By Rachael Dekoning LCMFT, LAC
What most people do not realize about life with anxiety is that a certain amount of it is actually necessary and helpful to well-being. You will notice that too little anxiety leads to inactivity, a lack of motivation and drive, and a general “slacker” attitude. We need anxiety to motivate us to study for tests, excel in our work environment, and work to improve ourselves in all aspects of our life. This is the optimal level of anxiety. Anything above that amount of anxiety can also lead to a lack of productivity. This may be in the form of an inability to concentrate, feeling overwhelmed, avoidance tactics, and maladaptive thinking (i.e. “There is no way I am going to get all this done, so I am not even going to try”).
If you feel you have too much or too little anxiety, I would encourage you to journal about your own levels of low, optimal, and high arousal. Once you have labeled what these levels are like , what are some ways you can counteract too much or too little anxiety? For example, I am aware that if I have too much anxiety I start to go into “all or nothing” thinking. Because I have this awareness, I am able to slow down this thought process when it arises and counteract it with breaking large tasks down into smaller steps. This makes life with anxiety much easier!
What are some ways you counteract too much or too little anxiety? How would you describe the pros and cons of life with anxiety?