7 Mental Strategies for Dealing with Anxiety
When facing uncertain, uncontrollable thing, how to alleviate huge pressure and anxiety feeling?
It's been a long time since I've seen someone with a low anxiety level in my life. Maybe because of this age, maybe because of this age, I don't know why, everyone seems to be out of breath. Yet while "depression" and "procrastination" have become almost buzzwords, "anxiety" hasn't been discussed much, for reasons we'll talk about later.
Anxiety is a very special kind of emotion -- it is one that must be felt. In other words, you may be depressed and you don't know what your negative emotion is, but as long as you are anxious, you will recognize it and make a clear distinction between it and pain, sadness, depression, etc. Anxiety, in this sense, is the same as pain. You may not know why you're anxious, but you certainly feel it.
Anxiety and depression are divided in one sentence: anxiety is the fear of future danger, while depression is the unpleasantness of past tragedies.
So I can ask you this:
Do you feel anxious? Where does your anxiety come from? Do you know what your anxiety is trying to tell you? What effect does anxiety this kind of affection have?
This article will answer these questions and tell you what anxiety is, based on Freud's theory of anxiety in his 1926 book Inhibition, Symptoms and Anxiety. Since psychologists don't speak human language, let's go over "Id," "Ego," and "Superego."
Freud believed that the human mind is divided into three levels. At the bottom are the "id", desires and fears that you are not aware of (but still subconsciously). The outermost layer is the superego, the morality and conscience taught by our parents and society; And the ego is the most conscious, the executor that deals with reality, between the id and the superego.
Id: Desires and fears.
Ego: reality enforcer.
Superego: moral sense.
There are many kinds of anxiety. But all anxiety has a common source of conflict, either within ourselves or between ourselves and the outside world. At the same time, all kinds of anxiety also have a common function, is to predict danger, to protect themselves. But sometimes the danger is internal, sometimes it's real, sometimes it's real, sometimes it's remembered and imagined. So anxiety and fear are closely related.
1. Reality anxiety
The conflict between self and reality
We know that in our minds only the self is directly connected with the external world. Consciousness, feelings, perceptions, memories, emotions, thoughts, and so on, are the work of the self. When we sense that there might be some danger in the outside world, the ego sends out a signal to alert the mind and protect itself. That signal is anxiety.
Fear of something in the outside world, like an elevator or a car out of control, is realistic anxiety. Anxiety such as not finishing homework and affecting grades is also realistic anxiety.
Pure reality anxiety is a relatively healthy kind of anxiety. Evolutionarily speaking, the human experience of reproduction has led to the ability to develop anxiety about potential dangers, which can improve survival. For us, controlling anxiety to a certain extent is the best way to mobilize our action. Studies have shown that people who experience a certain level of anxiety are more productive and perform better than people who don't feel anxious at all.
2. Moral anxiety
Source: Conflict between ego and superego
The superego is not born with one. Initially, parents were the moral arbiters of their children. Parents discipline their children, and when they break records, they punish them. And then we internalize that morality, and we internalize that fear of punishment.
The superego is responsible for creating two emotions, guilt and shame. These are two extremely negative emotions, and in fact, on the positive and negative scale of emotions, shame is the worst feeling of all. These two emotions exist as a means of self-punishment. When the ego has thoughts that offend our moral conscience, the superego punishes us with guilt and shame.
Because of the fear of possible punishment, whenever we first have a thought that might offend morality, the ego immediately gives a signal to mobilize defense and protection against the coming punishment. That signal is anxiety.
This type of anxiety is also common. But if a person's moral code is inherently problematic, being too strict or biased (such as improperly perceiving one's premarital sex as an act of lewd shame) can lead to unnecessary and excessive self-punishment that can harm the person.
3. Nervous anxiety
Source: Conflict between ego and id
Neurotic anxiety is the most tricky of the three and is in some way based on real anxiety. When you feel some instinct (located in the book I) brings the risk of reality, or because the desires and fears, in this I) is too strong, once released will make the function of unbearable, is likely to be damage, self will collapse, in order to avoid this situation, the self have a warning signals or anxiety.
The complexity and mystery is that because these instincts, desires and fears are in the id, that is, they are still in your subconscious, you are completely unaware that you have them. You just feel inexplicable, unexplained, nagging anxiety, but you don't know what it is you're worrying about.
In fact, the conflict between ego and id is very common. In fact, every child is bound to experience such conflict in their development experience. This conflict is not necessarily pathological, but it can be associated with some mental illnesses.
It is important to note that anxiety itself is not the root cause of illness. Many times it is the struggle to get rid of this anxiety that leads to illness. Obsessive-compulsive disorder, for example, uses compulsive behaviors to reduce anxiety; Personality disorders are often in the abnormal growth process, choose to develop a way to adapt to the abnormal environment to the greatest extent, continuous relief of anxiety. So it's not just anxiety disorders as we might think. Obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias, personality disorders are all related to anxiety.
As the saying goes, "Anxiety is a universal currency that can be exchanged for all emotions." That is, any emotion you don't identify (including positive ones) can be felt in the form of anxiety. Because anxiety is so deep, complex and uncertain, it hasn't been discussed much yet.
When you're struggling with a problem, anxiety can make it harder for you to make decisions, let alone actually do something about it. Anxiety can lead to overthinking everything, leading to a vicious cycle of "overthinking -- more anxiety."
How can we jump out of such a vicious circle? It's no use simply wanting to stop thinking, those thoughts will keep popping up, even more intensely.
There are, however, more effective techniques. Today we introduce seven psychological strategies derived from Mindfullness Based Stress Reduction and cognitive-behavioral Therapies that can effectively address anxiety.
(1) Cognitive Distancing & Cognitive Defusion
Try to see your anxious thoughts as "guesses" rather than "facts." When you're anxious, your mind is trying to protect you by trying to anticipate what might happen in the future to lessen the impact of what might happen to you. But just because it might happen in the future doesn't mean it will. Instead of dwelling on negative speculation, look for objective evidence. Make a table like this: How much/what is the factual evidence that negative outcomes will occur? Is there any other evidence that there are other possibilities, such as good outcomes? When you finish listing these two parts, you may find that you are worrying about only one of many possibilities, and there is no overwhelming evidence.
Don't allow yourself to be tied to your thoughts. Think of your thoughts as a lot of data passing through your brain, and you have the power to believe some of them and not others, rather than accept them all. We should choose to believe what we believe.
(2) Staying in the Present & Focusing on Direct Experience
Your brain sometimes makes up stories about who you are, whether you're safe, whether you're worthy of love, and so on. But not all of these stories are true. Sometimes our brains become biased because of negative experiences from the past.
Is your mind constantly replaying the past? Just because some bad experiences happened doesn't mean they have to happen again. Ask yourself if your coping skills, your knowledge base, and the situation itself have changed since last time. You're not who you used to be. As an adult, you have more choices than you did in adolescence or childhood, you are more able to choose who you associate with, and you are more able to recognize and voluntarily leave a bad situation.
The big question is: What is your experience at this moment? Is it really happening? Or is it just something that might happen? Our brains, which have become biased because of past experiences, may process these two situations as one, and it gives you very bad feelings, and what we need to do is to be as clear as possible that these two things are not the same thing.
3. Label your ideas
Label your idea categories rather than focusing directly on the content of the idea. Watch your thoughts, and when you notice when you start to judge (for example, when you start to judge how good or bad a situation is), don't focus too much on the content of the thought, but label it and tell yourself, "I'm judging." If you notice yourself worrying (for example, when you start to worry that you will fail, or experience a loss), label it "I worry." If you start criticizing yourself, label it "criticism." This process helps you detfrom the content of your thoughts and avoid being trapped by the content, while becoming more aware of the process of what I am doing and why I am thinking these thoughts. So you might be able to see if there's another way to look at the situation (a more objective and peaceful way).
(4) Think bigger and Broadening the View
Are you taking a narrow view of your situation? Do you only see the negative aspects instead of seeing the whole picture? Anxiety can cause us to focus only on the immediate threat and not think about the bigger picture. Is this situation really as important as your anxiety is telling you? Five years from now, or even 10 years from now, will this matter to you?
Getting Up and Going first
If you keep focusing on the same thing you're doing over and over again and can't find a solution to it, you're setting yourself up for the vicious cycle described at the beginning of this article. So start doing other tasks first, like reading or cooking for the final if you can't write a paper.
Don't think of it as a waste of time trying to solve your problems. Often when you come back to face your problems, you will find yourself feeling differently.
Deciding Whether a Thought Is Helpful to You Is Deciding Whether a Thought Is Helpful to You.
In the first point, we talked about paying attention to whether our thoughts are true or not. However, not all true thoughts are useful to us. For example, if you are applying for a job that requires 1 in 10 applicants, you have a 1 in 10 chance of being accepted. It's a real thought, but it won't help you, and it may scare you to the point where you can't even submit your application.
Remember to focus on ideas that work for you.
(7) A little anxiety is good
Research shows that a certain amount of anxiety can make people perform better. This has to do with a psychological phenomenon called "unrealistic optimism". Most people have a tendency throughout their lives to ignore negative information in favor of feedback that satisfies us. We often irrationally ignore information that could be negative for us and happily accept information that is somehow good for us. A new, unpublished study (by Tali Sharot at University College London) suggests that this "unrealistic optimism" disappears when people are anxious. They become able to receive information objectively, leading to better decisions. In other words, the right level of anxiety can help you look at your situation objectively, and you'll be able to see the pros and cons, rather than just the good.
Finally, you may not know this: If you're constantly feeling anxious, it's a sign of high INTELLIGENCE. A new 2015 study found a correlation: People with high levels of anxiety performed better on IQ tests, particularly verbal intelligence. Do you think this study is accurate and reliable?
I want to end the day with a quote from Rainer Maria Rilke, a famous German poet:
"We have to give it our all and at the same time have no hope... Whatever we do, do it as if it were the most important thing in the world, but at the same time know that it doesn't matter."
This is probably the most fundamental way we can combat anxiety.