I would like to emphasize to the reader that the concepts I am presenting are solely my personal opinions and unproven theories, which are based on my own life experiences. It is crucial to acknowledge that I could be entirely mistaken about these ideas or any other subject I discuss.
Everyone experiences anxiety at times, but some people struggle with the state of being that’s called “heightened anxiety.”
Heightened anxiety—also referred to as “acute anxiety”—occurs when a person has anxiety that is not based on any real danger to their existence. They feel a degree of anxious fear that's not warranted, and such anxiety often flares up because of triggering experiences. Heightened anxiety, then, can be defined as a state of one having more anxiety than what is appropriate or necessary to resolve a dangerous or threatening circumstance.
Again, we all feel anxiety at times. In fact, we're all designed from birth to have natural anxieties and natural abilities to express those anxieties. Consider a newborn baby girl. When she's hungry, she tells her parents that something is not right through her crying. If she doesn't get what she needs, her crying gets louder. If she perceives that her needs don't get met regularly, she might feel greater levels of anxiety when her discomfort occurs again.
In a situation such as this, anxiety appears to be the anticipation of danger. And in the case of this newborn, the anxiety is both natural and vital. It's vital because it's too early in the child's development for her to free herself from the cause of her discomfort. Her anxiety triggers the reactions she needs to engage in to communicate to her caregivers that something is not comfortable for her.
It's important that the child's needs are met as part of a regular routine. If they're not, then as the child matures physically she will become developmentally stunted in some ways. Psychologically, such a child whose needs aren't met in connection with regular patterns could remain in an anxious state. And if the circumstances that cause her anxiety are not addressed, that child will develop unskilful, inappropriate, manipulative techniques to get what she wants.
The principles of psychology are largely based on the laws of cause and effect. And from a psychological standpoint it's understood that one’s lack of need fulfillment causes anxiety: That anxiety will in turn develop into mental disorders and/or negative behavior patterns and destructive acting out.
People with heightened senses of anxiety usually will have damages to their overall psyches, and that's often manifested in their poor coping skills. Those who have heightened anxiety approach their problems with too much worry, too much force, and actions governed by extreme emotional lows.
As we function in society, we’re exposed to a great many people who have destructive addictive behaviors. Unfortunately, we often pick up those behaviors. And if we seek to fight our tendency to do that, we should understand that addictive behaviors are driven by heightened levels of anxiety.
There are many symptoms of heightened anxiety. Two of the most prominent ones are lack of self-esteem and difficulties with concentration. And anxiety sometimes causes poor self-esteem issues (rather than just being a symptom of such issues). Self-esteem problems are sometimes hard to detect, and many people have had self-esteem problems because of systematic abuse, trauma, or both. To recover from anxiety disorders (as well as other psychological problems), it’s vitally important to build self-esteem.
Another crucial step in overcoming anxiety problems is to study one’s own behavior patterns and work hard to change those behavior patterns for the better. Such changes will differ greatly from one individual to the next, but certain general concepts about how those types of changes will be applicable to all individuals.
The purpose of this writing is to help individuals who have the capacity of helping themselves initiate life changes that will help them overcome their anxiety. The recommended changes will be such that they will not be destructive to the individuals, their fellow humans, other creatures on the planet, or the planet itself.
Acute anxiety can be caused by many things—not only the types of experiences from infancy mentioned earlier, but also by losses and traumas that one might face later in life. And it’s debilitating. It makes it difficult to be creative, it forces us to shut down emotions to numb its pain, and it causes so much emotional disruption that we often look to negative addictions to soothe its discomfort.
Reducing anxiety begins with awareness. You must face up to the existence of your problem with it and then determine the root cause of it. You can then talk through the causes with others and try to understand some of the damage that has been done to you. You can then deal with the emotions that the awareness and contemplation uncovers. Dealing with the emotions will require steps such as crying, grieving, or expressing anger, but after you do so the emotions will cease to have such an exacting toll.
From that point you'll need to take other positive action steps. You’ll need to write about what you've been through and what you’re going through, make critical changes to your behavior, and embrace life. But you will then be able to embrace life on life’s terms. You'll be able to breathe deeply, enjoy precious moments that used to escape you, and live in the present moment without the repressive emotional experiences that gave you so much trouble in the past.
I strongly encourage you to read this book in its entirety and take the positive steps that are detailed in it. I applaud you for your decision to face up to your anxiety issues, and I'm very confident that you are on the verge of an exciting self-help breakthrough.