Recently I read a study estimating the prevalence of mental disorders in the European population about 38%. Anxiety and panic disorders took the larges share with about 14% , followed by depression. This is about 60 Mio people in fear and if you put them all in one country, it would compare to the size of Britain.
60 Mio people living in fear is a hell of a lot of people.
What is going on ? Obviously awareness of the disorder and access to the medical system is one factor. The availability of effective drugs may be another. But doesn’t it strike anyone as odd, that so called mental disorders are not only on the rise – they are virtually exploding with double digit growth over only a few years. And people do suffer from the respective symptoms, as well as trouble sleeping, eating and going about their day.
Anxiety is palpable in todays society. You feel it walking on the street and dealing with people. You see it in the eyes of people you meet over the course of the day and you observe it already in children and even in their pets. There is a slight nervousness, an edginess in almost everybody.
Panic disorders register differently. They show up in physical symptoms – from diffuse pressure, a feeling of a lump in one’s throat, to true anxiety attacks with a pounding heart heart, sweating and restlessness. Often times however, anxiety and panic attacks are a symptom of chronic stress.
Stress is another word for resistance. Feeling overwhelmed and not able to cope, sends people in shutting down and experiencing the effects of high levels of stress hormones. Fear is an emotion, but often times fear is not the underlying cause – stress is.
It is relatively easy to teach people behavioral tools to cope with fear and anxiety. All it takes is to understand that fear by itself is a closing up of the system, a contraction in an attempt to protect oneself. To face fear quickly leads to a relaxation and an improvement of the symptoms. Avoiding fear however, makes everything so much more unpleasant. These techniques – like simple breathing and relaxation exercises work very effectively and the use of medication may not be necessary. It is however important to know that fear by itself is just a symptom – like a fever by itself does not say much about the underlying condition. It is a natural mechanism our body uses to indicate that something is not quite right.
Fear is a primary emotion which is a part of the instinctual ” flight – or fight” reaction and as such necessary for survival. Anxiety however is a neurotic reaction, based not on a real threat, but an imagined one.
We are currently living in very intense times. There are many energies and dynamics at work and there are many changes, even to some fundamental pillars of society we have previously thought to be unwavering. We all feel overwhelmed by the sheer pressure of living in the 21st century with it’s interconnectedness, speed and need for quick adaptation. We live in a time when everything is moving, shifting, unfolding, changing. Nothing can be controlled anymore and time has all but disappeared.
We feel the stresses of ” not knowing”.
It is about time we all are becoming familiar with the fundamentals of letting go. Stay grounded in the present time, focus on what is true right now. Everyone can handle one tiny little moment. And then the next. And then the bext. It takes a bit of practice, but it certainly is the appropriate first step in terms of dealing with fear, anxiety and panic.
Many of us are familiar with simple techniques to open oneself up to the moment and be with whatever arises. Passing this on to others is going to be a highly necessary requirement to help others adapt to a life on a higher frequency, also called a New Earth.
The following articles may be of interest: