University Life Café

The Bookshelf → Anxiety

Preview Points

  • Anxiety refers to a general state of unease and worry.
  • Anxiety may affect sleep, emotions, thinking, and behaviors.
  • Physiological symptoms of anxiety may be a racing heart or shortness of breath.
  • Excessive anxiety may become an anxiety disorder.
  • Types of anxieties may be evoked by various things—tests, strangers, and the awareness of mortality.

Contents

Anxiety is not a comfortable state‐of-being. The physical, mental, and emotional effects of anxiety may not only be uncomfortable on one end of the spectrum but it’s downright paralyzing for some. Some of these anxiety disorders may result in panic, phobias, or a generalized sense of anxiety.

Anxiety is usually triggered by threats that are perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable.

People who are creative and emotionally sensitive may be more prone to anxiety.

Some character traits are apparently more common for those who are anxious. These include four main ones: perfectionism, an excessive need for approval, a tendency to ignore physical and psychological signs of stress, and an excessive need for control (Bourne, 2000, p. 233).

To lessen the effects of perfectionism, Bourne suggests that people should not determine their self‐worth by achievements and accomplishments. He suggests that people should overcome perfectionistic thinking styles, which he describes as “should / must thinking,” “all‐or‐nothing thinking,” and overgeneralization (“I always…”). Small errors should not be magnified. People should focus on the positives. They should set realistic goals. They should enjoy the many pleasures in life. And instead of focusing on end results, they should enjoy the process.

To avoid focusing overly on others’ approval, people may balance feedback from others by considering that people’s attitudes may come from a variety of factors. People’s opinions may not be any accurate representation of a person’s true self. Criticism should be addressed objectively. People should not be controlled by others’ points‐of‐view.

To lower anxieties, people may pay more attention to signs of physical and psychological stress such as sleeplessness, muscle tension, and mood swings.

The excessive need for control may be addressed by learning to accept life as it comes, cultivating patience, trusting that most problems will eventually work out, and developing a spiritual approach to life (Bourne, 2000, pp. 241 – 246).

Concluding Points

  • Be aware of when you’re feeling stressed. Address those stresses and also the symptoms of
     stress.
  • Lower the effects of character traits (perfectionism, an excessive need for approval, a tendency to ignore signs of stress, and a need for control) that may lead to anxieties.

References

Bourne, E.J.(2000). The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook. 3rd Ed. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications. 233, and 241 ‐ 246.

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