Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems throughout the world, and it can create tremendous suffering. It can rob you of self-confidence, productivity, and peace of mind. It can also create conflicts in your relationships with others. When you feel anxious, worried, or panicky, you’re telling yourself that you’re in danger and that something terrible is about to happen. For example, if you’re having a panic attack, you may be telling yourself that you’re on the verge of losing control and feel as though you’re having a heart attack. If you have public speaking anxiety, you get nervous whenever you have to talk in front of a group because you tell yourself, “I’ll trip over my words and everyone will see how nervous I am. My mind will go blank and I will make a complete fool of myself! Everyone will judge me and think I’m crazy.” Anxiety comes in many different forms. Some common types of anxiety are: chronic worrying, fears and phobias, performance anxiety, public speaking anxiety, social anxiety, panic attacks, agoraphobia (fear of crowds, public places, or open areas), obsessions and compulsions, post-traumatic stress disorder, concerns about your appearance and worries about your health.
Once you start to feel anxious, your negative thoughts and feelings begin to reinforce each other in a vicious cycle. If you ask yourself about the thoughts that flood through your mind when you’re feeling worried or nervous, you’ll tune in to the frightening messages that trigger your feelings. The thoughts will seem completely realistic, but they’re not. When you feel anxious, you’re telling yourself things that simply aren’t true. This is one of the biggest differences between neurotic anxiety and healthy fear. They both result entirely from your thoughts, but the thoughts that trigger healthy fear are not distorted. People who struggle with anxiety deserve treatment. The good news is that new, effective, drug-free treatments now exist, and the prognosis for full recovery is outstanding. Research indicates that psychotherapy, not pills, is the most effective treatment for all the anxiety disorders, both in the short term and long term