In keeping with our policy of publishing relevant ‘Guest Posts’, I am delighted to publish this one which was submitted to us by Chris Worfolk from over at ‘worfolkanxiety.com‘.
Chris is the author of ‘Technical Anxiety: The Complete Guide to What Is Anxiety And What To Do About It’ and writes his personal experiences in the aforementioned blog.
I am thankful to Chris for sending this Guest Post to us and hope that this post is both information and helpful to you all…
5 Things You Don’t Realise Your Anxiety Causes You To Do
Anxiety is a tricky beast. Sometimes it is easy to spot. When you’re at the top of the rollercoaster, for example, it is fairly easy to diagnose that racing heart, tight chest and tingling feeling.
Other times, it is less easy to spot, though. I often find myself doing things that I only later realise is because of anxiety. Over the years, I have become pretty good at spotting my personal behaviours.
Below, I have listed five. See if any of them resonate with you.
Constantly checking your phone.
Do you know where your phone is right now? Probably, right? I know where mine is: it is never more than an arm’s reach away.
Why? Because it is our connection to the outside world. What happens if there is an emergency and someone needs to get in contact with us immediately. What if we have an emergency and need to call for help?
Often, it isn’t even as serious as that. We might be worried about getting an email from work, or worry that if we don’t read every single Facebook update, we are going to miss a vital post from a friend and make a faux pas at our next social gathering.
Or maybe it is just that our phone provides a distraction from being with our own thoughts. Filled with games and interactive apps, we never need to pause to think about whether we are really happy. Which we’re scared to do, in case the answer is no.
Saying yes to everything
Anxious people are often busy people. Why? People give us things to do because they know they will get done.
This makes a lot of sense. If you worry about everything, then you are going to worry about getting that job done. Having too much on my to-do list stresses me out. So people ask us to do stuff.
The problem is that we struggle to say no. This, believe it or not, is a form of social anxiety. “How does that work?” you may wonder. After all, you may feel you have no problems in a social situation.
But there is another form of social anxiety: a need to be pleased and be liked. Deep down, social anxiety is driven be a fear of exclusion. And many of us fear that if we say no to people, they will stop liking us and we will lose all of our friends and die.
Of course, it’s the twenty-first century, and we won’t die anymore. But our caveman’s brains haven’t changed much. The fear is still there. So we say yes to everything, even though we are already overloaded.
Checking whether you have locked the door
Last week I left my apartment, walked down to flights of stairs, and then stopped. Had I locked the door? I strained to remember. Then I dithered about what to do. Finally, I became angry at myself for being unsure, before trudging back up the stairs to check the door.
It was locked. Of course it was. It is always locked. We lock the door automatically every time we go out. We do it on autopilot, which is why we do not remember doing it.
But, when you have anxiety, you also panic that you haven’t done it. Your mind begins catastrophising. “I haven’t locked it. I will get robbed. And lose all of my stuff. And I won’t be able to replace it. And I’ll go bankrupt. And end up living under a bridge.”
Maybe it isn’t the front door for you. Maybe it’s your car. Or checking if you turned the stove off. Or the tap. Or the light. Anxiety is a memory disorder: it leads us to distrust our own minds.
Checking in with your friends
Have you noticed that you always seem to be the one that is organising social gatherings? That your friends are always pleased to see you, but rarely suggest hanging out?
It’s not because they don’t like you. It’s just that most people are too busy with their personal lives to think about their friends. But, when you have anxiety, you care about other people more. You worry about your friends. And that reminds you to check in with them.
So, having anxiety is not all bad. It comes with some nice bonuses: like remembering to see how your friends are doing.
Last year, I was at a football tournament. It was cloudy, rainy and cold. Then, about half way through, the clouds disappeared. Brilliant sun rolled out from behind them.
The only problem: nobody had brought sun cream. Why would you on a cold and cloudy day?
Nobody except me. I had some factor 50 with me. You know, in case the sun came out. It’s the same reason that I have a first aid kit in my car and a fire blanket in my kitchen. When you have anxiety, you fear the worst, but you also plan for it.
If you ever go on an expedition, make sure you take someone who struggles with anxiety. Whatever the emergency is, they will have planned for it.
Anxiety is now always easy to spot. Often, it can affect our behaviour without evening noticing it. However, it’s not all bad. Sometimes it is debilitating, such as compulsively checking our phones and doors, or taking on too many tasks. But it can also make us more prepared and lead to us being better people.
[Editor’s Comment: As I said above, I am very grateful to Christ for sharing this post with us. If you have found this post interesting or if anything shared in resonate with you why not pop over and check out Chris’s blog at http://www.worfolkanxiety.com ]