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Dealing with anxiety

  • PUBLISHED SUN 19:08, 3 JAN 2016
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  • UPDATED THU 19:03, 10 MAR 2016
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It begins with understanding its cause

Have you thought much about rabbits recently? They live safely underground but must come out to eat, and when they do there's a very real risk of being eaten alive by a fox. Think about that for a moment! Every day a rabbit might live or die: this is a fact of life for many other wild animals too. Indeed, for most wild animals life is a constant struggle for survival and often might seem terribly cruel to a modern human being.

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Faced with this kind of pressure why don't rabbits all suffer from constant anxiety? After all, we're not talking about a tough interview or a difficult afternoon with our parents - this is literally life or death. The answer is almost certainly because rabbits spend their days looking for tasty grass to nibble rather than worrying themselves about what might happen if they are cornered by a vicious, hungry fox.

This simple analogy is the key to understanding anxiety. We cause it within ourselves without realising it, by dwelling on unlikely "what-ifs", worst-case scenarios and focusing on the negatives. In the process we may be sabotaging our own happiness and in many cases our health too.

But how can we deal with it and reduce our anxiety? The answer seems to be, to focus on the present... the right now, what is happening right in front of us. Not to think about the past for it has gone and can't be changed, nor worrying about the future which hasn't happened yet. By absolutely forbidding ourselves from thinking about things which we have no control over and forcing ourselves to focus on the positives of the present, this can make a great deal of difference to our daily lives.

As we all know there are strong links between anxiety and depression and both disorders are directly caused by our own thoughts, and are therefore preventable:

It's easy to see the truth in those statements - it's a full circle of cause and effect. The point is that our thoughts, feelings and behaviours are all inter-related with each action affecting the others. It's important to understand that we and nobody else are responsible for these.

When we find ourselves thinking negative thoughts we must turn our attention away and focus on the present instead. Refuse your mind permission to dwell on these things. Direct your attention elsewhere - you really can do it! Why not try it for a couple of days and leave your comments below how it worked for you.


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