Feeling anxiety is a part of being human. We all know what it is like to be afraid or to worry about what may be coming next for us. Life will always present us with challenges and uncertainty, which brings up fear. To some degree, anxiety is helpful; it comes up when we recognize that a challenge is coming and prepares us for it. Our nervous systems are built to fire us up when we are in danger. But often, anxiety can get out of our control and become a challenge itself when our nervous systems won’t calm back down.
It is when anxiety gets out of hand that we need to handle it. It can get in the way of living our lives in the way we want to live them. It may show up as a persistent feeling of fear or may it escalate into panic. These emotions and an overworking mind distract us from the present moment and prevent us from living future moments, gradually shutting down our lives. We can distract ourselves from it for a time and get by for a while that way, but the anxiety will always return unless we are able to truly handle it.
Sometimes, anxiety will take the shape of social anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, obsession and compulsions. While some anxiety is normal and even healthy at times, anxiety that is disrupting your life can be diagnosed as a disorder. There are many helpful treatments for anxiety, including counselling, education, medication and support groups. Being careful with caffeine and making sure to get enough good quality sleep can also help.
– from Dr. Paul Ekman’s Atlas of Emotions