The Most Chronic Disease Called Anxiety (Part II)

April 20, 2021

We elaborated the five causes of anxiety disorder in our previous explication on the same subject. Among these, excepting trauma, all the remaining four are under your control.

In the case of traumatic experiences you need external help of a doctor or a trained counsellor. With their help you will certainly be able to cope with and then overcome your anxiety.

The other four causes explained above can be overcome if you spend time for yourself in self - awareness. Make a habit of evaluating your life whenever you find time to relax and go deeper into yourself. Close your eyes, imagine a mental screen in front of your mind and just go back into the past; recollect, remember and bring on the screen on all your actions, all your reactions, all your responses, and all your deeds. This is a method of reliving your past. You can even relive your feelings and emotions by displaying them on the mental screen. Let go, that is, allow all data to depart from your mind. It means they arrive on the mental screen and then depart. You just observe attentively the process. This will gradually eliminate the data stored up in the unconscious mind and your life becomes transparent to you. This will unburden your mind and lessen all your anxieties.

What is anxiety disorder?

We have already explained what we mean by normal anxiety. The term “disorder” means crossing the limits. When we go to the Laboratory for health check up, we are given a sheet of paper with the results. One column says the normal limits and another column the actual readings. In the case of diabetics the lower limit is 60 and higher is 110. There should be always sugar in the body, but within the limits, that is, between 60 and 110. If we cross the limits, there will be either low or high sugar, which is named as a disease, called ‘diabetics’. Similarly we can say anxiety should be there in the mind, but within the limits. If the limits cross, there will be ‘disorder’ in the mind, which we call mental illness. The anxiety within the limits can be considered as a common reaction to life events. A student is preparing for an exam, and as the day comes closer, there will be some anxiety. This is a sort of preoccupation that makes him work hard, concentrate better and prepare well for the coming event. The anxiety that accompanies it said to be normal. Once the event is over, he should be able to relax and pay attention to other aspects of life without any disturbance. After the exam he should be able to relax, laugh, meet friends and be active in other activities like games, sports, reading novels and the like.

But sometimes even after the event, the anxiety lingers; thus after the exam he becomes anxious about the results, when he gets the results he becomes anxious regarding his parent’s reaction to the results, then he becomes anxious and preoccupied how to prepare for the next exam so on and so forth. All the time anxiety does not leave him. It means anxiety is creating disorder in his life. It is time for him to see a Counsellor.

Symptoms of anxiety disorder

Every disease is diagnosed through its symptoms, which are external manifestations. Thus when you cough often, it could be a symptom of some disease like TB or pneumonia. Anxiety has many symptoms, since anxiety is a mental illness, the physician or a medical practitioner may not be able to diagnose the disease well and treat you. You need to go to a Clinical Psychologist or Psychiatrist to get a correct diagnosis and proper treatment, so that you are healed permanently.

Which are the symptoms of anxiety disorder? For example, if you get good sleep every day, your mental health is good. If you suffer from insomnia or sleeplessness on a regular basis, it means you have some problem with your mental health. It could be anxiety. So go to a Psychiatrist or Clinical Psychologist and get proper treatment and get well once and for all.

Decreasing appetite could also be another sign of anxiety disorder. You generally eat well, but nowadays you experience intense dislike for food, even for the food which all at home are relishing. You do not know why you are not feeling hungry. You observe your capacity to get hungry is decreasing. As a result you lack energy, feel lifeless and get tired soon. These are clear external signs of anxiety. You do well to consult a counsellor.

For many, regular ‘headaches’ can be a clear sign of anxiety. The headaches could also be an external sign of many other physical diseases. You should reflect, review and evaluate your life as we explained above. You should carefully observe what disturbs your life. Review all the events which occurred in the past few days or weeks. What was so disappointing or saddening or shocking in your life? From that you will be able to judge for yourself and study your mind. The headache could be the effect of something that happened to you recently. Then go to a Counsellor and explain the problem. Similarly the abdominal ache could be another symptom of anxiety, but pain in the stomach could also be sheerly due to physical reasons. You need to discern the cause of the pain by evaluating and reviewing your life as above.

Improving mental health

Let us not enter into the area of treatment of anxiety disorder as it is too complex and varies from person to person. Your duty is to go to a Counsellor or Psychiatrist and consult him and he will diagnose and start the treatment. But you can always do something to improve your mental health. Let me specify two areas. The first area is your emotional life, where you can always maintain balance. As you grow, you become mature, and as you mature, you need to learn to handle your emotions and bring them under the control of reason. If you lose control over your emotions and feelings at any time, you need to sit down and review your life. But this can be done only when you cool down from your emotions and reach a state of calmness and peace. Just relive the event before the mental screen. Slowly your mind will learn how to handle your emotions.

Secondly, you need to maintain balance between your responsibilities, preoccupations, work-load and your mental life. Mind can be burdened for some time but be careful to provide sufficient relaxation after the hectic engagements. Thus after hectic work in the office, go for a walk. After heavy studies do some exercises, meet friends, laugh and joke with your family members.

Skills to improve mental health

Now let us pause for a while and do one exercise. Whenever you experience 'anxiety', one thing you can do is to start counting one to ten. It can provide you immediate relief from anxiety. It should be done in a particular style. Sit in a comfortable place with a relaxing posture. Just whisper slowly with short pauses: one, two ….. ten. Do this when you are actually in an anxious state of mind and experience for yourself the difference.

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By Sr Dr Judy Lewis
Sr Dr Judy Lewis UFS is a clinical psychologist and counsellor. She can be contacted on 9535309187.
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Comment on this article

  • Sr. Jenifer Almeida, Mumbai

    Sat, Jun 12 2021

    Very informative article dear Sr.

  • Anitha, Mumbai

    Thu, Apr 29 2021

    Congratulations dear sister, well done artical.

  • Roney, Udupi

    Tue, Apr 27 2021

    Very effective and good article.

  • Alwyn, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Fri, Apr 23 2021

    Very informative and useful article

  • Sr Winnie, Belthangady

    Thu, Apr 22 2021

    Very good article Sr Judy. You have enlightened regarding mental health. Very much helpful

  • Elvita, Konaje

    Thu, Apr 22 2021

    nice article sr.

  • Rudy, Udupi

    Wed, Apr 21 2021

    Thank you Rev Sr for useful article

  • Lancy, Bahrain

    Wed, Apr 21 2021

    Very nice article and helpful

  • Joyce, Bangalore

    Wed, Apr 21 2021

    Very useful article, Sr. Need of the hour... Please continue the good work. God Bless.

  • Margaret, Dubai

    Wed, Apr 21 2021

    Very good article and helpful

  • Fr Vincent D Souza, Capuchin, Mogarnad

    Wed, Apr 21 2021

    Dear Sr Dr Judy, thanks for enlightening us through this article on Anxiety. The above article is need of the hour as we are facing different types of anxiety due to the present Pandemic. Thanks for highlighting the skills to overcome anxiety.

  • shanthi, UK.

    Wed, Apr 21 2021

    Anxiety is psychological illness and innumerable people suffer from its effects. When a person cannot find where their anxiety comes from, therapy and counseling often helps people to learn to cope with it.

  • Asha Monteiro, Ukkinadka, Kasaragod

    Tue, Apr 20 2021

    Sr. Judy thank you for your concern towards the improvement of mental health. Very good article.

  • Jason, Thottam

    Tue, Apr 20 2021

    Thank you Sr. Judy for inspiring with this beautiful article,

  • Latha, Bangalore

    Tue, Apr 20 2021

    Dear sister very excellent to read II part of the article. All must read .

  • Veena, Mangalore/Bangalore

    Tue, Apr 20 2021

    Very informative article dear sister.

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