How Anxiety Affects Mental Health
Your body has a marvelous process for alerting you to the fact that something is wrong. Whether relatively minor or life threatening, the alert is almost instantaneous. The process of anxiety monitors your well-being 24/7!
This invaluable service occurs automatically and subconsciously when every incoming sensation is filtered through your inventory of basic beliefs. That is, the meaning of each new sensation is compared to the truth of your basic beliefs. If the new sensation is contrary to or at odds with anything that you hold to be true, you perceive it as a threat! Feelings of anxiety and a defense mechanism follow immediately without any conscious effort and perhaps even outside of conscious awareness. The process in brief: stimulus -> basic belief -> threat -> anxiety -> defense mechanism.
Click here for a chart showing the entire Process of Anxiety.
This normal process is so important, so essential to existence, that it replaces rational, cognitive thinking when activated! Anxiety hijacks your thinking mind so that your feeling mind acts only to extricate you from the dilemma. This can cause you to behave in ways that are contrary to your own basic beliefs, making it appear, incorrectly, as if your mental health is impaired! Anxiety itself is not a mental health issue; it is a perfectly normal and essential bodily function.
Anxiety does not take the quality of your mental health into consideration. It will activate a defense mechanism whether the basic belief involved is consistent with or contrary to an inbornintention. To that extent, anxiety has no effect on mental health. However, it is likely that those with healthy mental health experience less anxiety overall than those with compromised mental health.
Anxiety becomes a problem if it is active when you want to take steps to improve your mental health. Improving mental health calls for using introspection to examine your subconscious basic beliefs. Introspection is a high order of cognitive processing that requires attention, concentration and focus. Anxiety hijacks all this while requiring you to attend strictly to protecting yourself from the threat. You must be free of anxiety in order to think clearly and improve your mental health.
Anxiety, effectively managed, is your friend. It tells you when something is wrong, alerting you when you need to take action! You couldn’t have a better friend than that!
Time and space does not permit a full examination of anxiety here. I’m in the final stages of preparing an online course entitled “Thrive by Managing Anxiety Effectively.” The first part is available now for a discounted price that is substantially lower than what the completed course will cost. Those who purchase now will receive the remaining sections when available at no additional cost. Click here for more information.
This series on How to Achieve Healthy Mental Health is now complete. I hope you will take advantage of what it offers. If you SUBSCRIBE by entering your first name and email address on the right side of this page, I’ll send you ideas from time to time on how you can promote healthy mental health within your sphere of influence.
Best wishes. Your healthy mental health helps make the world a bit better place!