Worried about stuff?
Don't worry, you're not alone.
Anxiety can be characterised as a feeling of nervousness, worry or unease. It comes in all shapes, sizes and strengths and affects each of us in a different way. Sometimes we might be able to recognise what it is we're worried about but sometimes it can be a 'non-specific' kind of thing - this is where we feel uneasy, but we don't know why. This isn't a nice kind of worry at all.
One in six young Australians are currently experiencing an anxiety condition.
When surveyed, 15.4% of young people reported experiencing some type of anxiety disorder within the last 12 months . In total this is close to 400,000 people.
To worry unnecessarily is to be paralyzed by thoughts of an imagined, mostly troublesome future.
We at IME believe that no young person, or old for that matter, should have to go through life with this kind of weight on their shoulders.
Why do we worry?
Scientists have put their brains together and they think this is the most likely reason for why we worry - to keep safe.
Back in the day (of the saber toothed tiger) our brain would constantly search the environment for dangers or threats. For a lot of people a rustle in a bush meant "ARRRRGH - I'm probably going to die if I don't run away right now!" You can't really blame the brain for being wired this way - back then it was the survival of the fittest and it was just trying to make sure we weren't savagely mauled and eaten.
While this was a handy way to ensure survival, things have changed. Our brain doesn't realise we aren't in that kind of extreme danger anymore - but still preempts a troublesome future as if we were.
With a little practice around knowing how to recognise a worrying thought and seeing it for what it really is - just a thought - we have an opportunity to observe and respond rather than react. And we want to be clear here - there's a big, BIG difference in observing and responding rather than reacting to a worry - or any situation for that matter.
Try to Remember this, it's important.
Mindfulness and meditation help to reduce anxiety.
When mindfulness and meditation were taught to a group of people who had been diagnosed with clinical anxiety it was found that 90% of participants experienced significantly lower levels of worry .
Realising this helps us to understand the potential that mindfulness and meditation have to support wellbeing.
An incredibly empowering realisation: A worry is not what causes suffering, how we respond to a worry is what causes suffering. Try to remember this.
We understand the difficulties of living life with anxiety, no matter the degree. Through reading the above we hope to have armed you with a little more information - maybe something you hadn't heard before or weren't aware of. Why? Because to have an understanding of something (anything) demystifies it, and through demystifying something we are placed in a better position to respond to, and possibly change a situation.
We'll leave you in this section with an incredibly powerful realisation: regardless of your situation, 'this too, shall pass'. Once in a while we think everyone should be reminded of this.
1. Australia Bureau of Statisctics. (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia
2. Kabat-Zinn, J., Massion, A. O., Kristeller, J., Peterson, L. G., Fletcher, K., Pbert, L., Lenderking, W. & Santorelli, S. (1992). Effectiveness of a meditation-based stress reduction program in the treatment of anxiety disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry. 149. 936-943