A simple definition of anxiety is a personal reaction to a situation, where the you feel fear, alarm, fright or panic that is out of proportion to the actual threat.
If you are feeling anxious about a future event, you also feel uncertain and helpless when you think about that event.
The definition of anxiety is not simple, as there are many degrees of anxiety. For example, most children experience some mild anxiety on the first day of school, or you may have felt anxious when you were learning to drive. That is normal.
And to make things even more complicated, you can have mild anxiety during a brief crisis, or you can have prolonged or chronic anxiety–which can completely disable you.
The Definition of Anxiety Includes Physical Symptoms
Even normal mild anxiety has a physical reaction in your body. When you are anxious, you start to sweat, your pulse gets faster and you start to breathe faster.
If you are anxious about speaking in front of a group, you might also have an upset stomach and your hands might shake or tremble.
While these symptoms may be alarming to you, it is important to remember that anxiety starts in your mind. You convince yourself that there is a danger or concern, and your emotions and body take over, “proving” to yourself that the danger is real.
Is Anxiety Normal?
Everyone experiences anxiety in his life, from time to time. For example, most people have some level of fear, apprehension or anxiety before they take an important exam, before a job interview, or before speaking in public.
People often worry (some) about grades, health, family matters, their children, their job, or about finances. All this is normal anxiety, if it is not extreme.
Sometimes a little concern or anxiety can get us moving. It can be the stimulus that helps us solve a problem or initiate action. It can be the force that gives us “drive”.
Out of Control Anxiety
While mild anxiety is a normal part of our lives, when anxiety becomes chronic or long term, intense, or it interferes with your everyday life, it becomes an anxiety disorder or a phobia.
The definition of anxiety then can include anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders can completely disable you–if not brought under control!
Out of control anxiety is extreme. For example, someone who is afraid of spiders might jump up on a chair, screaming, if she saw a spider on the floor.
If you think about it, that reaction is rather extreme. Under even the most trying circumstances, there would be a calmer and more reasonable way to handle seeing a spider.
Fortunately, if anxiety is getting the best of you, you can get over your fear and anxiety, using hypnosis by an experienced clinical therapist.
For really serious anxiety, you may need to seek the help of a mental health professional, and you may need the help of anxiety medication, until you get things under control.