According to a survey of 13,000 people around the world, Americans are the most anxious people in the world, at least when it comes to worrying about security issues.
Fear of terrorism, war, computer viruses, hacking and identify theft, finances, and other security-related concerns, are soaring.
“Americans are feeling an acute loss of control when it comes to all different types of security,” said Bill Searcy, vice president, Justice, Law Enforcement and Border Security for Unisys and a former FBI deputy assistant director. “National security has risen to the top because Americans feel they cannot control what is happening around them. At the same time, Americans’ highest level of personal concerns center on identify theft and bankcard fraud. Again, this is because consumers feel they have less personal control than they should or used to.” (Unisys Security Index report.)
Just because the concerns are valid, doesn’t mean that anxiety is the best or only possible response, though.
What gets people through these worries?
Here are some things to keep in mind:
If a threat is real or likely, have a plan for protection. Speak to a professional about how to go about protecting yourself if you feel you need to.
Have an idea about what you can do if there is an emergency you can’t protect yourself from. Such as an emergency go-kit, for example. (Family drills might be in order, depending on your situation.)
Still, it is important to remember: You only have so much control. It is literally impossible to control all outcomes and processes.
Learn some anxiety-management techniques such as relaxing breathing, visualization, and exercise. Anxiety is an extremely uncomfortable feeling and doesn’t usually help solve the problem.
Faith and prayer can be extremely helpful. No matter how bad a situation is, believing that everything ultimately occurs for a reason can be a comfort.
Is Anxiety Ever Justified?
Having worries, fears, or anxiety about a real or imminent threat is different than having generalized anxiety or phobias.
It is important to understand the difference. A healthy dose of concern, even if it is severe in a particular instance, can be viewed as a not-unreasonable response to danger.
However, if anxiety, worry or fear are out of proportion to a potential threat or even a real occurrence, then it can be helpful to assess if you have an anxiety disorder or phobia.
If you have ongoing or recurring anxiety in social situations or a fear of driving on the highway, for example, these can have a negative effect on your life. Perhaps you avoid social situations and relationships which could enrich your life. Maybe you take the back roads rather than the expressway and have to leave minutes or hours early to make it to appointments.
Behavioral and other treatments for anxiety and phobias can be very effective. Believe that change is possible.
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