Our world is in the midst of an emotional meltdown. As a psychiatrist, I’ve seen that many people are addicted to the adrenaline rush of anxiety, known as the “fight or flight” response, and they don’t know how to diffuse it. An example of this is obsessively watching the news about natural disasters, trauma, economic stress and violence, and then not being able to turn bad news off. Also, people are prone to “techno-despair” — a term I coined in my book, “Emotional Freedom.” This is a state of high anxiety that results from information overload and Internet addiction. It’s also related to our super-dependence on smartphones and the panic of feeling disconnected if technology breaks down and we can’t access emails or other communications — a new version of what’s psychiatrically known as an “attachment disorder.” I’ve helped many patients address the adverse effects of techno-despair, such as insomnia, nightmares, restless sleep and ongoing angst. You, too, can break your addiction to anxiety and lead a more peaceful life.
Am I Addicted To Anxiety?
To determine your current level of anxiety, ask yourself:
Do I worry about many things every day?
Is it difficult to stop watching anxiety-provoking news on TV or the Internet, though I try?
Do I experience separation anxiety when I can’t access my smartphone or computer?
Do I make problems larger, not smaller?
Do I worry about things that no one around me worries about?
When one anxiety is solved, do I immediately focus on another?
If you answered “yes” to all six questions, worry plays a very large, addictive role in your life. Four to five “yes” answers indicate a large role. Two to three “yes” answers indicate a moderate role. One”yes” indicates a low level. Zero “yes” answers suggest that you’re more warrior than worrier!
To quiet anxiety and turn off your flight-or-flight response, it’s important to re-train your brain to send chemicals to counteract this powerful biological response. Otherwise, anxiety can become an addiction. In contrast, with a calm biology, you can generate endorphins — the blissful natural painkillers in your body.
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