The lives we lead are entirely impacted by the way we feel. Our feelings and perceptions dictate what decisions we make, so when we’re dealing with a mental health issue, it’s important to be aware that decision making skills can experience some serious glitches. When we’re talking about anxiety, these glitches are largely to do with hesitation, the inability to feel confident, particularly in stressful situations that require snap judgements.
The facts are that 40 million american adults suffer with an anxiety disorder, and approximately 6 million people in the UK are reported to suffer with either anxiety or depression. Just to think, this doesn’t include the hundreds of thousands of individuals who fall through the cracks. Mental health issues such as these are neither rare nor strange cases that only affect weak or damaged individuals, and they don’t have to be a taboo subject.
Anxiety is simply a psychological condition caused by prolonged thought processes. It’s exhausting, but manageable, and the more we talk about it, the more people will become aware of it’s reach and the ways in which you can help yourself and others who suffer from it.
Today we’re focused on the effect that anxiety has on decision making skills – a necessary quality for success in life. When anxiety is present, we tend to be doubtful, fearful and pessimistic. Anxious people subconsciously create a world in which confidence is futile and risk aversion is everything. This diminishes a person’s ability to trust their own instincts when making a choice, causing them to hesitate in moments that require quick responses. Here’s what science says about that.
Oxford University and the University of California, Berkley, discovered that individuals prone to high anxiety have more difficulty reading the environmental cues that could help them avoid a negative outcome. Reported in the Nature Neuroscience journal, the findings hinted at a glitch in the brain’s higher-order decision-making circuitry.
Eventually, this area of the brain could be targeted in the treatment of anxiety disorders. The study was carried out using decision-making tasks, behavioural and physiological measurements and computational models to gauge the probabilistic decision-making skills of individuals. The researchers’ measures also included eye-tracking to detect pupil dilation, an indicator that the brain has released nor-epinephrine, which helps send signals to multiple brain regions to increase alertness and readiness to act.
“Our results show that anxiety may be linked to difficulty in using information about whether the situations we face daily, including relationship dynamics, are stable or not, and deciding how to react,” said study senior author Sonia Bishop, an assistant professor of psychology at UC Berkeley and principal investigator of the study. “It’s a bit like being Alice in Wonderland, trying to work out if the same rules apply or if everything is different and if so, what choices you should make,” she added. To find out more on the process of this study, the researchers and their findings, visit the Berkeley News site.
What it comes down to
Personally, I didn’t need a scientific study to tell me that anxiety can be debilitating at times, and seriously cloud my judgement. When you’re a self-aware adult, you sort of realise this pretty early on. It hits you right in the gut as soon as life starts getting serious and requiring you to be responsible, think on your feet and a become a fully functioning member of society. However, it is comforting to be reminded that I’m not crazy, or doing this to myself, but that it is in fact a common condition which warrants appropriate treatment.
When we look at holistic practices, we see that everything in wellness is related to balance. If the mind is not well, the body will also suffer and vice versa. The wonderful thing in holistic treatments and holistic living, is that it takes both the mind and body into account simultaneously. When you aim to treat the cause of the issue and not just the symptoms of it, that’s when you can restore true physiological balance.
Become a Holistic Therapist
Why not brighten your future with one of our accredited online holistic health courses? We offer internationally recognised qualifications in Psychotherapy and Counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness and Neuro Linguistics Programming. We have over 60 different holistic therapy courses to choose from, and we’re happy to help you every step of the way. Here at The School of Natural Health Sciences, you can be sure that your CV, spectrum of knowledge, and outlook on life will be forever enriched.