As you go through life and enter recovery, you want to make sure that you make healthy decisions. You also want to ensure your actions do not produce negative consequences for your social, occupational, and personal life. So, you need an emotion that nobody likes: you need anxiety. While this may seem counterintuitive in our anti-anxiety culture, anxiety is often necessary for every aspect of our lives.
Anxiety is one of those emotions that everybody loves to hate. However, researchers are starting to realize that some anxiety is good for you. Anxiety, as you know, is a feeling of nervousness when dealing with stressful situations. These stressful situations can be as small as talking to your neighbor, or as big as dealing with your boss at work. In both situations, too much anxiety will limit your ability to communicate. However, if you have no anxiety, you may end up with your neighbor hating you, or, in the case of talking to your boss, maybe losing your job.
Too much anxiety is detrimental to your health and your life. Feeling overwhelmed most of the time is not normal and is why many people seek relief through alcohol and/or other substances. People also use food and avoidance tactics to evade the overwhelming feelings of anxiety that may cripple them in their daily lives. Too much anxiety can lead to bad decisions on how to deal with the anxiety. The decisions you make to avoid anxiety may leave you without enough anxiety to avoid repercussions from your actions.
So, a little bit of anxiety is always a good thing.
Two Benefits of Anxiety
#1. Anxiety Provides Inhibition
With some anxiety, comes inhibition. As explained earlier, you want some anxiety to ensure you do not march into your boss’ office and demand things. Instead, you want to be able to communicate effectively. You also want to operate with some self-control to ensure no major repercussions from your actions.
When you are young, you have limited inhibitions, because you have not learned about the real-world consequences of your actions. Thus, you tend to engage in risky behaviors. You also tend to have tantrums as a toddler and “fly off the handle” in your teens. With a healthy sense of anxiety, you have the foresight to know these actions are unhelpful and can have serious consequences.
As you enter adulthood, you recognize the importance of inhibition to manage your responses and ensure you make better decisions. Without your anxiety providing some inhibition, you may find yourself on the wrong side of the law and making very poor choices in your life.
#2. Anxiety Ensures Follow-Through
When you were in high school and had a big paper due, you might have put it off until the last minute. You did not feel the urgency of getting the paper finished. Then, the night before, you find yourself pulling an all-nighter just to ensure you have the proper word count. The paper may not be perfect, but it is finished and you can turn in something. This is an example of how anxiety produces follow-through. Without any anxiety, a person would have figured a zero in the grade book was no big deal and there were no real-world consequences. When that person does not graduate with his/her peers, there will likely be an element of surprise for them.
When working or engaging with others, having this healthy level of anxiety ensures your ability to get things accomplished and your ability to communicate all that is needed. Having anxiety ensures follow-through.
Things to Remember
Anxiety is not always negative. In fact, anxiety is an incredibly helpful emotion as you navigate life. As children and young adults, we often do not have enough anxiety to ensure we make the right decisions. However, as adults, we absolutely must have enough anxiety to ensure proper decision-making skills.
Too much anxiety can be crippling and might need treatment from a doctor, or can be addressed in therapy. Exercising mindfulness can naturally reduce your anxiety. Practicing breathing and developing methods to deal with stressful situations are just a couple of ways to help manage anxiety and bring that troublesome emotion back to healthy levels.
Another way to deal with some social interactions that cause you a great deal of stress is to practice managing those situations in a manner that is conducive to your wants and needs. Working with a therapist, or in a group, can help ensure you can learn how to manage anxiety and cope with stressful situations.
Managing anxiety by numbing it away with substances is one way to ensure you do not have enough anxiety to ensure a healthy and happy life.
Anxiety is an emotion with which many people wrestle. Having too much anxiety may lead you to make bad decisions on how to manage that pesky emotion; however, anxiety is not always a bad emotion to have. Recovery requires overcoming behaviors that may have led you to make bad decisions and wreaked havoc on many aspects of your life. If you or someone you know is struggling with overcoming addiction to alcohol and/or other substances, there is help and hope for a better life. At Renaissance Ranch, we offer hope and healing for every aspect of recovery. We offer a gospel-centered approach to treatment that is clinically driven. We believe in hope for your future and want to help you build a better life. Call Renaissance Ranch today at (801) 308-8898 and learn how you can deal with anxiety in a healthy way and build the life you deserve. You are not alone, and help is available.