"What causes anxiety? What are the top ways to overcome it?"
The common causes of anxiety show up in these forms:
*Sweeping our emotions under the rug by ignoring them or suppressing them can lead to anxiety.
*Not expressing our wants and needs tends to make people anxious.
*Being overly pleasant when we really better express our anger and frustration leads to mounting anxiety. Believing we must always be a "good person", "good mommy" etc. will lead to emotional suppression and anxiety.
*Thinking in terms of worse case scenarios leads to anxiety. Asking ourselves the "what if" questions will spur worry.
*Allowing stress to build and overwhelm us turns on both anxiety and depression. Relaxing and cutting back on stress reduces the chances of various anxiety disorders showing up. See the Longevity Manuever and the Dive Reflex Maneuver and visit
the Emoclear Community Learn-ins on stress and stress reduction.
*Believing that experiencing certain negative emotions will lead to us "losing control".
*Some distorted beliefs and Personality Clusters like "Vulnerability" will help stimulate anxiety.
*Compulsive activities help us suppress overwhelm and leads to more anxiety.
*Conflict avoidance will make someone more prone to anxiety.
*Getting in the habit of avoiding places and people that we experience as anxiety provoking tends to make for more anxiety and overwhelm the next time we're in the same situation.
*Past traumas can leave us with anxiety about certain situations.
A number of keys help in overcoming anxiety:
*Go after those things you want in life even if you are fearful and anxious about them (unless they are truly life threatening). Get in the habit of facing and experiencing your fears and anxieties. This will naturally desensitize them. Fearing success or failure is silly. The worst that can happen usually is that you might learn something valuable if you don't succeed at first. Don't waste a moment downing yourself for failing to meet a goal right away.
*Avoided emotions work. Discussing our conflicts and feeling a full range of emotions will act against emotional suppression and make us less anxious, compulsive, panicky, worried, and the like. Utilize The Avoided Emotion Exercise for Anxiety & Panic.
*Exposure/desensitization. We expose ourselves to what makes us anxious and fearful and it desensitizes. Examples are: The Emotional Writing Process. The Emo Reviewer. The Emo Integrator. The Heartbeat Integrator. Emo Direct Exposure. Any strong arousal emotions, including anxiety and fear, die down when we keep exposing ourselves to them.
*Challenging and changing our distorted thoughts. Our distorted thoughts often create anxiety, fear, and worry. Examples: Tips on Distorted Thinking. Changing our internal lens will alter our emotional experiences.
*Defeat Low Frustration Tolerance a powerful block that keeps fear and anxiety going. Learn to stand overwhelm and painful levels of emotion with the I Stood It Exercise. Low Frustration Tolerance is believing stuff like: "I can't stand it--It's too much--it's boring--I can't take it--It's driving me out of my mind." It's much easier to stand and stay with the difficult when we don't believe this bs. See our learn-in on Low Frustration Tolerance.
*Developing your self-acceptance will make someone more resilient in facing fears like fears of success, failure, or self-diminution. See our self-acceptance learn-in.
*Using the Dive Reflex, where you hold an ice-bag to your face from your scalp line to your lips, stimulates the vagus nerve and turns off anxiety. The Longevity Maneuver, which also stimulates the vagus nerve, knocks down anxiety.
*Exercise helps in reducing anxiety
*Many readers can profit from reading: "Appendix One: Tips on Anxiety & Depression" in the book: Your Emotional Power.
Take care, Steve