Anxiety is as old as humanity; older, in that our animal ancestors also experienced it. It is found across the animal kingdom. It is a natural response to threat, meant to keep us safe. But, at the same time, it is an emotion that troubles people and impairs their quality of life, even when there is no actual threat. As such, it is one of the major mental health issues that all types of therapy seek to address. Why is this?
The reason is the ways that we use to try to cope with it. A simple example is the student who puts off doing her homework because she’s worried that she won’t do it correctly. She finds that, in the short term, postponing her homework makes her feel better. But, in the longer term, she doesn’t learn to do her schoolwork and becomes even more frightened of it. Her reaction is natural, but also unhelpful.
Anxiety problems come in a variety of forms. Some people experience panic attacks, sudden rushes of anxiety that seem to come out of nowhere. They aren’t, in fact, dangerous, but people often feel that they are, and want to avoid them, for fear of what might happen. As a result they often avoid a variety of situation that they feel are dangerous. Other people become very fearful of certain social interactions, feeling that they may appear in a bad light or embarrass themselves. Still others worry about their health, feeling that they have a dangerous, undiagnosed condition; they often spend a lot of time checking their bodies for signs of danger or searching the Internet for possible explanations. Yet other people experience excessive worry about a variety of things. Often they worry about worrying, and so their worries become worse.
No form of psychotherapy can eliminate anxiety; after all, it’s natural, and we all feel it. We all worry, we all took at the world and the future with apprehension, we all wonder if we’ve made the right decision about a variety of things. But psychological treatment can help us to cope better, to spend less time worrying, to do things that used to frighten us, to get a better sense of what threats need to be dealt with and what threats can be ignored. Human beings have been anxious throughout history, but they’ve also found ways of dealing with it and solving their problems. Therapy can help you to do that.