Anxious feelings: Everyone suffers from feelings of anxiety or nervousness caused by a stressful situation or event from time to time. This however often concerns a more serious issue than one would thing, especially if that feeling persists over time. In many cases it’s not temporary anxiety, but an actual chronic problem that makes it difficult to properly function. Family life, one’s self-esteem and other aspects will then suffer.
It’s important to pay attention to such phenomena, especially in our current society. People are asked to do more and more, which leads to physical and even psychological difficulties. But where does this feeling of anxiety come from? What is it, what’s its cause and what can be done about it? These are all questions that deserve answers, which is exactly what we’ll be offering in the following overview.
The difference between acute and chronic stress
It’s known that chronic conditions are actually more dangerous than acute diseases, stress or injuries. The body is very capable of dealing with a single or sporadic injury, or short-lived stress. If these problems persist, it’s called a chronic problem. The same applies to anxiety.
If you’re always burdened by nervousness in a way, it’s worthwhile to examine the cause of the problem. That’s not always easy, because a lot of people don’t even know anymore they’re in a ‘state of stress’. It’ll however quickly become clear it’s a real issue that often requires a lifestyle change.
You could compare this to an athlete. An athlete can perform intensive efforts for a short period of time. Everyone understands a body can’t maintain peak performance over the course of days.
The cause of anxiety
Before you can search for a solution, it’s obviously important you know where this feeling of anxiety comes from. Is there something in your environment you find hard to deal with? A stressful job, a great feeling of responsibility towards your family, an argument with a friend or girlfriend, and so on. We often don’t realise the possible extent of the impact of such situations on our physical and psychological health!
There can be a countless number of causes of feelings of anxiety. They all start the same physical response: the production of cortisol, a stress hormone. This hormone is not bad in itself. It’s even necessary to survive and to be able to function. It doesn’t start to become a problem until your body produces cortisol continuously.
The role of cortisol in feeling anxious
So why is that? We are exposed to stressful events on a daily basis. Even the smallest ones have a major impact on our hormonal balance. Cortisol is the hormone that helps our body survive stressful situations and remain functional. It is thus our saviour during short-lived problems. For chronic situations – not really.
After all, if the stressful situation continues (as is the case in many people), the production of cortisol continues. And that’s exactly what causes feelings of anxiety. Whether it’s your boss constantly breathing down your neck, or an annoying mother-in-law who upsets you – these are all factors that turn elevated cortisol production into a chronic problem!
How do you lower feelings of anxiety?
The most important thing is to stop the production of lots of cortisol. Although the hormone is beneficial during temporary stressful situations, it’s detrimental to your health, efficiency and well-being in the long run. Various ways exist of combating stress, but physical activity is certainly one of the best.
Why? It has been proven multiple times that physical health is beneficial to one’s health. That’s mainly because of its effects on the hormonal balance. Exercising on a regular basis will lead to the production of more endorphins, so-called ‘feel good’ hormones.
An additional effect of these substances is that they suppress the production of cortisol. The more endorphins present in your body, the weaker the signal from the brain to the adrenal cortex to produce cortisol.
Changing your perspective
Although moving about is an important way of lowering your cortisol levels, changing your perspective is many times more important. This is often considered to be very difficult. To provide an example: if you believe tigers are sweet animals, you won’t be stressed out if one walks right by you. If you know these animals can tear you apart, your body will produce adrenalin and cortisol: ready to fight or flight. So it’s your perspective that determines the amount of stress you experience!
The conclusion: exercising regularly is one of the most important weapons in the fight against chronic stress. In addition to its positive effects on one’s hormonal balance it’s an opportunity to socialise with people, organise your thoughts, and so on. A more long-term solution is changing your vision.
The coaches of Meulenberg would like to help you take your own intuition seriously in order to make better decisions. This is an important goal of our coaching trajectories, in addition to (physical) recovery and learning new behaviour in order to gain more control over your life.
Training and coaching
Milltain provides training and coaching for private individuals and organisations. Our team consists of 35 coaches and trainers who have now helped thousands of people struggling with stress and burnouts.
Milltain for private individuals:
Are you stuck in life because of stress or a burnout? We developed an effective online programme that is fully focused on the complete recovery from a burnout. More than 2000 people have successfully completed this training!
Movement and nature play prominent roles in this training. Recovery is a process that contains peaks and troughs, and that’s something we know all about. Our highly experienced coaches provide you with active support.
Learn more: Stress and burnout coaching
Milltain for organisations:
With the help of a team of experienced trainers, Milltain supports organisations in the prevention of stress and the (re) finding of work happiness in the workplace. A single burnout can easily cost an organisation € 70,000 (or more!)
In addition to financial suffering, the human suffering is great. Not only for the employee but also for close colleagues who have to deal with the blows. Before long, you find yourself in a negative vicious circle.
Get long-term absence and stress among employees under control with the help of our highly effective team training via Zoom or a similar tool.
This training has proven to be an international success for both managers (leadership skills) and employees (dealing with stress).
Learn more: Online team training