Anxiety is something that so many people suffer from, yet so little understand. "Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year" ( adaa.org). Anxiety has multiple definitions and can take on many forms. One of the best definitions of anxiety that I've ever heard is that "anxiety is to be pulled apart in different directions". It occurs when we import our imagination of a future event into the present and our mind and body experiences it as if it were happening now. It's often mistaken that if we had a better grip on our emotions, then we would not suffer from anxiety. But anxiety is a disorder of thought, not emotion.
When we deal with anxiety, we are focusing on what is imagination and something that is intangible. We imagine the worse possible outcomes even if the thing we have anxiety about is very trivial. Anxiety also affects our mental, physical, and spiritual state. It can cause us to become out-of-sync with those around us, ourselves, and even our Creator (if we believe there is one). It slows down our process of information which can then inhibit us from completing daily tasks, whether they be incredibly difficult or trivial.
Even though we can feel overcome by anxiety, if we practice, there are ways that we can start to take control over it. Everything that we have ever accomplished, we have accomplished despite our anxiety. We do not have to be overcome by it, even if we feel overwhelmed. In order to take small steps to feel less anxiety, we can look at whatever is giving us anxiety in 3 steps. ABC. A stands for activating event. B stands for belief. C stands for consequence. By breaking it down, we can start to feel less overwhelmed and focus on accomplishing the things we lot never possible. Activating event is the thing that is giving us anxiety. Belief is what we feel about the activating event and the stress we have because of the activating event. The consequence is what we think the outcome will be of A and C. If we use the ABC process as a way to combat anxiety, we can start to separate our beliefs from our feelings. It also helps us access and become aware of underlying beliefs in a given moment.
Anxiety is a serious disorder that affects millions of people. As someone who has dealt with anxiety for most of their life, I can say that this method has helped put things into perspective. It helps me realize that the thing I'm facing can be dealt with and that I can get through it. A thought is not a fact. Thought and feelings are not who we are. We may suffer from anxiety but it does not define who we are.