Is Anxiety a Good Thing?
May is Mental Health Awareness month. According to The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), “anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the United States. Over 40 million adults in the U.S. (19.1%) have an anxiety disorder.”
Recently we did a Linkedin poll that showed 81% of people identify as “perfectionists” at least some of the time. A perfectionist is defined as a person who “refuses to accept any standard short of perfection.”
Why is this?
We exist in a culture where we are told prettier, skinnier and smarter is better. This in turn can create mental health challenges such as anxiety or depression when we set unrealistic expectations or devalue ourselves.
Is anxiety bad? Is depression? How about stress?
These are all physiological responses that are telling our bodies and minds something.
1. Anxiety– we are in a state of anxiousness when we are thinking about the future.
2. Depression– we are in a state of depression often when we are thinking about the past.
3. Stress– we are being faced with a challenge or threat that we need to handle.
All of these feelings are helpful in a way because they are trying to tell us something; So can’t we approach them with neutrality? Perhaps we don’t look at anxiety or depression or stress as bad, rather, look at them as alerts telling us:
Live more in the present. Instead of worrying about the past or the future, just be. Living in the moment and taking one step at a time can help alleviate these feelings of anxiousness or depression.
Something needs to change. Perhaps what these responses are telling us is that there is something in our life that isn’t working, so start to evaluate what is causing stress or anxiety in your life. Can you omit it? Or perhaps change the environment or expectations around this.
How can you start to reframe your thinking to look at anxiety as neutral (or even helpful) rather than “bad.” Try approaching it as a gentle reminder to focus more on the present moment and take one step at a time…
This month DAILY DOSE is running a program on “How to Overcome Perfectionism” as well as other challenges that help your mental health. For more information on mental health challenges for you or your company, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.