t’s your first day on the job. You’re at a meeting of 40+ colleagues.
“Listen up every one, here’s our newest team member!”
All eyes turn to you.
“Why don’t you introduce yourself and tell us all an interesting fact about you?”
Adrenaline levels? 11/10.
All words gone, replaced by sub-Saharan dry mouth.
Blushing, trembling or total amnesia…Sound familiar?
You’re not alone. In fact, you’re in the majority.
This is just one of the many common types of anxiety we can experience. Whether it’s social gatherings you’ve talked yourself out of, holding back at work in fear of judgement, or catastrophizing situations before they happen, anxiety can manifest itself in different ways for all of us.
If this is a daily battle for you — an exhausting and defeating inner battle that’s preventing you from truly living authentically and being in the moment — then you should be applauded. You’re already ahead of the pack because you’ve made that conscious decision to find out what anxiety is and how to overcome it
What You Need to Know About Anxiety
Did you know that nearly 300 million people suffer from anxiety in some form? These feelings of worry, nervousness, or unease that arise in reaction to (or in anticipation of) something painful or uncertain are, sadly, “normal” feelings to experience.
It may be normal because many people experience it, but it’s not something you were born with (although there are some genetic tendencies that can mean you’re more prone to it). It’s actually something your brain has learned how to do.
Have you ever seen an anxious or self-conscious baby? Coming out of the womb worrying if they sound weird or look funny? So you see, anxiety is something that we’ve learned to do. It’s “normal” because a lot of us have learned it.
How? Glad you asked…
The Subconscious Mind: A Friend or Foe?
To understand how anxiety can be “learned,” it’s crucial to understand that anxiety isn’t something that happens on a conscious level. It begins in the subconscious mind. It’s the reason you can’t just switch the anxiety off (as much as you want to!) because it’s not a conscious process.
The distinction between the conscious and subconscious was effectively illustrated by Sigmund Freud’s iceberg analogy. He likened the tip of the iceberg – the bit that sits above the water – to the conscious mind. It’s the bit we can “see,” and it’s the smaller of the two. It’s the least informed and it helps you talk, think, move, and act in daily interactions.
For example, if you’re hungry or if you trip and hurt yourself, your conscious mind sends the signal to get food or find painkillers