My Students’ Blog

Anxiety Management

By Sage Pereira

Many people struggle with stressful situations and decisions daily. The stress quickly turns into stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. The feeling these hormones give off is typically anxiety. Anxiety is a slippery slope into either a panic attack or a full blown sad fest. Managing these feelings is part of the process of growing up. Adults can still feel stressed or anxious, but typically their life experiences help them manage their anxieties and stresses.

You’ve likely experienced anxiety yourself. If you’re feeling irritable for no reason, being overly alert, or losing sleep over thinking too much, you’ve likely experienced some anxiety. Anxiety also shows itself physically.  Chest pains, erratic heartbeat, and sweating are all physical symptoms of anxiety, although the feelings do vary from person to person.

When under these feelings of stress and, anxiety decisions can be very difficult. Decisions you make while talking to people might affect your relationships with friends and family. If you feel stressed out, you might use a more rude tone in your voice even when you didn’t mean to. Research was conducted in the University of Gdańsk, Poland by Longina Strumska-Cylwik which tackled the effectiveness of communication under stress. The research found stress to have a “significant influence on the image and quality of interpersonal communication…” People cope with stress in different ways depending on where they are, with whom they are speaking with, or their current mood.

Narrowing down what gives you anxiety is a great way to start coping with the symptoms. Many people who experience anxiety attacks often fear the feeling of panicking. You can see how annoying this might be for someone who overthinks things. Adam Radomsky, a Director and Professor at Concordia University says  “panic disorder is often caused by a catastrophic misinterpretation of what your body is doing.” Which essentially means your brain is being irrational about what panicking is. Connections within your brain have told your body to have the same reaction to being surprised by a red light as you would seeing a 600 lb tiger in front of you. It is up to you to control how far your brain takes you into panic.

Controlling initial reactions is a never-ending road which every human takes. When you wake up in the morning what is your first reaction to waking up? If you’re anything like me it’s definitely not a positive feeling. What’s crazy is that there are actually people who enjoy waking up in the morning. The dedication and work they have put into trying to make themselves happier comes back to them in positive ways. One school of thinking which has helped me tremendously with my personal issues is a “The Glass Can Be Refilled” style of thinking. In this style of thinking you remind yourself of your natural resilience. Resilience is the ability to overcome and adapt to painful situations. The basis of a “The Glass Can Be Refilled” style of thinking is “even if you think you’ve hit rock bottom, you’ve reached the limit of your possibilities and nothing makes sense to you, you remember that there is always some hope. Simply because life is change.” Thinking about this and truly believing it will push you past almost any horrible bind your in.

A common thing which clouds the minds of most people is the concept of death, and understandably so. Death is the end of one’s life, and to many that may seem like a horrifying thing; however, there is a beauty behind it. Death is what makes us human. The human experience is a completely unique and rare thing. To be able to say you have experienced life at all is truly a prospect in itself. How can mountains or nebulas in space hold any beauty if humans are not around to behold them? As humans we know a pretty good amount about the world we live in and have come to figure out many great questions that have been stumping philosophers and scientists for hundreds of years, but one thing we know almost nothing about is death. The crazy thing about death is that it has been around since anything could live, yet we know nothing of what happens to a conscience after it’s mortal body has been snuffed out. The only thing we can do is make guesses as to what happens.

Most religions hold a heavy emphasis on what happens to you after death. “Christians believe death is the end of one’s life on Earth. If that life was lived by the way of God, then the soul will go to heaven… Hindus believe in the transmission of souls, or reincarnation. They think individuals pass through cycles of birth and death, meaning that one soul may return many times in human, animal or other various living forms.” Both of these religions are believed by insanely massive chunks of the world’s population. According to a 2011 Pew Research Center survey, there were 2.18 billion Christians around the world in 2010. Nobody can verify if either of these religions hold any truth as to what happens to you after death. So why worry about death when you could be enjoying your shot at life?

Anxiety is a funky thing, and learning to manage it is groovy. You are the only one who can help yourself to control you. At the end of the day, you make every decision you follow through with. If you want to go ape mode and run around in the street with no clothes, you can. If you want to stop worrying about the somehow beautiful and horrifying concept of death, you can. Find what makes you comfortable and happy, then do that.

Links to Sources:

Decision Making and Internal Conflict

 The Important Thing Is That the Glass Can Be Refilled

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