In the first ‘Learning more about’ article we will talk about anxiety.
Anxiety disorders are the most frequent mental health issues. Anxiety as a symptom plays a part in most of psychological disorders. (Belloch, Sandín y Ramos, 2009)
Anxiety can be defined as an emotional reaction consisting of feelings of tension, nervousness and worry. (Spielberger, Pollans y Worden, 1984) An important feature of anxiety is its ‘anticipatory nature’ it can indicate a threat or future risk about something with an uncertain outcome, what can be really useful, because that gives us the opportunity to prepare ourselves before the risk actually happens.
However, sometimes when we think about our future we imagine situations that never ever happen and even when they happen they are less dangerous or ‘bad’ that what we had imagined. In such cases, anxiety is not useful anymore, it doesn’t help us to solve our problems and it produces a significant discomfort that affects our bodies. If that happens to you that would be a good moment to put in practice different anxiety management techniques.
Anxiety as an emotion has three parts (Three-dimensional Theory of Anxiety, Lang). First component is called ‘cognitive’ and it corresponds with the emotional discomfort that we feel. This component is subjective because it depends on how everybody understands a situation. The second part is ‘physiological’ it refers to the body reaction, the sympathetic nervous system is activated and affects to our heart rate, blood pressure, breathing (among other things). And the last part is called ‘motor or behavioural’ with corresponds with what people do and how they handle the situation, avoiding it, trying to space or facing it.
Now that we know more about what anxiety is and how it works we are able to understand which are the best techniques to manage it and why they work In our next posts we will explain some of these techniques and how to work with them, stay tuned.
Belloch, A., Sandín, B. y Ramos F. (Eds.) (2009). Manual de Psicopatología (2ª edición). Vol II. Madrid: McGraw Hill