The Connection Between Anxiety and Neuroplasticity

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is something we all deal with from time to time. In an era where we are overstimulated with images, sounds and technology it is quite hard for your brain to be able to focus on everything.
Sometimes, this can create a sense of disconnection which in turn triggers a feeling on unease. From that point on, if not dealt with, this feeling can feel frightening as we don’t understand what’s going on. We try to distract ourselves, hide the feeling, deny its existence, but it’s still there.

Anxiety is what we feel when we are worried, tense or afraid for a longer time. It is a normal response of your body when feeling like you’re in danger or in a life-threatening situation. When I become anxious in regards to an exam, work related performance, and so on, this response becomes unhealthy and it can affect your daily routine if I stay in that state of anxiety.

We’ve not been taught by our parents or carers to recognise our feelings, to become aware of them and their purpose. Try to picture feelings as alarm signals that something is happening. You feel the physical sensations, hormones are released and your mind has to come up with a story behind it. We are wired to make sense of our circumstances and we assign meaning to situations, we label people to better be able to structure the information. It’s how the brain works.

Anxiety

Anxiety and Neuroplasticity

Fortunately, for the past 15-20 years neuroscientists (people studying the brain and how it works) have discovered that the brain easily changes the way it works if trained and it rewires thinking patterns in a very fast pace. This actually gives hope and a positive perspective to the future. It means we don’t have to stay stuck in our crippling anxiety but there are ways to deal with it healthily and reassign meaning to our life circumstances.

What you have to remember is that everything we do in life is a process. It takes time to unlearn unhealthy habits and replace them with healthy ones. Think long term. The more effort you put into developing new coping strategies, the more confident you will feel in the future and a new sense of being able to manage things will arise.

You are capable of doing this, of feeling better, of dealing better with your anxiety. Seek professional help, read articles and research related to it. Don’t stop. Don’t give up. There is hope on the other side.

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