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When Anxiety Overcomes Common Sense

Was this really a life or death matter ?

Relax And Be Calm

                                      

                                         A friend of mine and I recently attended an Ethics Conference. We got to the location where the conference was to be held, parked and walked into the building. My friend later observed that she had encountered a woman who had also arrived to attend this same conference. The woman appeared to be anxious “ Tell me how I get to the building ? “ She pushed through a wrought  iron gate and hurriedly moved towards the front door of the building.

                                         Now granted, going to a new location whether it be a house or a building, even a conference center can sometimes be daunting. MapQuest or your GPS may not always be accurate in terms of their directions. You can feel helpless, if not incompetent, when you have to be a certain place at a certain time and you can’t find your way there.

                                         Here, of course, anxiety increases and there can be a feeling of panic that can emerge.  I have experienced this phenomenon more than one occasion. One time I was so driven to get to an appointment on time, that I inadvertently drove alone in the HOV lane of a major city freeway twenty miles. I did make it to my appropriate exit and got to the appointment on time. I was lucky that I didn’t get a ticket.

                                          Anxiety can make one do strange things, desperate actions.  Although family members and friends will say to an anxious person “ Just get over it “; this isn’t the best prescription. According to Dr. Ann-Louise T. Lockhart Psy.D, ABPP:

                                       “ Reassurance over and over again is a mistake for anxiety. Anxiety is not logical but emotional. The key is to be able to handle distress tolerance, feel it without trying to escape from it.”

                                        “ Anxiety, if you feed it, it will want more.

                                         So, what can you do to feel better and not be driven to be feeling anxious ?  Although some people will take Xanax  or Valium to try to feel better, there are instead other interventions.

                                         Dr. Lockhart advocates:

                                    “ Don’t prescribe medications first, but instead do behavioral interventions.

                                       Learning how to do diaphoretic breathing, being able to meditate or pray to practice some activity like walking a Labyrinth can be ways in which the mind can be calmed, and the soul can be comforted.

                                       When you are really anxious you need to ask yourself

                                      “  Am I really performing at my best ? Am I thinking at my best ? Am I being present with others in a meaningful way ? “

                                         The temptation here is to always tell people that you are busy, and therefore give yourself the rationalization to continue to live in the constant hurried state.

                                         However, this frenzied condition is notorious for producing high blood pressure, ulcers, strokes among other conditions.

                                          We need to get away from the frenzy.

                                          The next time you think that you need to be at a certain place right now, ask yourself:

                                           “ Was this really a life or death matter ? “

                                           Chances are you will probably find that the so-called urgent situation can wait.

                                            Returning to an important decision or task with a calmed mind and a receptive heart is a better recipe for a more effective and meaningful outcome.

                                            Instead of fast, go slow.

                                            May it be so.

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