ANXIETY: Your Life on the A-List
I Feel Anxious or Stressed Out. Is That Considered “Anxiety?”
Under typical life circumstances, anxiety can be a normal reaction to stressors in your environment. In today’s society however, anxiety is often excessive, cannot be controlled, and negatively impacts day-to-day living. The reason why we need to talk about it openly is because collectively, anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health challenges experienced by individuals in both Canada and the United States today.
Prevalence of Anxiety in North America
Prevalence refers to the proportion of a population who have (or had) a specific characteristic in a given time period. Data collected by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) indicated that in a recent 12 month period 18.1% of American adults suffered from some form of anxiety disorder. These disorders include but are not limited to: post-traumatic stress disorder; obsessive-compulsive disorder; and specific phobias. In Canada, the 12-month prevalence for “any anxiety disorder” is just over 12%. The Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada estimates that one in four Canadians will experience at least one anxiety disorder in their lifetimes. What you may find alarming (I sure did) is that the average age of onset of an anxiety disorder in the U.S. is 11 years of age.
Consequences of Intermittent or Sustained Anxiety
The impact on quality of life for individuals suffering with anxiety can be quite profound. If you experience a moderate to high level of anxiety intermittently (from “time to time”), the ill effects can be as detrimental as those who live with moderate to high levels of anxiety for long periods of time (defined as a year or more). There is no foundation for anxiety. In other words, there is no place in nature where there is a function or an advantage to anxiety. Anxiety is man-made, constructed and contributed to by our North American lifestyles. If you have ever experienced an anxiety disorder you know what the consequences are; major disruptions to your life in the form of damaged relationships, ineffectiveness at work, and/or impaired physical health. However, not everybody who experiences anxiety makes the connection between these deleterious effects and the anxiety itself.
Natural Treatments for Anxiety
Research on mental health epidemiology indicates that mental health challenges and disorders affect tens of millions of people each year, yet only about half of the people affected receive treatment. One source states that rates of anxiety have not shown improvement in the last 3 decades! It would appear that individuals across North America are searching for real and long-lasting treatments for their anxiety and many would prefer that their treatment be as non-invasive as possible. Some of the common natural remedies for anxiety include: meditation and relaxation therapies; yoga and other forms of exercise; hypnotherapy; herbal and vitamin supplementation; or dietary changes.
Although individual results may vary, some of these more natural treatments can be helpful for the short-term and therein lays the problem. These treatments are short-term fixes that you have to continually engage in, in order to experience results. Additionally, some of these natural treatments for anxiety address the physical symptoms but not the emotional effects. For example, yoga may help decrease that “heart racing” feeling and shortness of breath, yet within a short period of time your mind starts to recreate the physical symptoms leaving you searching for another remedy. An important thing to remember when searching for how you can overcome anxiety is this: don’t use methods designed to relieve physical symptoms expecting them to work for the emotional and mental components of anxiety.
At Blueprint for Changes we believe that all types of anxiety are a form of avoidance. Even taking medication for the treatment of anxiety is a form of avoidance because the underlying root cause(s) of the anxiety is not being addressed. Through our Symbol programs, the underlying structures of the behaviorism (anxiety) are stimulated and thus resistance is decreased. Over time this decrease in resistance eliminates anxiety and its’ negative effects. In the development phase of our Symbol programs we recognized the relevance and prevalence of anxiety in the general population. So much so in fact, that 5 out of 14 of our Symbol programs address some form of anxiety whether it be circumstantial or chronic (amongst other things).