Discovering the Brighter Side to Anxiety and Stress
We hear a lot about stress and anxiety disorders and how debilitating they can be. But anxiety and our body’s response to stress is actually a survival technique that has been perfected over millions of years of evolution. Its main function is to get us into a fight/flight mode in potentially dangerous situations – albeit the “dangerous situation may have changed somewhat in modern times! On perceiving “danger”, the hormone adrenalin gets pumped into our system, getting us ready for action. Our heart rate increases, pumping more blood into the muscles. We feel excited or agitated, with butterflies in the stomach and often experience a heightened awareness of our surroundings and feelings.
So, are anxiety and stress good or bad?
It can be both, according to the latest view on the subject. Athletes feel anxiety before a big match, students feel it before an important test, and executives feel stressed before a critical interview or presentation. And more often than not, anxiety helps them perform better!
Let’s look at the brighter side of anxiety and stress and discover how it can actually be a good thing.
Increasing focus on the task at hand
The heightened awareness resulting from anxiety brings everything into sharp focus. While the endocrine system primes the mental and physical faculties required for the present task, it automatically shuts down unnecessary functions and extraneous concerns, freeing up the mind and body. The increased mental clarity helps scientists to make new discoveries; students writing exams may find hitherto unknown answers just popping into their minds!
Warning of adverse outcomes
When we are anxious, we visualize how we are going to perform a task, with emphasis on all kinds of negative outcomes. While it can be discouraging in some ways, being forewarned helps us avoid many pitfalls that have the potential of defeating our purpose.
Opening the door to possible alternatives
When you focus intently on a task and become mindful of how it can backfire on you, your imagination takes over, inventing new and better ways to achieve it. It is exactly on this context that the celebrated poet T.S. Eliot called anxiety “the handmaiden of creativity.” It is not rare for event managers to come up with better ideas as they come closer to the event.
Actors are known to be more inventive during the first staging of the play than they ever were during the rehearsals.
The greatest positive outcome of anxiety is enhancement of performance. Athletes break records on the track, clocking time that they were never able to achieve during practice. Haven’t we all felt anxiety making us do better at times? In fact, the lack of anxiety, otherwise called overconfidence, may find us performing way below our capacity.
The sensation of anxiety and stress are not very pleasant, and if they are adversely affecting your everyday life (or even if you’re simply concerned) it may be prudent to seek medical intervention – especially if along with the anxiety you experience nausea, diarrhoea, headaches, trembling of hands, profuse sweating or dryness of the mouth.
If anxiety or stress freezes you instead of energizing you into action, you may be suffering from Anxiety Disorder or Extreme Stress. If this is the case, the first step is always to talk with your doctor who may refer you to a psychiatrist, psychologist, behavioural therapist or other complimentary therapists. Please click here to access more information on accessing better access to mental health care.
For patients suffering from anxiety or stress, complimentary health practitioners such as Reflexologists and Massage Therapists can help to soothe the body’s reaction to the stressor, thus helping other treatments to work more effectively. As a Reflexologist, Robert Vicary works with people who experience anxiety to balance the internal organs (especially the adrenal gland, brain, colon, pituitary gland and pineal gland) to create a feeling of calm and mindfulness.
If you’re interested in learning more about therapeutic reflexology, remedial massage, and the other techniques that Robert uses to improve the overall health and wellbeing of anxiety sufferers, contact Robert today via www.AliveTherapies.com.au
Get in touch with Robert Vicary today to discover the brighter side to anxiety!
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Robert Vicary from Alive Radiant Therapies specialises in guiding clients to achieve total body wellness through therapeutic reflexology, remedial massage, myofacial release, manual lymphatic drainage and other techniques.
He specialises in pain relief (especially back & neck pain) stress and anxiety disorders, PTSD, pregnancy massage and more.