We all deal with anxiety. But when do we know we’re dealing with higher than normal anxiety – and when do we need to act?
Let’s not confuse high anxiety with every day NORMAL anxiety – it can make us believe we’re suffering a lot more than we are.
If you need help distinguishing between the two, take a look at the Rebalance Scale.
Rather than list a ton of anxiety-related symptoms you’ll find all over the internet provided by Dr Google (the type of lists that only serve to increase our anxiety even more), let’s pinpoint how to identify high anxiety from normal anxiety using this one simple question.
Am I able to do everyday things, like go to the shop and see friends, without having to think too much about it?
This question helps you recognise if you’re overthinking – a sure sign of high anxiety.
If the answer to the above question is a clear NO, it’s likely your anxiety levels are above normal.
Anxiety is affecting you more than it should be, making it high anxiety.
With normal anxiety, you can do everyday things like see friends and go to the shop without the need to overthink them. They are just part of what you do.
When high anxiety has a grip on us, our mind races off in a thousand different directions.
Small things bother us.
We overthink every scenario until going to the shop becomes a life-threatening disaster (before we’ve even stepped out of our front door).
It’s the old ‘what ifs…’
What if this…?
What if that…?
This is overthinking at its best (or worse).
Overthinking can get us to a point when it feels abnormal not to worry.
When you don’t worry, you actually go looking for things to worry about!
It’s like worrying becomes a bad habit.
It’s this habit that leads to living in the world of what if…
The world of what if…
When we’re dealing with higher than normal anxiety, we live in what I call the world of what if…
It’s not a nice place to live.
Everything is over the top and exaggerated.
Things are rarely positive, and there isn’t anything to look forward to.
The worse case scenario is the one we believe to be true.
Like when going to see friends, for example – it’s not the pleasurable experience most people get from it – it’s something we dread doing.
Going out for a drink has suddenly turned into absolute panic.
Overthinking causes negative thoughts.
By the time Saturday comes around, you’ve worried so much you end up cancelling.
Overthinking (living in the world of what if…) has created endless stories about all the horrible things that might happen, so you come to the conclusion it’s best not to bother.
These are the stories high anxiety fools us into believing.
We have about 60,000 thoughts a day.
Think about how many of these thoughts actually come true.
The worse case scenario is usually far from reality.
In other words, high anxiety needs a reality check!
And when you check reality by using rational thinking, you’ll start lowering your anxiety levels.
When do I need to act on my anxiety?
If you find yourself overthinking everyday activities, or you’re worrying excessively, or you’re living in the world of what if… for longer than your common sense tells you should, it’s time to act.
If it’s allowed to continue, high anxiety will keep you trapped in a pattern of behaviour that is no good for you. You’ll overthink so much, your brain will think it’s normal to act that way.
Like a bad habit, you’ll continue practising living a life dominated by high anxiety – until you break the pattern.
It’s time to take action, break the pattern, and do something different.
Like the main man, Albert Einstein says:
You have to do something different if you want a different result.
To set yourself on a new journey – one that isn’t plagued by overthinking, worry and high anxiety, you have to start acting in the way you want your life to be.
To achieve it, all it takes is one small step.
That step will lead to bigger and better things.