The Main Driver of Anxiety and How To Overcome

by CapCareAdmin on August 27, 2015

Anxiety has a purpose. While anxiety may feel uncomfortable and overwhelming at times, there is a reason why it lies in all of us.

Feelings of anxiety begin to occur when faced with a challenge. When faced with a challenge, we will evaluate our skills and ability to successfully complete the challenge in comparison with the difficulty of the challenge. The higher our perceived discrepancy between our estimated abilities and difficulty of the challenge, the more likely we will experience anxiety. Ergo, anxiety’s purpose is to prepare us to avoid or prevent dangerous situations where our skills do not match up to the difficulty of the challenge. So how do we overcome these feelings and physiological responses that are built within our system? In many situations individuals may experience high levels of anxiety because their perceptions are inaccurate. Therefore, we can decrease anxiety by simply changing our perception of our skills and abilities as well as our perception of the difficulty of the task at hand.

Despite the negative connotations above, researchers have found that small to moderate amounts of anxiety is good, and may lead individuals to perform better at tasks. Anxiety begins to negatively impact an individual when their level of anxiety reaches past a certain tipping point. Researchers illustrate the positive and negative relationship between anxiety and performance by using the “Inverted U” curve. Imagine a graph with the shape of a mountain. Anxiety is on the X-axis and performance is on the Y-axis. As anxiety increases along the X-axis, performance increases along the Y-axis, up to a certain point (the top of the mountain) at which anxiety continues to increase along the X-axis and our performance drops along the Y-axis.

As a result of the “Inverted U” curve, low to moderate levels of anxiety over a short period of time keep us alert and tasked-focused, as well as motivate us to rise to the challenge at hand. However, beyond a certain point, too much anxiety begins to negatively impact our performance. Our ability to concentrate diminishes as our attention begins to shift away from an outward focus on the task, and towards an inward focus on ourselves. Furthermore, we may become vulnerable to biases in our thinking, causing us to incorrectly judge our ability to perform in the situation. For example, we may think to ourselves, “my performance is terrible,” or “I will never succeed in this task.” Finally, when anxiety overstays its welcome, exhaustion arises.

Thankfully, there are many methods utilized to overcome anxiety.

The treatment for anxiety disorders is derived from research in biological, social, and psychological factors that contribute to anxiety disorders. This research base has led to the development of countless treatments. Capitol Care’s many behavioral and mental health programs are designed to treat anxiety and have proven to be highly effective.

To learn more contact Capitol Care at their New Jersey department of mental health. Do not face this difficult problem on your own. We are confident that our treatment of anxiety disorders will continue to give hope and relief to individuals and families affected by anxiety disorders.


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