“About five years ago, I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. This did not come as much of a surprise to me, since for the previous two decades, I had spent my time freaking out about any number of things. Some of my fears were rational, and some were less so, but all of them had one thing in common: they had a level of control over me and my day-to-day life that fell outside the range of normalcy. Since then, I’ve expended a lot of energy working out the best ways to manage my anxiety.”
– Kady Morrison, blogger and writer
Anxiety is an emotional state of acute inner agitation related to anticipation of danger. It is based on fear and instinct for self-preservation. It is a very important condition for development and survival of our species. Anxiety can help us avoid the situations that can be dangerous or life-threatening, which is why we shouldn’t get rid of anxiety completely.
According to WHO, 265 million people around the world are affected by anxiety disorder, majority of them being women. Fortunately, it is absolutely possible to treat fear and anxiety.
Let’s look at the causes and perils of this disorder, and also learn the ways to reduce your anxiety level.
There are two types of anxiety: 
Type 1. Adaptive, or reasonable anxiety. It is a response to an actual danger or changes: upcoming exams, job change, moving houses, disease of a loved one, or a real bear in a forest nearby. It is natural to get anxious about these things. If your anxiety helps you to become more active and focus on solving the problem, then rest assured: these emotions are undoubtedly useful.
However, even this type of anxiety can be maladaptive. If we worry about everything too much, it becomes harder to deal with our problems. In certain cases, maladaptive anxiety can completely block our actions. That is when we need to treat anxiety.
Type 2. High anxiety, or anxiety disorder. This can become a personality trait that will make us perceive even the safest situations as dangerous ones, putting us under constant stress. The intensity of emotion in this case does not correlate with actual danger, and our expectation of something bad happening “any moment now” can become the background of your everyday life.
Let’s take a closer look at the causes of anxiety to understand this disorder better. 
The process of its development can be divided into 3 stages:
Stage 1. Emergence of a threat: we start to feel anxious, our body braces itself and focuses on the stimulus.
For example, we go through the woods and hear some rustling nearby. We startle and try to find the source of this noise, focusing on it.
Stage 2. Threat evaluation: is there anything dangerous for me here? Can I handle the situation?
What is it? A bear or a falling pine cone?
Stage 3. Physical response: faster heart rate, the body stiffens and gets ready to react to a threat.
Stage 4. Behavior response: run, hide, flight, or any other actions to make us feel safe.
A hare won’t eat us, but bear is not something you should try to make friends with.
So, we either continue our walk or flee for safety.
Normally, the threat disappears after stage 4, and so our anxiety does. Problems may arise if our brain perceives the situation mistakenly at the second stage.
|Threat evaluation. Is the situation dangerous?|
Anxiety level goes down.
Anxiety level remains unchanged.
|Consequence evaluation. Will there be serious consequences?|
Anxiety level goes down.
Anxiety level remains unchanged.
|Personal resources evaluation. Can I handle the situation? Do I have enough resources?|
Anxiety level goes down.
Anxiety level remains unchanged.
Pay attention to the fact that we normally become less anxious if we assess the situation as a safe one or feel that we can handle it. If, however, we treat the situation as unsafe or unsolvable, anxiety remains, followed by physical over-excitation.
Yes, that pine cone fell into a bush. But it could’ve fallen on my head! It still can! There are so many of them hanging around!
Modern psychology tells us,  that both genetics and environment (upbringing) affect the development of anxiety, with no possibility to evaluate the role of each of these factors separately.
As all personality traits can change, individual anxiety can also be treated. It is much more efficient to focus on solving the situation, rather than searching for the cause.
It can be seen particularly well in phobias. For example, a person who is afraid of dogs will treat any dog as dangerous, even if it is tied on a chain behind a fence. Such people consider any situation to be dangerous, even if there is no real threat. Our imagination only enables these phobias, offering the most bizarre developments of the situation, like a broken chain or a falling fence.р.
Thoughts that usually appear in a certain situation can promote the development of anxiety and fears.  They are called automatic thoughts, as they appear regardless of our desires and efforts.
|Need to ask someone about something||What will they think about me? They will think I’m obtrusive and obnoxious!||Anxiety, fear|
|A new task at work||I won’t make it, I always fail important and difficult tasks||Depression, uneasiness, sadness|
|An annoying situation, for example, a passing car splashed some water on you during rain||Why me? I’m such a loser!||Anger at oneself, depression|
|Not doing the planned activities||I wasted another day, life passes by and I’m not moving anywhere!||Depression, sadness, anxiety about future|
|Ate too much or skipped workout||I have no willpower, I will never make it, I was meant to do everything perfectly and on time, or there is no use||Anxiety, despair, occasional self-hate|
|Yelled at a child||I am an awful parent, my child hates me now, I’ve ruined everything||Despair, worry about a child, occasional self-hate|
Constant worrying, fear, learned behavior and automated thoughts that demoralize a person can lead to serious consequences, while anxiety can become a chronic disorder as the result..
Our brains know three ways to fight danger (as we have already learned, an anxious brain expects danger all the time): fight, flight or stand still.  You might have already seen all these types of protective behavior in animals. In times of danger they either fight back, run away or play dead.
In order to act accordingly at the needed moment, our body releases adrenaline, cortisol and other hormones to be on alert. These hormones activate all our senses.
In adults, high anxiety is accompanied by the following symptoms:
No one, of course, decides to be afraid all the time, worry and avoid all the unknown and fascinating things. We do not like this constant sense of anxiety. We all want to simply enjoy our lives, which is why it is natural to search for the ways to fight anxiety. Our search inevitably leads to many questions. Let’s answer the most common ones.
Of course, it is. Excessive anxiety can be treated. Even though people can display similar signs, the causes are unique to a person. Some people would like to learn how to draw but cannot start, some people are afraid of flying, while others cannot even address a shop assistant properly. In all these cases people have high anxiety, but their usual behavior and automatic thoughts will be different.
The first step in treating anxiety in adults is discovering the triggers for this condition, the situations that affect the intensity of the state.
An anxiety scale is based on the Spielberger test. You receive points for answering the questions, and the more points you get, the higher is your anxiety.
You can also use our abridged version of this scale to figure out if you need to pay attention to this problem. It is a simple yet quite objective test.
Important note! One test cannot be a precise measurement of anxiety level. In order to come to a specific conclusion, you need to pass several tests and get your results from a professional. A qualified psychologist will consider both your answers and the context: your personality traits, your lifestyle etc.
Working with children has its peculiarities indeed. The most significant difference is that children lack the ability to evaluate their emotional state and give clear answers to test questions. Specialists use different methods to diagnose anxiety in children, down to elementary school age: drawing tests, associations etc. A child should be seen by a child psychologist who can take the child’s age and development features into account.
Ideally, a specialist (a psychologist or a therapist) should diagnose and treat anxiety, especially an anxiety disorder. However, some people are not brave enough to consult one. The very fact of an upcoming visit and the need for in-person consultation can cause high anxiety, so a person may postpone treatment for a long period of time.
What should I say? What will they think about me, now that I am in this state? What if my situation is petty? What if they judge me?
These are just the examples of thoughts that a person experiences while planning a visit to a psychologist or a therapist.
Of course, there are also cases when a person needs to consult a specialist who can administer medication. However, sometimes a person can reduce their anxiety level by their own means, for example, by taking a course of behavior therapy, like 7Spsy technique, which features a special method for diagnosing anxiety.
If you decide to work on your constant anxiety on your own, it may be effective but will require more effort and discipline.
7Spsy behavior modification course will spare you from trial and error and a long search for information, it is a complete solution that will help you get rid of constant anxiety and learn to enjoy life once again.
There are a couple of simple ways to reduce anxiety level, but it’s hard to tell if they would work for your specific situation.
Anxiety treatment methods:
Oh no, everyone will see my hands tremble, what will they think? I’m sweating so much, what a shame!
According to research, people that consider their physical signs (faster heart rate, tremor and sweating) to be a response to external sources, like noise, tend to be less anxious and behave in a relaxed manned, even with tremor and sweating.
I’m worried because… I’m angry at myself because… If I don’t do this, then… If I’m afraid of trying, then…
Our subconscious thoughts and reactions can make us anxious, but if you look at the situation closely, you may notice the absence of any real threat. This exercise will also help you to discover your habitual behavior that impedes you. For example, you may find out that you get anxious when your boss calls you. Once you notice this habit, you will have better chances at getting rid of it.
As you can see, we can tame our high anxiety. You can choose any method of fighting, just remember that you can do it. And don’t forget to measure your anxiety with our check-list.
Our psychologists have created a short check-list for you. Read it and find out if you have a disposition to anxiety disorder.
|Give yourself 1 point for the statements you agree or mostly agree with. Answers “no” and “mostly no” give you 0 points.|
|1.||I am always nervous when other people evaluate my work, even if I feel I’ve done a good job|
|2.||I feel that others will stop talking to me if I behave in a wrong way|
|3.||I’m afraid of speaking in front of an audience. I think that everyone will see that I am nervous and think bad of me|
|4.||I find it hard to start anything new, I feel that I will fail|
|5.||I have a certain phobia (of dogs, height, spiders etc.)|
|6.||I am always worried about myself and my relatives, so it’s hard for me to read news about something bad happening|
|7.||I often feel tense and constrained|
|8.||I am worried that I cannot sleep well|
|9.||I would like to be as successful as others|
|10.||I cannot always control my anxiety and fear, I cannot even find their source sometimes|
Please remember that a positive answer to the 5th statement can be a sign that you need anxiety treatment, regardless of your total points. Feel free to try our new method of behavior therapy to fight your anxiety.