Some think that anxiety is a perfectly acceptable response to whatever is going on. But that’s wrong. Anxiety is an unhealthy habit—one that you can and should break.

Most of us have struggled with anxiety for most of our lives. But as grownups we need not do so. Instead, we need to identify what’s happening in our environment on a moment-by-moment basis and write over the anxiety with a new language. (This is of course assuming that we’re not confronted with a life-threatening emergency situation.) We have to take deep breaths and then tell ourselves that things are OK.

In most cases anxiety is happening because of something stimulated within our mind. If something is happening in the outside world that is cause for fear or fright, we have to be aware of that as well. What is happening in the outside world that is causing us to react with fear? We have to look at that carefully and then determine what an appropriate response to whatever is going on should be. Of course panic is never appropriate. But if we are confronted with a situation in which fear is warranted, then we have to initiate positive action.

Note how we become short of breath when we experience fear. When we breathe shallowly, we give our brain less oxygen. And when that happens, our thinking becomes more primordial. We’re ready for a “fight or flight” response, but we’re not ready for problem solving or putting a rational solution.

Is there really anything going on in the outside world that’s worth being anxious about? If not, then we have to tell ourselves over and over again that there’s nothing to panic about and then change our routine(s) and pattern(s) accordingly. But if there is a problem that needs attention, that’s a different story. In such a situation we need to take some time to keep ourselves calm and break down the things we need to do on that particular day to solve our problem.

The most common causes of anxiety are mental and emotional responses to things that happened in the past that we have not processed yet. General anxiety will come from a great many feelings. They include feelings of loss, low self-esteem, insecurity about finances, loneliness, greed, laziness, and judgmentalism.

We must also keep in mind that another cause of fear can be intoxication or similar disruption of body chemistry. For example, you may feel jittery after drinking too much coffee. Or you may be feeling anxiety from not engaging in enough movement or physical exercise. Another problem can be improper diet, which can cause your body chemistry to be off.

So anxiety might be your unconscious mind signalling your conscious mind that your body chemistry is disrupted in some way. If that’s the case, you need to get your chemistry back on the right track. You can make that happen by constantly working to improve your diet, getting into some type of regular exercise routines, and making sure that you’re getting enough rest.

A great interim step to take as you work on improving your overall lifestyle in ways that will decrease or eliminate your anxiety is to do breathing exercises. Oxygen is a solution to many of our problems—it’s the primary vital nutrient that keeps us alive.

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