Which comes first, anxiety or fear?

The answer doesn’t matter since each inhabits the other. What does matter, however, is their intensity. Many worries aren’t worth the energy of a twitch. Others need Bubble Wrap-plus to keep them from shattering into inner chaos. Fear is like that: It can annoy like a pestering mosquito or, in the extreme, it can paralyze.

But fear and anxiety can be positive forces as well. Everyone needs early warning signals about encroaching problems.

Anyone who is fearless is vulnerable. Healthy anxiety can help prevent larger problems that can   shatter one’s brightest moments. Not that worry is always wrong but too often it can be misplaced energy. Worry is fear talking; it needs to be listened to. But it also needs to be dealt with early on before it becomes larger than it should be.

A few ways of coping, even in the worst of times, are:

First, recognize when anxiety is unhealthy or needless and  ask for help. Put words to your anxieties and fears;  let someone know what’s troubling you – a close friend who is a good listener, or a professional counselor or therapist. Voicing one’s feelings can be the beginning of taking control.

Second, keep a journal – another way of putting feelings into words, pushing darkness into the light of reality and dealing with it. Talking to oneself can help identify problems and determine how to deal with them. That’s what journaling can do.

Third, name, share and be grateful for the best parts of one’s life. Anxiety feeds on negativity, relishing darkness and worst case scenarios. Look for the positives without becoming a Pollyanna and appreciate them for the gifts they are.

Finally, there is humor – perhaps the most difficult piece for worriers to find in their darkness.

Anxiety is no laughing matter, its pain real and persistent. But humor about self and life’s ironies can offer insight if not relief to worriers like the friend who said, “Anxiety and worry are the price you pay for nothing happening,” echoing a similar insight: “Who says worry don’t work? Hey, everything I worry about never happens.”

Anxiety’s antidote is in one’s mind. One can usually if not easily take a few steps beyond common sense to deal with most anxieties. What is important is the quality of one’s life. Fear and anxiety can seriously damage  that. Good maintenance of that quality requires conscious and consistent care taking.

Every life deserves that.

 

 

 

Coping With Anxiety

by Charles Wilkinson  

Which comes first, anxiety or fear?

The answer doesn’t matter since each inhabits the other. What does matter, however, is their intensity. Many worries aren’t worth the energy of a twitch. Others need Bubble Wrap-plus to keep them from shattering into inner chaos. Fear is like that: It can annoy like a pestering mosquito or, in the extreme, it can paralyze.

But fear and anxiety can be positive forces as well. Everyone needs early warning signals about encroaching problems.

Anyone who is fearless is vulnerable. Healthy anxiety can help prevent larger problems that can   shatter one’s brightest moments. Not that worry is always wrong but too often it can be misplaced energy. Worry is fear talking; it needs to be listened to. But it also needs to be dealt with early on before it becomes larger than it should be.

A few ways of coping, even in the worst of times, are:

First, recognize when anxiety is unhealthy or needless and  ask for help. Put words to your anxieties and fears;  let someone know what’s troubling you – a close friend who is a good listener, or a professional counselor or therapist. Voicing one’s feelings can be the beginning of taking control.

Second, keep a journal – another way of putting feelings into words, pushing darkness into the light of reality and dealing with it. Talking to oneself can help identify problems and determine how to deal with them. That’s what journaling can do.

Third, name, share and be grateful for the best parts of one’s life. Anxiety feeds on negativity, relishing darkness and worst case scenarios. Look for the positives without becoming a Pollyanna and appreciate them for the gifts they are.

Finally, there is humor – perhaps the most difficult piece for worriers to find in their darkness.

Anxiety is no laughing matter, its pain real and persistent. But humor about self and life’s ironies can offer insight if not relief to worriers like the friend who said, “Anxiety and worry are the price you pay for nothing happening,” echoing a similar insight: “Who says worry don’t work? Hey, everything I worry about never happens.”

Anxiety’s antidote is in one’s mind. One can usually if not easily take a few steps beyond common sense to deal with most anxieties. What is important is the quality of one’s life. Fear and anxiety can seriously damage  that. Good maintenance of that quality requires conscious and consistent care taking.

Every life deserves that.