by Laura Geftman, LCSW
Traffic, tests, your mom- so many different things can cause you to experience anxiety. It’s important to know and understand whether what your mother said or the genes she passed onto you contributed to your feeling of anxiety. Recognizing your anxiety triggers can help you know how to deal with them.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is an important basic survival function we all use as a coping skill. It’s your body’s natural response to stress. Everyone experiences anxiety at some point of their lives. It’s also a very normal response to stressful life events. It’s like an alarm system that get activated when we feel danger or threat.
A natural human reaction, anxiety is reflected in our bodies and minds. We feel a physical sensation when our bodies react to danger like:
- faster heartbeat
- panting or breathing faster
- tense muscles
- sweaty palms
- queasy stomach
- trembling hands or legs
These reactions are caused by a rush of adrenaline and other chemicals that prepare the body to deal with threats. Bodily changes can be mild to extreme. Ordinary anxiety comes and goes. It doesn’t interfere with your everyday life.
What causes anxiety?
Honestly experts don’t exactly know the causes of anxiety disorders. There are various factors that seem to contribute to the likelihood of developing an anxiety disorder, but not one thing conclusively is the cause. Here are the contributing factors:
•Irritable Bowel syndrome
•Being born female
It’s best to review any of this possible contributing factors with a mental health professional. Together you can determine what maybe effecting your level of anxiety, and how best to treat it.
When is anxiety considered disordered
Anxiety can interfere with us doing our best. When anxiety is with you all the time, too much of it can cause people to feel overwhelmed, tongue-tied, or incapable. It may prevent you from taking an elevator, crossing a street or even leaving your home.
Anxiety disorders involve too much anxiety causing people to feel preoccupied, distracted, tense, and always on alert. When considering your experience of anxiety, it’s important to know and recognize when too much anxiety is too much. That is, when anxiety becomes disordered and should be evaluated by a mental health professional for mental health support.
Seeing a mental health professional
If you become concerned about your level of anxiety, it’s best to seek the support of a mental health professional- such as a social worker, counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist. When you see someone professionally trained in mental health care, they can help you understand the difficulties you’re experiencing.
Sure just the thought of seeking mental healthcare can create more anxiety. You may think they will make you talk about your past. Or that you won’t connect with them to feel comfortable to talk about anything. Maybe you’re afraid to cry in front of anyone let alone a stranger. Worse- you think they’ll put you in a hospital, rehab or institution.
Please know I don’t bring this up to elicit fear but to say- those who work in the mental health field are trained to work with you at your own pace. You don’t have to talk about anything you don’t want to. Ever. The idea is to create a safe space for you to feel comfortable to connect with someone who can help you understand your symptoms and learn to manage them. Therapist are legally bound to uphold privacy and confidentiality. That means they can only repeat what you’ve said to them if they are concerned about your safety or the safety of others. Anything else you tell a therapist, they cannot repeat to anyone else without your consent. You literally have to sign paperwork stating they can talk to others about what you’ve shared with them.
Any questions? Concerns? Comment below and let us know!
About Laura Geftman, LCSW
Laura Geftman, LCSW is the Founder of The Calm, Cool & Collected and a practicing therapist. Beyond all things cannabis and mental health, Laura is passionate about developing greater understanding for kindness and acceptance. In her free time, Laura can be found on her yoga mat, in a kayak or singing karaoke.