies now find that social media works in similar neurological ways as other forms of addiction.
Relief is Possible and Help is Available
Anxiety can feel permanent and insurmountable. Yet, your anxiety is treatable, no matter how intense it feels. Regardless of its underlying causes. Recognizing this reality is a powerful step.
This comforting epiphany is best followed by therapy. Working with a skilled counselor is a safe space in which fears, doubts, and concerns can be aired out and examined. Al in all, no matter what concerns you now, your weekly sessions will be geared towards educating you, empowering you, and healing you for more resilient responses whatever worries come your way.
by CounselingWise on August 14, 2018