Monday, January 19, 2009

The vicious cycle of stress/anxiety

Suffering from negative emotions caused by problems in your life, home or workplace, will lead to stress and anxiety. After a prolonged period of stress and worry in your life, your body starts to experience physical symptoms like headaches, shortness of breath, dizziness, other symptoms like short temper etc.

All these stress symptoms may have a significant impact on how you behave and go about your daily life. Attitudes and behaviours towards others becomes altered by these physical ailments, which were originally caused by stress. Or you may try to avoid feeling stressed/anxious and escape from distressing experiences by paying more attention to possible signs of potential threat. If you cannot avoid the situation, you may use other methods like an exit plan for potenially-anxious situations (standing close to a door to make a quick escape for example). You may also take tranquillisers to deal with distressing situations. Or you make sure you have someone else with you.

The realisation that your behaviour towards others has altered leads to further bouts of stress or anxiety. Or when you become more dependent on avoiding methods or safety behaviours, it can be more distressing if one day they are not available to you.

These further bouts of stress/anxiety result in negative reactions, which then appear as negative emotions, which by their turn lead to more stress and anxiety and so it continues, and this cycle can go on.

The question is how can you reverse that vicious cycle, to create a positive cycle that will help you overcome stress/anxiety?

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