Anxiety frequently has an underlying or root cause that may be addressed, allowing us to achieve our objectives and live more fulfilled lives. Someone might be concerned and anxious at work because they don’t believe in their own ability to achieve. Someone else may have grown up in a home that emphasised independence, making them fearful of seeking assistance. This article will address why it’s important to explore the roots of your anxiety and actionable tips to delve deeper.
Are you a hamster running on an endless wheel of stress, anxiety, and worries? All you really are doing is going around and around in circles and never really getting relief. Or maybe you get relief, but it is short-lived. Your relief happens when you step off that wheel to take a break or maybe you have fallen out of that wheel, whether you were able to take a break or not. But soon, you find yourself back on that wheel again and just going around and around, like an endless rollercoaster.
And it is not just the anxiety that gets to you. Like a rollercoaster, you find yourself going through a whole range of unwanted emotions. From anger to fear, from feeling hopeless and depressed to guilt and even hatred.
Why can’t you get permanent relief? You’ve tried everything! (or so it feels!) You are even on medication, which is meant to make you feel better, and yet – you are not! You just want it to end! You just want your old life back!
My name is Ghitta and I am a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Psychotherapist, Mind MeDiator, and Mental Health Consultant.
The first thing we learn when embarking on our course of the mind is to find the ROOT cause. If you don’t know where the clients’ anxiety is coming from, how can you help them heal? Often, individuals are this hamster on a wheel. Wanting the anxiety to end and only stopping when forced to stop because they are so exhausted and can’t do anything else.
Most people want a magic pill or someone to wave a magic wand and POOF! let this anxiety be gone!
Sadly, it will never be as easy as that.
You see, the anxiety didn’t just happen overnight. It took weeks, and months, and years to develop. YOU did this. Your Mind. Your Thinking. Yes, situations and experiences played a huge role. Things that were out of your control, but ultimately, it is how you dealt with these situations that created your anxiety.
Unfortunately, most people are ill-equipped to deal with stressful or traumatic situations. Maybe they were too young, maybe they didn’t have support, maybe they thought what they were doing to cope was the right way, maybe they didn’t want to ask for help, maybe they thought they don’t need therapy…. Whatever the reason is, the point is -you created this anxiety.
The beauty of this is though that anything that you learned can be unlearned!
Yes, it will take time, it will take effort and it won’t be easy. However, the journey to get rid of your anxiety will be much easier than being stuck with your anxiety or even your level of anxiety for the rest of your life.
Why is it so critical to identify the root cause of your anxiety?
Let’s look at this in more depth. Like I mentioned before, your anxiety didn’t happen overnight, and you may not even have been born with it.
Certain people are more genetically prone to have anxiety because their parents had it, but it doesn’t mean you WILL have anxiety and it certainly doesn’t mean you have to have such a high level of anxiety. Anxiety can be managed, sometimes completely eradicated.
It is pointless for you to run around (on your wheel of life) and not know when or where your anxiety started. Taking medication can certainly help mask the intense feelings of anxiety, but it is still not DEALING with the anxiety.
Let’s first look at what causes anxiety disorders:
Genetics. I have previously mentioned genes and that you could inherit your anxiety from your parents. Some people appear to be born with a higher level of anxiety than others.
Life experience is important. This could include negative experiences such as trauma, physical or mental abuse, even the death of a loved one. It could also refer to major life changes such as getting married, relocating, losing your job, becoming pregnant, or losing a baby or miscarriage.
Drugs. Coffee, energy drinks, and alcohol, all of which contain caffeine, might make you feel uneasy and anxious. Illegal substances, commonly known as street drugs, have the potential to cause harm as well and increase your anxiety levels.
Circumstances. Sometimes you can pinpoint the source of your anxiety. When the issue is resolved, so is your anxiety.
If you know WHERE your anxiety is coming from, you are actually able to do something about it.
If you are genetically prone to anxiety, then even small things in your life will trigger you. You need to find out what those triggers are. Triggers can be Physiological, like trauma, fatigue, hormone imbalances, substance abuse, etc., it can be Psychological, like emotional stress, worry, guilt, your perceptions of life, etc. or it could be Psychosocial like relationship issues, lack of support, isolation, loss of a loved one, etc.
So first things first would be to identify your stressors. Where is all your anxiety coming from? Sometimes we know, sometimes we don’t know, but you can’t do anything about changing your levels of anxiety until you’ve sat down and gone through a process and plan to track your triggers.
A well-trained therapist can also assist. Sometimes we are too stuck in our own problems that we cannot see clearly, or we only focus on one single thing and do not look at the bigger picture. A qualified hypnotherapist and delve even deeper into the subconscious mind and find the roots going back to when you were a child or even a specific situation. It may even be a situation you have blocked from your memory because or was so traumatic or maybe it was just too long ago you really can’t remember it. That is the ultimate ROOT CAUSE where the therapist can begin to help you heal.
Remember, everything we learned can be unlearned. Our perceptions, our view of the world, the stories we tell ourselves, the way we deal with stressful situations, the way we interpret life, all of these are learned behaviours. All of which causes you anxiety because of the way you view the world. Once you know your root cause and can identify your triggers, you can start to heal and appropriately deal with your anxiety. Most of the time you would need the help of a professional to teach you the correct coping strategies to better deal with future situations.
Actionable tips to help you explore the roots of your anxiety in any situation?
As I have mentioned before, it is very important to identify what triggers your anxiety.
STEP 1: Identify your triggers:
- Intense physical labour/over exertion
- Enviromental pollution
- Illness (viral or bacterial)
- Inadequate Oxygen supply
- Low blood sugar
- Hormonal/biochemical imbalances
- Dietary stress
- Substance abuse
- Emotional Stress (resentment, fears, anger, frustration, grief)
- Cognitive Stress (information overload, worry, guilt, shame, anxiety, panic, perfectionism)
- Perceptual stress (beliefs, stories, attitudes)
- Psychosocial Stress
- Relationship/marriage difficulties (partner, siblings, kids, family, employer, co workers etc)
- Lack of social support
- Loss of employment/savings or investment
- Loss of loved one
- Home foreclosure
Step 2: Analyze your life
Also, look at your life.
What do you eat and/or drink? Are you eating healthy food? Are you consuming energy drinks, too much alcohol, or coffee? Are you drinking enough water? Taking drugs?
Do your parents suffer from anxiety?
What has happened in your past (even during childhood) or is currently happening in your life?
Have you been abused? Have you gone through trauma? Are you overstressed at work or in a relationship?
How do you deal with anxiety? What are your go-to coping strategies? Are they serving you or actually just making things worse? Are they keeping you in a comfort zone?
What else should you know about delving deeper into the root cause of anxiety?
Anxiety can be absolutely debilitating. It can cause havoc across your entire life and affect every part of your life.
The sooner you get help, the right help, the better it will be.
Track your anxiety levels. How does it affect your life?
Are you coping?
Are you scraping by?
Is it affecting most of your life?
Do you feel hopeless and fearful and unable to cope?
Do you feel like you cannot continue like this anymore?
I am a therapist and usually see clients when they are at breaking point. This is TOO LATE!
If you were to place your everyday anxiety on a scale of 1-10, where will it be o average over the last 2 weeks?
If you say a 1 or 2, keep an eye on it, but the moment you reach a 3 of 4 (yes, that low), you need to reach out for professional help. As a therapist, most people only come and see me when they reach a 7, 8 or even 9!
It is so much harder for me to get you back down to a level 3. It also takes so much longer. The key is, to get you back to as normal as possible, as soon as possible.
I am also a hypnotherapist and psychotherapist. Both work equally well for anxiety and each modality has its own ways and methods that help, however, I can personally highly recommend doing hypnotherapy or similar where you dive deep into the subconscious mind and not just do therapy on a conscious level. There is just too much hidden sometimes that you can’t even remember, and it will help you to truly get to the root cause of anxiety.
Find your root cause, find your triggers, get professional help and start tackling your anxiety from the bottom. Don’t just treat (or mask) the symptoms.
if you’d like help to find the root cause of your anxiety, click here to find out more.