Anxiety is a false fear, a state of mind which reflects the absence reality. Here we say that it reflects absence of reality because it is completely baseless that is, it has nothing to do with the present and lies in our thoughts in the form of our past or future. It is a physiological and psychosomatic condition of human mind which is an amalgamation of four components namely emotional, behavioral, sensual and cognitive. It gives rise to feelings like uneasiness, worry, fear, apprehension etc. Anxiety is not specific; a person may feel anxious anytime, about anything around him. There is no particular reason for its occurrence. As an instance, while going for examination one might feel anxious or while walking down a long deserted road at late night.
We can describe anxiety to be an emotional state that is future oriented, this means that it generally occur in absence of any sort of certain prompting condition. In such a situation one prepares himself so as to defend him against the probabilistic unpleasant situations. Anxiety mainly focuses on upcoming unpleasant situations, subtle fears and possible actions of caution. Many a time it lasts for long span of time. Anxiety causes various physical changes in the body of the person experiencing it such as fatigue, stomach aches, heart palpitations, nausea, agitation, irritability, nerve-racking, foot tapping etc. These symptoms are short lived as lasts as long as the state of anxiety does.
Effects of anxiety on life and relationships:
Anxiety acts as a barricade to a life full of contention. A person suffering from anxiety not only damages its emotional state but his physical state as well. Anxiety acts an agent that deteriorates the health of a person in several ways. It causes dizziness, stomach upsets, heart palpitations, muscle tensions and many more. However these problems may cure or get fixed by themselves but apart from them they can cause severe damages to relationships. A person’s past leaves great effect on his thoughts and principles. It also makes people anxious in their present. Our thoughts reflect our past; if in our past we experience betrayal then it becomes our tendency to doubt people in our present. This is because of our fear, our anxiety which arises from our thoughts. However it would be wrong to call it fear because fear is sensible, it has some grounds while anxiety lacks a firm ground. It is always in our thoughts and not reality and these thoughts arise from our experiences in past and worries about future and do not allow us to live in our present.
We are always anxious about our present, we think of making money through investment but we are anxious about stock market failure, we think of getting married but we are anxious about the character and thoughts of the person we have chosen, we think of visiting new places but we are anxious about accidents and it goes on. There can be no end to it. But in our anxiety we fail to accept the present, we miss our present and fail to enjoy it to the fullest. We respect our relationships but in our anxiety we doubt our partner as well. It not only seizes away our contention but also bring miseries and troubles by affecting our relationships badly. There is only one thing which is true and that is our present. There is a fine line of demarcation between past, present and future. We think and of future in a moment and that moment are lost and it has now become a past which can never be brought back. Life is to live but we waste this beautiful gift o God in our anxieties and worries.
Anxiety v/s fear:
Anxiety and fear though used as similar terms are entirely different in concept. While fear is intelligent, anxiety is not. We call fear as intelligent because it arises from analytical thinking of a person which respect to current circumstances. Anxiety is only our reaction to circumstances and happenings in past and our supposed happenings of future, in current situation that might be similar but may also be our supposition. With this respect we can say that anxiety is not real while far is. Take for example, if a snake passes our way we fear since it may bite us. While if we assume, while walking down a road, the presence of a snake in a bush then we are becoming anxious. This means that the cause of anxiety is never clear or is imprecise while the cause and the origin of fear are clear, understandable and logical. Anxiety is not real and visionary it is instead, imaginary. Anxiety arises from the depth of our thoughts. Our thoughts are always affected by our childhood, past experiences and to an extent by our surroundings and happenings around us. These thoughts get settled deep within our sub conscious mind. Whenever we face a similar situation, or make an assumption of it, our mind quickly reacts to it. This reaction comes in the form of anxiety. This is why generally our heat palpitates, and our pulse rate increases while we are anxious because we know the disaster that the situation may cause to us. Fear has a specific source, like some fear from public speaking, some fear from dancing or anything else while the source of anxiety is never specific and also there is no particular pattern of it.
Causes of anxiety:
Anxiety is all about our past and future. We tend to live either in our past or in our future and we neglect the soul truth that is present. Have you ever noticed the web of a spider? If so then you must know that all its strands are connected to each other in a real complex way such that isolating any one from the other is nearly impossible. Similar is the case with our thoughts, they are all linked up with each other has formed a web even complex than that of a spider. Our reactions to happenings around us are controlled by our thoughts solely. We experience guilt, resentment, spiritual confusions, worry and a mixture of all these emotions whenever we find ourselves in trouble and our reaction is controlled by all these factors. Guilt arises from our doings which are against our ethics so if in our present we see a situation similar to our past which led us to the guilt, then we retaliate which is often in the form of anxiety.
We experience emotional injuries very often and such injuries leave back a deep mark on our mind and thoughts. Take for instance, a child who has faced the injuries of separation of his father and mother in his childhood shall always fear from it in his relationship as well and this might be a dominating factor for his doubts and suspicion in his partner. It might also become a reason for his separation.
There is absolutely no end to our worries, we think of solution for one and there arises two there after it. Worries are always about our future but our past has a major contribution towards it. A stock broker who has once faced a huge loss in stock markets shall always be anxious while investing for the next time because he is worried about his future and his worry has aroused from his past experience.
Spiritual conflicts are all about our learning since future. We have learned several things since our childhood, some were taught o us from our parents, some were grasped by us by looking at the society and happenings around us and tend to assume such learning to be the universal truth. Our ideas are formed with such basic learning constructs. We take a brick and join it with the other one and so on to reach a conclusion. However if at some time we discover any one of these basic learning to be false then a conflict arises in our mind and it becomes a cause of our anxiety. There can be numerous such causes for our anxieties but we can conclude that the building block of all our anxieties is our past.
Demerits/ Merits of anxiety:
Anxiety can cause severe damages to your individuality; it can become a cause of depersonalization. Depersonalization is a phenomenon in which an individual stats losing its individuality and feels a sort of severance from your being. Such individual experiences removal, or disembodiment, or cut off from their own being. They assume themselves to be disconnected from others who watch his doings and thinking from far distant. This absurd sensation can hold for quite a long time and if it happens very frequent then a person may start losing his individuality. Apart from it few observe the sensation of derealization as well. A person who gets severed from people and happenings around him is said to be derealized. Such people assume them to be different from this world; they think of unreal things and this is all the more peculiar. This happens mainly because people at while experiencing anxiety often focus only on their own thoughts and emotions often neglecting the reality and an obvious consequence of it is observed in the form of the two. Apart from this such people often fear being judged by others and because of this, they try to get away from things and events where people can judge them. It may even result in loss of jobs which is all focused upon judgments.
The above discussed are just psychological demerits of anxiety, it also causes physical problems to people experiencing. The major ones are discussed above. Insomnia is also one among them; anxiety does not let a person sleep because their thoughts are all occupied with possible dangers around him and he is always busy finding solutions for his problems which often unreal. At times this emotion grows so much intense that it takes the form of social phobia.
Cure of anxiety:
Once there used to be a monk named Bokuju. Every day he would call his name aloud and then would reply to himself saying, “Yes, I am here”. His disciples used to observe this everyday and one day, out of curiosity they finally asked their teacher, why did he called his name and then reply to himself. The monk then replied, “When we delve into our thoughts it is very essential for us to be conscious. In lack of consciousness we might take right to be wrong. By calling myself and replying to my call, I wake my slept consciousness. Once my conscious is awake, I do not need to fear my thoughts. My process of thinking is obstructed by my conscious”. This is very basic and deep process to get out of anxiety. Our conscience may mislead us at times but our consciousness will not. Therefore it is very important to be alert while we are in the process of thinking. Anxiety appears because we are not able to make the difference between the right and the wrong.
There are numerous exercises in meditation that can help us awaken our consciousness and after we do so we can identify the objectiveness of the soul truth. Whenever you find yourself in the storm of your thoughts, let you eyes be closed and concentrate over the thoughts flowing through your mind. Speak out aloud each sentence that passes your thoughts. This is a technique of emphasizing our desires by overcoming the unconsciousness within us. In the procedure of repeating the thoughts that pass through our mind we seize the energy that is associated with oppressions of our emotional confusions. This will cause self observation with the person and the person becomes aware, that is his conscious is now awake. Under such a situation, he will not fall prey to anxiety because now he can make a judgment.
Inanimate things, plants, birds, animals, do not feel anxiety because they are unconscious; neither do the saints feel because they are conscious. However man lies somewhere in between this unconsciousness and complete consciousness and hence he is anxious. It is however not possible for us to reach the extent of complete unconsciousness however the stage of almost complete consciousness can be acquired. This does not happen in a day or two. It requires a lot of practice and patience. The great saints about whom we have read in history and mythology took years to reach this stage. Meditation is most convenient pathway for reaching there. It will not only help in overcoming anxiety but will eradicate all sort of negativity from within.