We live in anxious times. Will Iran get the bomb? Will we be laid off? How will our kids do on NJASK? Will we get a second date? If we are adults, anxiety can also stem from events long past, for example emotional abuse at home or bullying at school. Anxiety is marked by that pit in our stomachs, trembling, sweating, and a general feeling of dread. Our blood pressure and heart rate increases, and our digestion slows. It’s difficult to think about anything other than whatever is making us anxious. It may be useful to distinguish between anxiety and fear. Fear is a response to an immediate threat, while anxiety is a more generalized and amorphous feeling of apprehension. This is why the root causes of anxiety can be more elusive and can necessitate a bit of detective work to figure out. For example, anxiety can be triggered by anger or even grief that remains unacknowledged. Losses or betrayals in the past can render us anxious about relationships in the present. If we struggled with our schoolwork, we can doubt ourselves and become anxious when faced with a new task at work. The good news is that once we identify the causes of our anxiety, we are well on the way to finding ways to manage it. Support, consultation, exercise, and relationship or lifestyle changes are a good place to start.
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