Oh no, we think, I’m starting to feel anxious. The minute we start telling ourselves an anxious story about our anxiety, our anxiety starts building. Anxiety disorder is the leading mental health disorder among adults in America. Millions of people are struggling with anxiety every minute of every day, fighting the anxious stories their anxiety is trying to tell them. Fear builds upon fear, and the entire fear-response system starts to get confused. We previously believed that we had just three responses to fear and anxiety- fight, flight, or freeze. Now we understand that there are many more “F’s” we can dive into as our story about anxiety starts to take shape. Most often, we see our anxiety as a villain in our lives. When the treacherous anxiety comes riding into town we feel paralyzed, debilitated, resentful, exhausted, more anxious. What if we were able to change that storyline and make our anxiety empowering? Granted, anxiety comes in intervals. Some days anxiety is manageable, a friend rather than a foe. Other days anxiety gets the better of us and it is too much for us to manage. If we can learn to identify our anxious feelings with curiosity and mindfulness before we transform our fears into a horror movie of our own mind we might be able to use our anxiety productively. Within each common mental illness is a wealth of powerful traits. Anxiety, for example, is high energy. Depression is deep insight and connection to emotion. People find it difficult to relate to these perspectives because the pervasive story about mental health conditions tell a different tale. Research published in the Journal of Individual Differences recently proposed and looked into whether or not high stress and anxiety could be an advantage rather than a disadvantage. Anxiety does change and strain the brain, to an extent. This research found that it is how people experience their anxiety and how people respond to their anxiety (the story they tell and how they act on it) which makes or breaks their anxiety. “Anxiety-motivation”, the researchers labeled it, is what drives people toward greater success creating motivation out of their anxiety instead of inhibition.
When you change your story, you can change your life. This is our core philosophy at Oceanfront Recovery, a residential treatment center for substance use and dual diagnosis mental health disorders. Our innovative therapy approach helps create a new story of recovery while supplying men and women with the tools and life experience they need for success. Call us today for information on our residential and long-term programs of care: 877.279.1777