Updated: Oct 3, 2019
There is so much going on in the world today that we can feel anxious about. The disruptions happening in many industries, cost of living going up, trying to make ends meet financially, stressors with work, partners, children and family, that present on a daily basis. All these things add up and we experience quite overt feelings of overwhelm, not coping, raciness, over active thoughts, lack of trust in the world and experience feelings of powerlessness.
We can all experience these feelings from time to time, however, these feelings to some degree are becoming more and more the norm, we are experiencing an ‘Anxiety Epidemic’.
The latest statistics out of the ABS states that “Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia. On average, 1 in 4 people – 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men – will experience anxiety”, and “in a 12-month period,
over two million Australians experience anxiety”.
That is alarming.
What can be misleading is that those who aren’t feeling the overt nature of the above, may say, ‘no, not me, I don’t have those feelings regularly, so can’t possibly experience anxiety’, however, we can all be feeling a low-grade anxiousness that never really goes away.
I know that I can feel this in the sense of, an unsettlement within myself, not really feeling a true joy moment to moment each and every day, not feeling like I can express all of me, in fear of how it will be received. This creates an anxiousness within, that’s just bubbling under the surface.
This unsettlement within, can also present in day to day life - it’s like your cup is always full, so when someone triggers something to do with how you see life, you react! It’s like there is NO space for someone else to have a different opinion, different ideals and beliefs and if they do, well…. there’s just reaction.
This is the ‘Anxiety Epidemic’, we are losing the ability to have understanding first and foremost for ourselves, but also for our fellow human beings that we walk with on this planet.
There seems to be a continuing lack of empathy, understanding, and dare I say it love for how we are in life and with each other.
So how do we get underneath this Anxiety Epidemic?
It has to start with us!
So how did I deal with my own Anxiousness?
For me, it is still a daily check in, if I do start to feel overwhelmed in any way, my thoughts start to play out fictitious scenarios, what you ‘really’ should have said, you play over and over again. I start to speak quicker, I feel a raciness in my body. I know that I am in anxiousness.
I have found it is about acknowledging when those things come in, about stopping to acknowledge they actually have. This took some time as the long-standing patterns of anxiousness had been there for a long time. So bringing awareness to those patterns when they came up was and is key. This then created space for me to make other choices.
What tools did I learn to put in my tool kit?
I learned along the way that I needed to be super gentle with myself, if the anxiousness came back. Because I learned that whether it’s the overt anxiety or the subtle low grade one that sometimes it doesn’t stop immediately.
Here are a few things that have supported me:
I find it is super important to change how I am sitting – changing my body, just even my posture can allow the anxiousness to shift
Stop talking to who I might be talking to if I am going over and over the same ‘story’ – we can get into that loop when anxious, so I learnt that if I am doing that, I’m definitely in anxiousness
Go for a walk, feel my feet on the ground – this has been the greatest tool in my tool kit to support anxiety
Focus on my breathing – you can do this anywhere, feel your breath coming into the tip of your nose, breathing gently and out gently – it’s hard at first, but helps you to come back to your body (here is a link to a gentle breath meditation )
The Anxiety Epidemic it real and alive, we as a society are becoming more and more anxious as a race of beings. We can bring an awareness to this, but it always starts with us first.
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. Cat. no. (4326.0). Canberra: ABS.