Anxiety Questions and Answers

By Dr. Joseph Lancaster

What are the symptoms of anxiety?
There are a multitude of symptoms for anxiety, but here are some of the common ones: stress, fatigue, restlessness, muscle tension, sleep disturbance, irritability, poor concentration, and mind going blank.

What causes anxiety?
Anxiety is like a three-layered cake that tastes bad! The bottom layer relates to a person experiencing with the “unknown” in life, which leads up to the second layer which is “fear”, and this fear causes the top layer to exist which is “anxiety.”

*Is having anxiety normal?
*Does everyone have anxiety?
Anxiety is a normal condition of life. Everybody gets anxiety at some time or another. However, when an anxious person feels overwhelmed with nervousness, and therefore, he or she can no longer function in life (work, home, school), that’s when their condition becomes a clinical concern and needs treatment. Thus, a person can learn “how to” function, no matter how anxious they feel at times. But, also, a person can learn therapeutic tools and have the capability to free themselves from anxiety.

Why do I have anxiety for no reason?
It may seem that one has anxiety for no reason, but there is a reason.  For example, a person may have had a horrific trauma in the past, e.g., war, major car accident, rape, etc. Or, a person may catch the coronavirus, and therefore, he or she has developed panic or anxiety attacks about possibly catching it again or having family members catch it.

However, what if people who struggle like this never go to therapy to smooth out these traumas or attacks. It’s an unresolved issue for them—unconsciously! However, sometimes, against our personal will, the forces of the unconscious have an agenda to become conscious. So, when that gnawing past issue—spontaneously—comes to consciousness, it’s experienced with surprise, and it’s emotionally taxing. This is anxiety!

How can I quiet my mind?
For some people, they may see a psychiatrist to get prescribed anti-anxiety medication, e.g., to calm down obsessive thoughts. Or, for others, they may choose mindfulness techniques, like meditation, to stay in the moment of calmness. Even hypnosis, meaning focused attention, is powerful to quiet down a mind which overthinks.

What can you do to stop anxiety?
(To answer this question, please see my answer above for “How can I quiet my mind?”)

In the meantime, here is something I did not mention before. You can stop anxiety—within—by developing yourself in a psychological and spiritual way. This combination calms one’s inner anxieties due to the experience of spontaneous healing power and knowledge from the divine. An anxious person can receive this healing experience from spontaneous dreams, visions, and “Aha” experiences. Thus, by being open and focusing on these possibilities, he or she can spontaneously gain an inner experience of divine guides that supply calmness, peace, etc.

However, on the more practical level, if can catch yourself in an anxious state, you may try to do the “Thought flipping” technique. This means, you need to catch yourself being anxious, and then, mentally push yourself to flip the negative thinking into positive thinking. For example, “I think that ___ is not going to work out well.” Thus, instead, you push yourself to think, “Things will work out fine.”; “This is going to work out well.”; “I have faith that things are going to be fine ___ way.” Sooner or later, you will have the proof—nine times out of ten—that your present concerns were fine all along. Whew! What a relief!

However, one may even ask “How Can I Prevent Future Anxiety?” As mentioned, above, the answer is the same, e.g., meditation, guides from your dreams / visions, “Aha” experiences, and so much more for a spontaneous mindful presence. But let’s try to expand by saying that one can prevent anxiety by staying balanced within—psycho-spiritually. When one is balanced, there is freedom from suffering and/or causing suffering. No wonder why it’s been said by Buddhist’s to not judge the moment. Thus, you can escape the anxiety; not fester it up. Or, at least, we can say, it will come and go away much easier.

Another way of preventing anxiety is realizing that, for the most part, we know our future. Our present “action” creates the future—minute by minute, second by second. Yes, there may be some slight changes here or there while moving into the future, but for the most part, we know our future due to our current “action.” Being mindful of this reality—not forgetting it—helps to eliminate what cognitive behaviorists call the “what ifs” of the future because this cognitive distortion brings so many people anxiety. Let’s help ourselves to reduce this tendency of creating our own anxiety per our current actions! In other words, be mindful of your current actions for rest assurance about your future.