Background Anxiety: when symptoms lurk beneath the surface
In this week's podcast we're discussing a question sent in by a listener about background anxiety symptoms that can nag at us when we otherwise feel OK.
Do you think it's possible to be having anxiety symptoms despite the fact that on the surface, I'm thinking everything is ok?
Yes. Anxiety can rumble in the background and cause some symptoms while we're busy thinking about other things.
If you are noticing symptoms you could take it as a nudge from your body to take care. Remember to practice relaxing breathing, EFT tapping, or whatever other tools you choose to calm your anxiety so you continue to look after yourself and address those symptoms before they escalate.
Mindful awareness is very valuable here, you can use it to protect your mind from getting stressed by busyness and multitasking - which is what we tend to jump back into soon as we feel okay. Practice bringing your attention to what you are doing moment by moment. Take time out to notice your breath, and practice being mindful of simple daily tasks and keeping your focus on them rather than letting your mind run off to future concerns.
Does the subconscious have a way of undermining us?
The theory of proactive psychologies like NLP, which teach us how to understand and work with our own minds, is that the subconscious mind is always working to protect us.
It often tries to do that by stopping us re-experiencing physical or emotional pain or trauma. It doesn't want to undermine us but it will influence our gut thinking patterns and responses to try and keep us safe.
In doing so, it may create feelings of unease, or fear, or develop avoidance behaviours but sometimes those behaviours and feelings don't suit our conscious preferences - this is where we can learn and use techniques to upgrade the subconscious mind's methods.
For example, a phobia can stem from one fearful encounter where you have been scared of a spider, snake, etc and the subconscious mind makes an equation that spiders cause you fear so they must be avoided. So you become vigilant about them and keeping away from them. But you can change how you respond, and you can reprogram your subconscious mind to handle things differently.
It's good to listen to your subconscious messages, but to do so objectively and then see what you want to change or upgrade. A good EFT or NLP practitioner can help you with that.
My anxiety has been dormant for a little while, yet occasionally I get faint rumblings of it - but I'm struggling to pinpoint what's causing it, which in turn just steamrolls the symptoms... I tend to brush my symptoms off as anxiety... A counsellor once advised that if my symptoms (which are FOREVER changing) disappear after say three weeks, then more than likely its anxiety...
Yes, pinpointing can zoom you in on the unwelcome symptoms and then they magnify and start disturbing your mind more. Faint rumblings are a great opportunity for general self-kindness, an early warning to keep using what helps you feel safe and calm.
Some of us have spells of these rumblings throughout our entire life, it's OK so long as you learn to listen and adjust. That way you can keep yourself feeling safe and functional.
Sensitive people may get more anxious than others, and the lesson there is to learn to be sensitive to ourselves: to know how to find time to be quiet and practice the techniques that can help us look after ourselves is very important in managing background anxiety.
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