Most people cling to normalcy and fear change. They experience anxiety with change and the unknown. Routines give you feelings of security and safety, control over your life, and confidence in who you are. It’s scary and anxiety provoking when change happens, and your life is turned upside down.
Anxiety is a natural response to potential changes and anxiety puts your body into a sensitive state of consciousness. Anxious feelings often involve a sense of apprehension, dread or fear emotions and are internal responses. It’s okay to feel anxious about a sudden change, but when anxiety disorder stays with you for months, and there is no reason to be anxious, your brain becomes actively involved.
Anxiety is a very pervasive mental health issue and it has dozens of causes. Often it is difficult to determine what the cause of your anxiety might be. Change is a big stimulator and causes anxiety and fear. It’s okay to be anxious for short periods of time – anxiety makes you think. However, being abnormally anxious for long periods of time may cause the physical effects of decreased energy, insomnia, a weakened immune system, digestive issues, headaches, plus tooth and jaw aches.
What is Fear?
Fear is triggered by a perceived threat. It is a survival technique that signals your body to respond to danger with a flight or fight response. A healthy fear keeps you safe. However, when your experience constant fear you can become disabled and unable to function normally.
Fear increases the flow of hormones to the amygdala. Where is the amygdala in the brain? The amygdala is a small almond-shaped mass located deep in the temporal lobes of the brain. Your amygdala is involved in the emotions and motivations related to survival. The amygdala processes fear, anger, anxiety, and pleasure. It determines what memories – like what causes you fear – are stored in the hippocampus portion of the brain.
The National Institute of Mental Health excellently explains what happens in the amygdala and hippocampus brain due to fear and anxiety.
“Several parts of the brain are critical actors in the production of fear and anxiety …scientists have discovered that the amygdala and the hippocampus (in the brain) play significant roles in most anxiety disorders.
The amygdala is an almond-shaped structure deep in the brain that is believed to be a communications hub between the parts of the brain that process incoming sensory signals and the parts that interpret these signals. It can alert the rest of the brain that a threat is present and trigger a fear or anxiety response.
The emotional memories stored in the central part of the amygdala may play a role in anxiety disorders involving very distinct fears, such as fears of dogs, spiders, or flying. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that encodes threatening events into memories” (Mercola, 2013).
Almost 40 million adults in the U.S. have an anxiety disorder. They feel fear and anxiety when there is nothing fearful or anxious happening. Unnecessary emotional pain and stress develop, and you begin to feel physically sick. There are ways you can calm down the hippocampus in the brain and soothe the amygdala.
Methods to Relieving your Fearful and Anxious Feelings
Several things can help you when anxiety takes over. One excellent support involves getting fear and anxiety counseling in Utah. Counseling can help you feel right about change. Therapy teaches you to let go of the excessive worry that change often promotes. Counseling can teach you to manage your thoughts with care and compassion for yourself.
Other practices that can benefit if you are experiencing fear and anxiety can be:
- Organizing your daily tasks including your thoughts. Once you are organized in thought and physically, you will feel more like taking charge of what the change will do to your normal life. You will know where everything is and how you can immediately get in touch with the physical and emotional things you need.
- If you know change is coming, research. Part of the fear is not knowing what’s going to happen. Look up the possibilities of change. If you are moving, research your new home area and the opportunities available for you. Embrace fear when you are at a new job. Disabling fear and anxiety can also be caused by something as simple as going to the dentist. Discuss your fears with your doctor. Dentists are very experienced in relieving anxiety.
- Fear and anxiety counseling in Utah can help you learn to involve the change. Jump right in and get occupied instead of retreating from change. Once you realize that you can’t turn change around, it is empowering to hold the change and take advantage of what will happen.
- You may need to take a break from your anxiety-causing activities. If you are moving and packing, step away from your labors and do something enjoyable. Take a walk, read a book, go to a movie and keep breathing. When you feel better, go back to your packing or project. You will feel less anxious.
- When going through changes and anxiety seems to take over your life, get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is crucial to physical and mental health, and if your change is unknown, rest can help you problem solve. Fear and anxiety counseling in Utah can give you the tools that will help you manage your sleep.
- Fear and anxiety of change seem to calm down when you make change a new part of your life. Find a new way to work with the changes; make the change a routine. Keep working at it until change becomes the new normal.
- Breaks from routine are as crucial as embracing the change. Taking a break is almost like running away, but not permanent. Take small breaks; almost like a time out from packing if you are moving or working if you are trying out new employment.
- Don’t suffer in silence. If you are feeling anxious and nothing around you is triggering that anxiety, talk with friends, family, and a counselor. Let someone know you are feeling anxious. Keeping your feelings inside seems noble, but it’s harmful to your health.
- Diet also plays an essential part in keeping your body from suffering the effects of anxiety. Look into nourishing your gut flora and regularly eat foods that contain beneficial bacteria. Research has shown that including a high-quality source of animal-based omega-3 fats will help in your emotional wellbeing. One clinical study showed a dramatic 20 percent reduction in anxiety among college students who took omega-3 supplements.
- Exercise can help in controlling anxiety. Exercise creates new neurons and releases the calming neurotransmitter GABA. Exercise increases levels of brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine that calm down stress. Move your body and get your heart rate up. It’s incredible how good you will feel.
- You can follow non-drug options like exercise and diet. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) that is part of therapies used by fear and anxiety counseling in Utah.
Break down anxiety by knowing what it is. Anxiety is an unpleasant or vague sense of apprehension. It is a response to an unknown threat. Take change. Your anxious sensations are caused by the possibility that change will be bad and cause you pain and suffering. Anxiety comes from your mind’s feelings of the possibilities that could arise.
Fear is a response to a known threat. For example, if your changes cause you to feel lonely and depressed then your emotions are real. You become anxious. Fear brings on anxiety and your anxieties can bring on real fears. Ease your mind and your emotions by talking with a fear and anxiety counselor in Utah. Become someone who can cope with change.