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Turning Anxiety Into A Superpower?!

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is an intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations.

It’s an emotion marked by tension, negative thoughts and many physical symptoms.

Physical Symptoms Include:

  • Fast Heart Rate: Feeling fearful, anxious or stressed your heart rate goes up.
  • Sweating: Feeling anxious causes nervous sweating.
  • Feeling Tired: Having anxiety can be physically and mentally tiring.
  • Restlessness: Being unable to relax is a common anxiety symptom.
  • Shaking: Shaking and trembling can happen when anxiety gets out of hand.
  • Feeling Nervous, Tense or Fearful: These are feelings that happen with impending doom caused by anxiety.

What Is An Anxiety Disorder?

An anxiety disorder is a chronic condition marked by overly excessive worry and tension about future events.

Anxiety Disorders Include:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Severe, ongoing anxiety that interferes with daily activities. The symptoms are similar to panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other types of anxiety.
  • Social Anxiety: A form of anxiety caused irrational fear, embarrassment and self consciousness brought on by social interactions.
  • Phobia: An extreme fear of irrational fear of something.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): A disorder that leads to repetitive compulsive behaviors.
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A disorder that causes anxiety and flashbacks triggered by a past traumatic event.

How Anxiety Can Be Your Superpower?

There are many people that live with anxiety disorders that have different brains.

Different Brain

Someone with chronic anxiety has a brain that functions differently than someone who doesn’t have it. They have an overactive amygdala, which is a region of the brain involved with regulating emotions.

An overactive amygdala explains why someone with chronic anxiety over generalizes and overthinks.

Different Perspective

People with chronic anxiety tend to see the world from a different perspective. This is due to overgeneralization, along with having abilities that someone without an anxiety disorder is less likely to have. 

These Abilities Include:

  • Increased Empathy: Anxiety causes you to recognize another person’s emotional state.
  • Creativity: Anxiety disorders can lead to creativity. There are artists, actors and writers who suffer from anxiety issues. The artist Edvard Munch had an anxiety disorder. An anxiety episode drove him to paint “The Scream”.
  • Higher IQ: Many people with anxiety disorders tend to have higher IQ’s. A symptom of anxiety is compulsive thinking and tendencies to compulsively analyze those thoughts.
  • Ability To Read Other People’s Vibes: Someone with an anxiety disorder is able to sense the energetic balance of those around them. Anxiety disorders lead to a preoccupation with negative outcomes. This makes it worse to be around someone who gives off a negative vibe.
  • Easily Pick Up On Lies: Negative self-talk that defines chronic anxiety can enhance your ability to detect dishonesty.
  • Has A Sixth Sense: A sixth sense is a natural ability to keep one step ahead. It allows warning signals to quickly reach the regions of your brain that help you take action.

My Personal Experience With Living With An Anxiety Disorder

All of my life I’ve had ADHD. It’s a disorder that can occur alongside bipolar disorder. 

ADHD symptoms include impulsiveness, trouble with focusing on tasks, being hyperactive and restless and having trouble with regulating emotions.

Over time my symptoms started changing, as young as 11 years old I started having panic attacks.

I also had problems with negative self-talk and overgeneralization.

Overgeneralization refers to viewing a single event as a set rule. I would fail at finishing one task and it led to an endless pattern of defeat in all tasks. It started off as a negative emotion that came with a setback. It convinced me that no one liked me and I couldn’t do anything right. 

My changing symptoms included worsening anxiety that led to a nervous breakdown.

Change In Perception

How I perceived the world and myself was affected by overgeneralization. However, I learned to challenge my thoughts with reframing.

What Is Reframing?

Reframing is a process where negative and unhelpful thoughts are identified and replaced with positive and empowering ones.

Learn how to see anxiety as a picture. When you make a picture either bigger or smaller it can change how you perceive it.

Anxiety is your natural alarm system. Most people see it as an unpleasant emotion, because of uncomfortable bodily sensations, especially if you have an anxiety disorder.

These emotions can be reframed to be seen as having an important purpose.

Anxiety tells us when some kind of danger is near, but it can also tell us that opportunity is near. For example having a sixth sense gives you the power of perception. It’s a natural ability to know about things before other people.

Having a sixth sense can tell you that a setback is around the corner. However it can be reframed to tell you that there’s a silver lining to your setback and that it’s an opportunity to move into something better.

How Do You Handle Your Negative Thoughts?

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Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety-symptoms

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961

https://thebrain.mcgill.ca/flash/d/d_04/d_04_cr/d_04_cr_peu/d_04_cr_peu.html

https://culturacolectiva.com/technology/anxiety-is-a-superpower

https://www.verywellmind.com/reframing-defined-2610419

https://www.mentalhelp.net/self-esteem/changing-negative-thoughts/

https://www.verywellmind.com/the-purpose-of-anxiety-2797497