Hidden Anxiety, Knowing When to Take Notice
Amidst the many changes taking place in society at the moment, many of us are feeling relieved and excited to begin to get back to some form of normal living again. Heading back to the office meeting colleagues face to face again, socialising somewhat normally or even travelling abroad.
Being able to do the simple things in life will make a big difference to all of our lives, so why isn’t everyone feeling excited? Why are many people feeling overwhelmed and anxious? There is no simple answer to these questions, however, there is an increasing prevalence of hidden anxiety in society. Many of us are feeling uneasy and cannot explain exactly why.
The return to the office, while a positive move out of the pandemic, might not be the milestone many people believed it was. Over the course of the last 18 months, we have had to develop new routines quickly and adapt to many challenges, both personally and professionally.
This experience was different for all of us however it forced many of us to examine our values and look at what we value most in our lives. Many of us experienced a better quality of life working remotely and were better able to cope with the demands of work and family life. Now that we are returning to the office our time will once again become more limited and familiar stresses will begin to re-emerge.
As well as what is happening now, many of us didn’t process the reality of what was happening in the world over the past 18 months. Constant bad news, fear for our family and friends’ health and wellbeing have all meant that we have been living in a state of agitation for a long period of time.
During times of crisis, we often suppress negative emotions in order to survive the uncertainty surrounding us. When we think of our feelings as traffic lights it can be easier to understand what is happening for us. Green is for when we are able to manage the stress and anxiety in our lives and the world around us in relative safety. Red is for times of catastrophe in our lives, such as bereavement, loss or separation, and when the world around us is dangerous. This was the case when we experienced the first lockdown.
However amber, signifies times when we are emerging from crises and uncertainty and heading back into a potential time of increased safety. The reason why so many people are experiencing hidden anxiety is because, the world is telling us to be hopeful yet cautious. Our personal experience of the past 18 months along with the continuing uncertainty we are unable to understand what we are experiencing and unable to notice the messages our feelings are giving us.
Change can often lead to feelings of stress and anxiety. The many changes that we have recently experienced could lead to feeling overwhelmed. So, it’s important that we are able to spot the signs of hidden anxiety such as:
- Feeling on edge regularly
- Difficulty concentrating
- Being quick to anger
Feeling are Indicators to Take Action.
Too often we ignore our instincts and continue struggling through our day to day lives because we fail to notice the indicators that our feelings are giving us. When experiencing any of the above symptoms, its important to look at what we are doing in our lives at the moment that isn’t working for us.
We all have certain obligations in life and some things are out of our control, however, if we focus on the elements of our lives that we can control and change we can have a profound effect on our own personal wellbeing. There are many things that we can do to help ourselves such as:
- Analysing our thinking patterns. Our thoughts have a powerful effect on how we see the world around us, how we cope with and overcome challenges and our feelings. By consciously challenging negative, unhelpful thinking and self-critical thinking we can increase our resilience and wellbeing.
- Making small positive changes. Most of us, when we try to make a change in our lives for the better, try to do too much too quickly. By making small realistic changes and building on this over time will create lasting positive change in our lives.
These are just some examples of what we can do to help ourselves overcome feelings of stress and anxiety. As we return to our pre-pandemic lives. It’s important to notice what is going on inside us and to have the courage to make the changes we need for our personal wellbeing.