It all starts in our head …
A friend called me and, with a trembling voice, told me that after undergoing screening at the clinic, atypical cells were found in her smear and there was a suspicion of oncology. Now the tests need to be retaken. What if the suspicions are confirmed? Uncertainty. Which will last at least another week, and this week she will worry and exhaust herself psychologically.
Whatever the result, anxiety is of no use in this case.
During the waiting period, the quality of life deteriorates. A person cannot think of anything else. All this time, he draws terrible pictures in his head, which produce the corresponding hormones adrenaline, norepinephrine and cortisol.
As a consequence of the action of these hormones – vasoconstriction (hypertension), ischemia or decreased blood supply to vital organs and muscle tension (fight or flight mechanism).
This whole process requires a lot of energy, and as a result – exhaustion, both mental and physical.
Even if the outcome of my friend’s tests is bad, then she will need strength to fight the disease, and they have already been spent on anxiety. And, as you know, anxiety lowers immunity, which again lowers the chances of dealing with a possible illness.
And if the result turns out to be negative, and the probability of such an outcome, according to doctors, is 50%, then it turns out that all this waste of energy was wasted.
Anxiety is an emotional experience associated with a premonition and expectation of a negative development of a life scenario or with the uncertainty of the future.
In psychology, it is customary to separate fear and anxiety.
It is believed that fear is a response to a specific, already impending danger,
and anxiety is a premonition, a signal of possible danger.
Anxiety arises when there is still no danger, it is assumed, but it may never occur.
In ancient times, anxiety was evolutionarily justified and made it possible to escape from danger. A sensitive, superficial sleep (insomnia) was needed so that the enemy would not be caught by surprise, which is easiest to do when the sleep is sound. It is clear that tense muscles are stronger and made it possible to climb a tree faster, and a lump in the throat helped not to swallow it when chasing in water and prevent water from entering the lungs. But now, with an imaginary threat, all these mechanisms do not so much help as complicate life.
According to research by the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion, 60% of the surveyed population experience anxiety. Anxiety exhausts the human psyche, affects the neurohumoral regulation of the body, weakens the immune system and, as a result, leads to illness. So hypertension, stomach and duodenal ulcers, ulcerative colitis, thyrotoxicosis, neurodermatitis are based on a psychosomatic component.
What if you find yourself feeling anxious?
The first is to compensate for the effects of anxiety. This includes eliminating or alleviating its symptoms and increasing physiological resources:
soothing herbal teas (mint, lemon balm, motherwort);
massage, sports, water treatments;
nature, travel, new impressions;
The second is psychotherapy:
elimination of the cause of the alarm;
change in philosophy of life;
change in attitude towards events.