Why Unchecked Anxiety Keeps People on Autopilot (and Tips to Shut it Off)
Anxiety builds on itself and continues to get worse until people are unable to navigate it without help. Masking anxiety takes a lot of energy so, when people don’t feel they can function, they may grow resentful or feel more stressed. Unchecked anxiety can keep people from going in that mode for a while, not realizing the damaging effects. It may also lead to addiction or mental health issues later in life. It is always better to figure out a way to navigate it in a healthier way now than to let it get worse.
Signs of Anxiety
The body is an alarm system. Anxiety is the first signal things are not alright. There is the possibility of harm that may occur, so the body responds to it in that way. This signals possible isolation or abandonment. It may also signal loss of status and esteem. For the types of anxiety, it may include:
- Emotional stress, disorders of mental well-being, and depletion of physical resources
- Temperamental or being born with a certain personality that is prone to more anxious thoughts and feelings
- Environmental issues like work, family life, public speaking, and more
When Anxiety Hurts
Anxiety can be paralyzing for people rather than motivating when it is not seen as a distress signal by the body. It may cause a sense of lacking the motivation to improve oneself, as well. The characteristics of problem anxiety can include:
- Racing thoughts
- Scanning or taking in superficial information that makes it harder to focus
- Looping thoughts or thinking the same thing over and over
- Hyper-vigilance or judging others, looking for negative things
Control can pop up as a sign a person is overly anxious because they are trying to avoid not feeling in control by setting an environment that does not stimulate their anxiety. Regulation of emotions externally worsens anxiety in the long run.
Get Off Autopilot
The key to getting off autopilot and healing from anxiety is to accept that things happen outside your control. There is no way to control everything. The body may respond one way but the brain goes another and it causes alarm, which increases stress hormones. It may take some things to help lower anxiety, but staying on autopilot and not worrying about changing the behavior may lead to worse decisions down the road to deal with it, including numbing with drinking or addictive behaviors. Some things to consider:
- Therapeutic support is a good place to start
- Encourage family participation
- Create a support system
- Seek rehab for deeper issues like addiction as some people turn to it to cope with anxiety or it comes out of drug abuse and is resistant to help until the addiction is treated
Anxious thoughts are not reality. This signals a possible reality. Know the alarm is there for a reason, but it does not mean it is true. Seek the truth when possible and don’t settle for less than knowing there is hope after anxiety.
The Palmetto Center will work with you to help your anxiety, depression, mental health, and addiction issues. We will support your journey of healing from whatever brings you through our doors. We are here for you. Our program pprovides a special focusfor professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.