Although it is widely recognized that anxiety is the most pervasive psychological phenomenon of our time…. there has been little or no agreement on its definition, and very little, if any, progress on its measurement.
~Paul Hoch, President, American Psychopathological Association, In An Address To The First-Ever Academic Conference On Anxiety (1949)~
Did you know that United States of America is one of the most Depressed Countries in the World? Although, that can be hard pill to swallow for some it’s the truth. According to, the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2014 45 percent of the world’s population lived in a country where there was less than one psychiatrist or mental health professional to serve 100,000 people. This translates to 3,150,000,000 (Three Billion one hundred and fifty million). It sounds kind of absurd to think that that many people roam our planet with mental health issues without that one individual or organization that can provide some type of relief to their condition.
According to Paul Hoch, 1949’s American Psychopathological Association’s President, there seems to be a disconnect between what it truly means to have anxiety. A common definition describes a person with anxiety as an internal reality that causes an individual to react in a certain manner towards a specific stimulus. Take for example, not being able to pay your bills on time, or meeting someone for the first time, fear of not meeting a deadline or even being rejected by someone you want to please. Although, it can be said that anxiety can affect your physiological, behavioral and psychological state of being it isn’t doesn’t have to damper your hopes of a spiritually connected future filled with endless possibility.
The truth of the matter is that a thorough understanding of what mental health is and how it spreads, can go an along way in dealing with reducing your anxiety or eliminating it altogether. You don’t have to become a mental health practitioner but it does help to understand why anxiety is even an issue. Scott Stossel, in his book “My Age of Anxiety: Fear, hope dread, and the search for peace of mind, expresses anxiety as a random gesture of speculative hypothesis. In other words, a series of conclusion that follow behavioral patterns that are random at best. If God, created man in his own image and likeness how can a group of individuals all share a similar vein of social anxiety?
Sigmund Freud, in “The Problem of Anxiety” (1926) explains it best by saying that “anxiety is not a simple thing to grasp”. You can’t just wake up one day and match your emotional, physiological, psychological, and behavioral narrative to Google’s definition of Anxiety. It’s a far reach to artificially inseminate someone’s picture of mental health into your stratosphere. It’s a beautiful thing to have a mental health doctor at your disposal and to trust his years of wisdom and scholarly advice, but for most people that isn’t a real reality as evidenced from the World Health Organization (WHO) graph above. This means that if you have access to any health practitioners around you your Primitive Survival Rating (PSR) jumps up a few notches. Why? Because the lack (mental health professionals) leads to early and or premature death.
It seems a little harsh but so does wanting the pain to end but it never does, living a life of despondency, feeling the nostalgia of loneliness although you have lots of friends, a great job and a beautiful family, a desire to escape the stark realities of life through companionship, alcohol and other means of suppressing your sadness. The reality is as Freud mentioned earlier is that no one really knows anything about nothing. I am not suggesting that you find ways to escape life because no one can do that. But if you want to think more clearly and evaluate your life more objectively, I suggest creating a vision board.
Although, it seems like an adventure to find qualified help in the mental health field for those individuals living in Asia, Russia, China, Brazil, Indonesia and even in the USA, a “Vision Board” can help to sort out those mental kinks. Don’t worry I am not talking about your proverbial get a board and paste a lot of images about what you would like to accomplish in your life (which works fantastic by the way), but a mere restructuring of your thoughts in regards to taking care of yourself.
Answer these Questions (Yes or No)
- Am I satisfied with the way I perform at work?
- I avoid self-defeating behavior?
- I get enough exercise?
- I spend 10-20 hours per week on the internet?
- I achieve most of my goals?
- I go after what I want?
- I am responsible for the way I handle money?
- I complete my work without procrastination?
- My job doesn’t define me?
- I am spiritually inclined and love the outdoors.
- I am comfortable with my sex life?
As you can see the more you probe these questions you begin to see those thought pattern open up. They are trying to override those mental hurdles that seem real but are mere illusions. The mind is very subtle and needs to be reminded that life is a beautiful story of possibilities that includes struggles (good and bad), and not a drudgery mountain climbing experience. The main objective here is to take stock of yourself, your thoughts, your mobility, your priorities. Where are you today versus where you wanted to be a year ago? Even if the growth has been incremental that’s ok its more so about the elevation of your senses. #Feelyourfeelings
So, go a design a “Vision Board” that reflects your thought process and the types of thoughts you would like to be thinking. The word on the street is that data is beginning to drive a new thought process. So, your incoming information could be making decisions for your mind even if you are not aware of it. I am not trying to propose mystical experiences are at play but those biting the lip, frowning, looking down, asking other for advice or opinions, a downcast expression, forehead wrinkling expressions are real uncertainties that need to be addressed. If nothing else please be patient and trust the process.
Tiffany Bryant, LPCC