Worry is something we all do now and then. But anxiety goes beyond worry. Anxiety as a feeling is different than anxiety as a disorder. You can feel anxious and not have an anxiety disorder.

Clinical anxiety is that uneasy feeling, apprehension, a feeling of danger, doom or misfortune. Clinically speaking it a response to a perceived threat or danger. It is often produced by anticipating future events or fear.

Fear is a warning system built into our bodies as a natural reaction to danger. It is healthy to feel fear when real danger is present. But when fear goes beyond real danger and lingers in our mind, it becomes anxiety or worry. We feel out of control because of uncertainty. This type of anxiety causes problems in our physical, emotional, relational and spiritual life.

There are several types of anxiety noted in the DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual)–Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) which is an overall feeling of being anxious that seems general;  Simple Phobia which is the most common and is related to persistent anxiety over specific objects; Social Anxiety which is anxiety around social functions; Panic Disorder which involves feelings of panic in which you feel or think something terrible will happen.

Worry is the mental part of anxiety. Worry has to do with anxious thoughts.  A worrier often thinks, ‘What if…” It is important to  change worried thoughts to more rational ways to think. Thoughts influence your feelings and behavior. So getting control of worried thoughts will help prevent anxiety disorders.

For help with letting go of worry, check out my book, Letting Go of Worry. It will walk you through how to let go of worried thoughts and not allow anxiety to rule the day in your thought life.

If you struggle with anxiety, psychotherapy treatment called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is highly effective. It often uses exposure-based techniques that can help confront fears and help you cope. Anxiety treatment can make a huge difference in your life, so look for therapists who specialize in CBT and exposure therapies for anxiety. Incorporating faith into treatment is also helpful as you renew your mind and learn to release fear.

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