Dr. Lee

And, yes, it is the most exciting time, too. And that brings up a good point, because it turns out that anxiety and excitement are two sides of the same coin. The same adrenaline rush and heightened senses happens with both. What are the differences?

First of all, what you perceive as anxiety or excitement is based on your past. If you have had a bad encounter with dogs, what is experienced with a friendly Fido is fear and anxiety. Eventually, just the thought of Fido can cause anxiety. Soon, you will begin to dread people and places where you MIGHT encounter dogs.

On the other hand, good encounters with dogs and a reasonable understanding of dog behaviors and warning signs can lead to excitement at meeting our friendly Fido. Preparation is key. If you get into an encounter without understanding dogs then you may, or may not, have a good experience.

Sometimes people have a vision or conception of what will happen in the future. When this conception is inevitably shattered, anxiety can result. Planning is good, but every planner needs to know that sometimes the White Knight that comes to rescue the Princess, isn’t. Sometimes she is just a witch.

Some people can’t say “NO”! I have seen many people vastly overextend themselves. Life is a balance between doing what we love, and what we must. When we spend our time doing things that don’t really matter in favor of things that do, it is a recipe for anxiety, depression and guilt.

Periods of Anxiety tend to last longer than periods of excitement. Because of this, what docs call “somatization” can occur. This is where the underlying anxiety presents as a symptom like headaches and chest pain.

Sometimes you can forget the cause of the anxiety you have. This can result in unbidden, seemingly random anxiety states. This is a situation that give rise to panic attacks. Your mind develops a thought pathway that goes a little like this: “I feel anxious. . . Why do I feel anxious? . . . I don’t know. . . I hope I don’t feel more anxious! . . . I am feeling more anxious!! . . . I hope I don’t get a panic attack! . . . Oh help! I’m having a PANIC ATTACK!”. This is what I call “fear of fear”, and it can be debilitating.

I hope this has helped you to identify why and how you have anxiety. Next time we will discuss how to alleviate anxiety, or at least perceive it differently. The Mona Lisa viewed from the side is just wood. Viewed from the front it is a pretty girl . . . with a smile?

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