How To Handle Fears And Anxieties
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Health and Wellness

How To Handle Fears And Anxieties

It is okay to fear and it is okay to worry.

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How To Handle Fears And Anxieties

The Magic Question

My mind is always spinning. I am always worrying. I am always fearing. My mind is in constant fast forward mode. If you are like me, you might find it hard to just relax - to utterly and wholly to take a step back and oh, remember to breathe. You hear it again and again: “Just relax. Everything will be ok.” Everyone has fears and everyone deals with anxiety, even the people who seem “chill.” The difference between the people, like myself, who I will categorize as “worriers” and those people who I will categorize as “chill” is in their ability to be in touch with their fears and their ability to “to do.” Everyone has been through upset, heartbreak, academic crises, life struggles etc., which is what I contribute to many people’s chronic anxiety. People try to micro-manage their future at the best of their ability because they have unfortunately experienced failure in the past. As another school year comes to an end, I promised myself one thing and that is to learn how to control my anxiety by doing. I promise myself to take action and take control of those aspects in my life that I can control and accept that some things in life are, unfortunately, uncontrollable.

College is hard in many realms. There is not only academic stress but also social stress. Each semester is different and the constant change can be daunting for many. But here is the thing, one must remember --the only constant in life is change. I am a girl who likes routine. I like certainty. My biggest fear in life is the fear of the unknown. It has taken a long time and each day I progress and mature in the concept of self-awareness. That is why I firmly believe that college, albeit a challenge, is one of the best things for teenagers. One learns more and more about oneself each and everyday. Now I promise this is not some tangent. See, the thing is everything one learns about oneself is due in part to the failure. One cannot fail until one can succeed. But here lies the problem, often constant upset results in an ability to surpass and to overcome. However, sometimes people just give up. But weren’t we warned from when we were little to never give up?

This semester I took an Abnormal Psychology course, which is the branch of psychology that studies unusual patterns of behavior, emotion and thought. I learned of a viewpoint, The Learned Helplessness Theory, which explains the actions of those who cope with mental health illnesses such as anxiety and depression. Learned helplessness is a behavior typical of a human or non-human animal and occurs when an animal endures painful stimuli which it is unable to escape. After the experience, the organism fails to learn the avoidance in new situations where that action would be otherwise effective. In all, the animal “learned” to be helpless. Individuals who suffer from mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression is due in part to the perceived absence of control over the outcome of a situation. Whether one suffers from a metal illness or not, “giving up” equates to the Learned Helplessness Theory, which is certainly the opposite of doing.

It is also in this psychology course that I learned of the psychoanalytic pioneer Alfred Adler. Essentially, Adler posed a “magic question”: If somehow by magic the problem you have described were completely solved, what negative consequences might ensue? The underlying point of this “magic question” is to reveal that the things that individuals often fear most are controllable, yet individuals continue to fear because they are afraid of the reality. Individuals are afraid of change. Why change if the constant is already known and is steadying? If I learned anything from this abnormal psychology course it is the importance of the “magic question” Whenever I find myself in a quandary I always think of the “magic question”. I have developed my own coping mechanisms to deal with my fears and anxieties by thinking of the “magic question”. Have you developed a coping mechanism? Maybe you will find benefit in thinking of the “magic question”.

It is okay to fear. It is okay to worry. The problem arises when this fear and anxiety is chronic and impairs our ability to function in our everyday lives. Instead of fearing, I decided that it was time to start doing--to start taking control of my life. Everyone’s downfall is in comparison. As humans, we love to compare ourselves to others, which concurrently leads to unhappiness and a life unfulfilled. Instead of comparing, why not start doing and making this life the life you would like to live. Maybe people really do have a point when they say “Just breathe. Everything will be ok.” See, here is the funny thing, looking back on everything that I have worried about turned out to be ok, and if not, the alternative proved to turn out ok. So maybe everything truly happens for a reason. It is okay to worry and it is okay to fear. It is okay to worry. The problem arises when this fear and anxiety is chronic and impairs our ability to function in our everyday lives. Instead of fearing, I decided that it was time to start doing--to start taking control of my life. Everyone’s downfall is in comparison. As humans, we love to compare ourselves to others, which concurrently leads to unhappiness and a life unfulfilled. Instead of comparing, why not start doing and making this life the life you would like to live. Maybe people really do have a point when they say “Just breathe. Everything will be ok.” See, here is the funny thing, looking back on everything that I have worried about turned out to be ok, and if not, the alternative proved to turn out ok. So maybe everything truly happens for a reason. It is okay to worry and it is okay to fear. But if I have one advice it is to think of the “magic question.” Always remember that our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, it arises when we start trying to control it. Start doing and start accepting. It is time to start living.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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