Anxiety is a big and complex topic. It is the product of our stress response which evolved to keep us safe, specifically allowing us to detect danger so that we could make ourselves safe from danger. Our bouts of anxiety are purely biochemical responses in our body, Dr. Helen Fisher’s “The Anatomy of Love” website has a wonderful tour of the brain which can help explain how our biology controls our feelings. Dr. Fisher has also developed a personality test to show you which combination of hormones you are most strongly controlled by.
I was introduced to this personality test and theory by my coach, Amy Armstrong and she helped me work through the information and put it into action. The four types are:
I am a negotiator (primary) and an explorer(secondary), which means that I am a big picture thinker, imaginative, intuitive, trusting, energetic creative, curious, positive, love to learn and independent amongst other things. It also means that I am over-accommodating, find it hard to say no, have conflicting priorities which cause me distraction. I am more likely to please or flee than fight or freeze when under stress.
For these reasons, in order to reduce my anxiety, I have to try to answer these questions as I move through my life when I am experiencing anxiety:
- What were the key areas of my life that were important, what am I currently prioritising, does that need to change?
- Am I struggling to assert myself? What is it about the current situation that is making this stress response happen? How do I change it?
- Am I putting everyone else’s needs before my own, is there an underpinning reason for this that needs to change? How could I change the symptom or the cause?
- Do I have looping negative thoughts? How can I stop them?
- Are my energy levels depleted? How could I sustain my energy for longer? Or recharge my batteries?
- Am I showing myself enough self care? How could I make sure I am incorporating set care into my life?
The main thing to recognise here is that we are all different in our mix of stress responses and therefore different in our needs when it comes to management of stress. As a ruminator, the questions above are actually not the most helpful approach for me with regard to management of anxiety, they focus a little to heavily on the problems and not the solutions. They can be useful journaling prompts which helps for me when I have the time and the need.
My journey out of crippling anxiety was a long and winding one, and ultimately it has led to me making fundamental changes in my life and implementing daily anxiety management techniques that keep me emotionally, mentally, physically and socially healthy.
When you have taken the quiz let me know what you got – was it what you expected?