There are many things in this World that can make us anxious - worries about caring for a loved one, managing a hectic schedule, adjusting to life-altering changes are just a few things we all stress about. And while it is beneficial for many individuals to experience anxiety at one point or another, the extent to which it affects our ability to function is what is we have to be aware of.
Take for example the scenario of preparing for an upcoming storm – something many East Coast residents recently contended with. A person's level of anxiety, in relation to preparing for the storm, may cause him/her to react in certain ways:
For individuals with low anxiety regarding the storm, they may exhibit a laid-back attitude and may only prepare for immediate, concrete problems like stocking the fridge, getting batteries and buying flashlights.
Individuals with moderate anxiety will most likely worry about the short and long-term effects of a storm. Preparing an emergency evacuation kit, buying sufficient non-perishable goods and gathering emergency contact information are a few examples of the types of preparations someone with moderate anxiety will engage in so as to reduce feelings of worry they may have.
Individuals with high anxiety about an upcoming storm can become overwhelmed with feelings of fear and/or panic that may result in irrational “what-if” speculation or what is often referred to as the "Chicken Little Syndrome" - believing the world is coming to an end. This level of anxiety can be characterized by an inability to rationalize with the individual.
By understanding how different levels of anxiety can affect how you deal with various concerns and issues in your life it can help you understand when, how and if you should be seeking help. Help can be in the form of taking preemptive measures or going to counseling to learn how to better manage your anxiety.
Are there certain things that cause you to experience high anxiety? If so, how do you manage it? Please share your questions, thoughts, and experiences below.
Christine M. Valentin is a licensed clinical social worker licensed in NJ and NY. She specializes in anxiety, depression and counseling family members who are concerned about an older adult, spouse or significant other. She has offices in Downtown Summit and Union Square, NYC. For more information, visit www.christinemvalentin.com