In this disease-focused society, diagnoses are given out like chocolate on Halloween night. But what if we looked at the paradigm a bit differently? What if we saw anxiety as a messenger…as a friend? What if anxious feelings were really just our body and mind talking to us, trying to get us to listen, urging us to make a little or a big change? Anxious feelings like shallow, rapid breathing, dry mouth, and/or a racing heartbeat may be signs urging us to do something. Here are a few things that anxiety might be trying to tell you…
1. Anxiety is a warning sign. When you are walking at night and you get that strange, nagging feeling that something isn’t right, anxiety is your friend. It’s alerting you to the potential for danger.
2. Anxiety is a cue to help us prepare. When you have a big meeting, are preparing for a big trip, or have a big job interview, anxiety is your friend. The anxious feelings urge you to practice your presentation, check to make sure you packed your toothbrush, and draft replies to potential interview questions.
3. Anxiety is a call to action. If you have had a nagging pain in your stomach or a headache that never really goes away, anxiety is your friend. The anxious feelings move you to action, to make you go see the doctor to take care of your health.
4. Anxiety is a motivator. When you have a mound of laundry to do or when the lawn needs to be cut and the garage needs to be cleaned out, anxiety is your friend. Anxiety motivates you to do those chores and to get your life in order.
In these instances, anxiety is adaptive. When anxiety interferes with daily life functioning, then it’s a different story. Then you can take steps to heal the anxiety and turn down its volume to the adaptive range again. Stay tuned for natural strategies to heal anxiety when it moves from adaptive to interfering.