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Healthy Anxiety Versus Unhealthy Anxiety

Updated: Aug 20, 2020

A year ago if you told me that you were constantly washing your hands and using hand sanitizer, wiping down surfaces that other people touched, or limiting your contact with people then I would have been treating you for paranoia. But the world has changed and there is a virus that we are all trying to avoid. While we are keeping ourselves safe, how do you know if your fear has moved passed cautious into a serious condition?

Healthy Anxiety

Everyone experiences anxiety. It is a protection mechanism that is ingrained in us to help keep us alive. Its function is to jolt a little adrenaline into our system to speed up our response time so we can react to a possible or perceived danger in our life. An example of this is when a car cuts you off in traffic, you get that little fear which causes you to swerve or tap the breaks to avoid an accident. Another example is when you have a unique event in your life like a wedding or an upcoming presentation at work and you might feel fear which could cause you to be more motivated and focused. Resulting in a great performance and a successful day.

When Does Anxiety Become Unhealthy?

Unhealthy anxiety is different as it has an emotional response to the fear. What this means is that we feel fear and respond to it with nervousness, worry and unease. The average person will experience some anxiety in their life and when it occurs, they effectively manage it. Other people will struggle to control their anxiety. Sometimes anxiety keeps people up at night as their thoughts swirl around with the question “what if” as they try to figure out ways to prevent an unknown or an uncertain outcome. Worry becomes their focus and they start to change their lives to avoid any perceived unpleasantness. Which often results in emotionally withdrawing from family and/or friends and limiting their activities as they find their home more controllable and therefore safe.

This is unhealthy.

Here are some questions which will help you to figure out if your anxiety has become unhealthy:

1. Is your worry present most days?

2. Is your worry uncontrollable?

3. Do you feel restless, keyed up and unable to relax most days?

4. Do you physically feel your anxiety? (example body pains or headaches)

5. Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep?

6. Do you have difficulties focusing on tasks due to your thoughts?

7. Do you feel tired or irritable?

If you answered yes to 3 or more of the questions above, it is time to have a mental health checkup. A mental health checkup is like any other health related checkup but is performed by a mental health specialist. A qualified Registered Psychotherapist can quickly determine if there is a problem and help you get back to enjoying life.

If you would like to book your mental health checkup, call our office today for your personalized session.


Registered Psychotherapist

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