April 5, 2021
Any disease if not attended well in time, but kept prolonged due to sheer neglect, turns out to be chronic. If it becomes chronic, it takes a long duration for healing and sometimes it can become so worse, that it could be the fatal end of the person. We therefore need to be extremely sensitive towards the welfare of our body. If it is so regarding our physical body, what will be the case regarding our mind? The mind too demands our attention, care and sensitivity so that it can function well.
Even if you schedule your programme with sufficient care and attention to mental health, some time or other, all human persons, whether young, adults or seniors, invariably become victims to a mental illness called “anxiety”. Of course there will be difference in intensity in its manifestations from one person to the other. It means some are more anxious and some others are less prone to anxiety. Let me now explicate the common causes of anxiety as every person should have some knowledge of this mental sickness so that we can be on our guard. When we know the causes or reasons why we get into anxiety, we can be careful and on the watch to minimise its negative repercussions.
The problem regarding anxiety is that we consider it as a normal feature of life and neglect it. “I have appeared for exam and it is normal to be anxious about the results; I was irregular for classes, so it is normal to be anxious when exams come near; I have never gone for practice, now normal to be anxious regarding my performance in the team so on and so forth”.
If these are just passing experiences, well and good, you can return to the normal state of mind and resume again your daily life once the event is over. But sometimes what seems to be normal can give rise to abnormality very easily. “I am anxious, so I cannot sleep at all. I am anxious so I do not experience taste at all. I am anxious, so I cannot participate in any common activity, I feel lifeless”. All these symptoms are not ordinary and demand further attention.
The positive aspect of anxiety
But there is a positive type of anxiety, which accompanies any intense creative activity. The ISRO staff is ready with the satellite to land on the planet mars and the time is approaching to shoot off the rocket and millions of people are watching. So the ISRO staff is terribly anxious whether it will smoothly land on the planet mars. This is something positive. Another example, you have practised well for months together for the public entertainment programme, and when the day comes to perform, you become anxious. This also is positive type of anxiety. Once the event is over, and if you are mature enough to accept the result whether positive or negative, you can return to your normal self and resume your life without much anxiety. This type of anxiety is a part of personality development. You come out fulfilled and mature after the event. Though anxiety in itself is never a comfortable feeling, but sometimes a small dose of anxiety brings out the best in us. It makes us creative, impels us to work hard and brings the best out of us.
The negative aspects of anxiety
But anxiety has innumerable characteristics which are totally negative. It is considered as a psychological illness and countless people suffer from its effects. So we need to delve deeper into the reasons or the causes of this type of anxiety so that we are aware why it is troubling us when we ourselves become victims of it. Any neglect can lead to a chronic condition, giving rise to anxiety disorders, which bound to make our life miserable. Here are the common causes of anxiety:
Over thinking or rumination can easily give rise to anxiety. This is a habit of thinking too much on anything that happens around you. If someone smiles at you, you start thinking, why he smiled at me, what may be the reason for it, what may be the implications of it, what may be the purpose of it so on and so forth. You received a missed call, at once you become restless, distracted, dissipated and your mind gets into wild imaginations. One day there was a long procession on the road and your were held up and delayed reaching home. That makes your mummy restless and her mind sets off into a journey of wild speculations: “what happened to my child, why he is so late, whether the bus met with an accident, whether any one was there to help my child, whether he got wounded, fractured, whether taken to the hospital, which hospital”, so on and so forth. This is excessive thinking, and if it is a regular affair, you become a person ridden with anxiety disorder.
ii. Holding on to unrealistic goals can also produce anxiety
Regular work followed by regular rest and relaxation keeps your mind and body healthy. But sometimes some people want to achieve too much too soon. As a result they become impatient and anxiety ridden.
Sometimes you set goals for yourself, which you cannot achieve, but you struggle, work hard, get disappointed unnecessarily, become jealous of others who are able to achieve more than you. Then you become workaholic, forget to relax, work overtime but never satisfied with what you achieve and what you earn, finally land into anxiety disorder. So be careful with your goals and objectives. Both mind and body are limited in their capacities. Be aware of your limitations and have enough self knowledge to order your daily schedule of work. It is normal to aim at 70% in the next exam, if you have 60% in the last exam. But it is imprudent to set the goal of 90%. Know that such a big jump is humanly impossible and you may land into anxiety disorder.
iii. Low self esteem
A negative self-image is due to low self-esteem. You yearn to impress everybody, but within, you experience some sort of insecurity. You become overcautious, easily surrender to fear and avoid taking up any challenges and risks in life. You never learn driving, because you think any time you can have an accident; never speak in public, because you think others may criticise you and put you down. You get too much preoccupied with what others think of you. All this can easily lead to anxiety.
iv. Pessimistic attitude
An overdose of pessimistic attitude can also lead you to anxiety. This is actually another kind of mind trap. You are often preoccupied and worried regarding worse things that can happen to you. You can never see a positive aspect of any event or any person. You become too much worried about evil and sufferings that may come to you. There are some students who repeat, “I can never get more than 50%, I can never go on the stage and appear before the public”. If you go on thinking like that you will get into anxiety as the exam date approaches, and whenever you have to stand on the stage, which obstructs your performance. Positive affirmations can certainly help you to overcome your pessimistic attitude.
v. Traumatic events of the past
Anxiety might be caused by some shocking and traumatic event that occurred in your life in the past. You may not even be aware of the incident that happened in your life. But it can influence your present behaviour. Sometimes we think, “why I feel this way, why I act this way, why this phobia? why do I hate reptiles or particular colours and why do I become unconscious as soon as I see blood” and the like. All these behaviours are due to traumatic experiences of the past. We become anxious for no reason, we become fearful and develop phobias for no known causes. But your unconscious mind has stored, like a hard disc of the computer, all your past experiences and they influence your present behaviour.
(To be continued)