Meditating on the Naam, the Lord of the Universe becomes the one's eternal companion, and he dwells in peaceful ease. His calculations are ended, his wanderings cease, and his mind is no longer afflicted with anxiety.
Sri Guru Granth Sahib
Anxiety is a very uncomfortable feeling that comes into play when a person frets over something undesirable that is happening now, or which might transpire in the future. In most cases, there is no real danger, but the individual continues to imagine a terrifying scenario and consequently feels engulfed by irrational thoughts, vehement emotions and strange body reactions. We all have had our share of anxieties during difficult times, but the good thing is that most of us find ways to reassure ourselves, face the challenge and move on.
However, some people are anxiety prone - they tend to worry frequently and intensely and as soon as one anxiety subsides, a new apprehension surfaces in their mind. These individuals have a fearful imagination - they believe that things will go terribly wrong and that they will get trapped in a dangerous situation with no escape. To feel safe, they start avoiding everything that triggers their anxiety and impose a series of restrictions on themselves and those around. The fear is usually out of proportion to the situation or age inappropriate and it stops them from living life normally and meaningfully.
Anxious people also experience marked discomfort in their body such as shortness of breath, palpitations, chest pain, muscle tension, headache and body ache. Physical symptoms like excessive sweating, sleep disruption, nausea, upset stomach, hot flashes or chills, giddiness and fatigue are common.
Anxiety is highly subjective, and the intensity, frequency and quality of symptoms vary from person to person. Based on these variations, anxiety disorders are classified into the following types: generalized anxiety disorder (persistent and excessive worry about ordinary everyday life events), panic disorder (episodes of intense fear along with disturbing physical and psychological symptoms), phobias (irrational fear of a specific object, situation or activity), agoraphobia (dread of being in an embarrassing situation or a place where it is hard to escape), social anxiety disorder (apprehension of being rejected, humiliated or negatively evaluated in social interactions) and separation anxiety disorder (extreme uneasiness in leaving home or getting separated from a loved one).
Mental health professionals usually treat anxiety through medicines targeting brain neurotransmitters or psychotherapies which bring a change in the person's fearful thought patterns, chaotic emotions and behavioural evasion. Despite taking these evidence-based treatments, many people continue to struggle with their anxieties and are unable to live their life fully.
A spiritual psychology approach can infuse a new hope in your understanding and treatment of an anxiety disorder. From the spiritual perspective, when your connection with your own soul and the Divine is severed, anxiety sprouts up. You wrongly believe that you are a forlorn creature born in a harsh world and you need to be on a constant alert to safeguard yourself. This mistrustful attitude makes you worried about everything that could go wrong, and you develop an anxiety disorder.
A spiritual counsellor helps you heal by reviving your relationship with your own soul and the Divine. Then you realize that you have the power to overcome all the uncertainties, challenges and miseries that life throws at you — because the Divine is always there to hold, support and nurture you. All you need to do is surrender, relax and let Him do the steering for you.