Dealing with Anxiety, Anxiety Patterns, Fueling Anxiety, Stress Control, Anxiety Management, Understanding Anxiety, Anxious Process, Breaking Anxiety Patterns, Navigating Anxiety, Anxiety Blueprint
Mental Health

Dealing With Anxiety: Exploring the Patterns that Fuel the Anxious Process

Anxiety can be found anywhere.  It’s a pandemic. Approximately 40 million individuals (18 and older), or 18% of the population, have feelings of anxiety (not even including 1 out of every 8 children). Anxiety medication accounts for one-third of the $148 billion spent on mental diseases in the United States each year. In simple terms, we spend $42 billion a year in America on medical care for anxiety problems.

Women are 60% more inclined than men to suffer from anxiety disorders. The typical age of start is 11 years old for both genders. Add to this that almost fifty percent of the forty million adults who suffer from anxiety also have symptoms of depression, which is the most common cause of disability in the United States for people aged 15 to 43. 

But is there something we are able to do to slow these data’ seemingly inexorable upward trend? Is anxiety something you contract or that you inherit from your parents? Is the development of intergenerational symptoms within families just a question of genetic destiny and poor luck, or can we alter the level of severity and manner in which we deal with our emotions in order to impact the direction of these statistics?

This post is intended to break down anxiety and expose the elaborate scaffolding system that offers structure and strength to the anxiety process. This is by no means a full list of anxiety signs and symptoms, but we will look at a few of the crucial factors that are linked to the great majority of anxiety patterns. We will specifically look at the purposes of avoidance, rumination, and speculation in the development of a full-blown anxiety condition.

Anxiety is caused by a neurobiological imbalance, most notably in the brain and spinal cord.  Panic episodes are the most visible manifestation of this imbalance.  However, the more subtle parts of anxiety, the ignored participants in a continuous anxious process, are the points of turning point we wish to comprehend in therapy in order to modify our unconscious patterns and decrease the more severe symptoms.

Dealing with Anxiety: How it grips and how to let go.

Anxiety goes in a circular manner, despite continuously whirling, you never truly obtain traction and move forward. Perpetual loops of speculation, avoidance, rumination, and concern will keep you from growing and finding inner peace. But here’s the positive news, anxiety is treatable and changeable.  The only qualification is that you want it sufficiently badly to put in the effort.  You must be ready to expose yourself to things, events, and (most crucially) emotions that you have avoided for decades. You must also be prepared to put in the effort to re-route neural patterns that have been prominent through time but are no longer useful in generating a sense of inner harmony.   

Let’s take a look at some of the types of patterns that are at the core of the whole anxious process, such as rumination, speculation, and avoidance.

The Ruminator.

Rumination is a state of continuous worry and unpleasant mental conversation about oneself, others, circumstances, or all three.  Rumination occurs when you begin to concentrate on a moment or interaction. This brooding usually has a sense of performing something wrong or being wronged (mostly the former). Rumination is the “thing” you can’t seem to get your mind off of.  When you examine this kind of thinking, you will discover that ruminations nearly never have a positive taste. Ruminators frequently display interpersonal styles characterized by a tendency to be the victim and/or other co-dependent interactions that bind them in a cycle of powerlessness.  

The Speculator.

The speculator is continually searching into the future to see potential indicators of problems. These individuals frequently anticipate the future with a sense of dread distrust, or fear. The speculator looks at the undeveloped horizon with nervousness, doubt, and, at times, paranoia.  The speculator is especially sensitive to catastrophic thought patterns, which are almost always at the root of more severe anxiety problems. If you review this and discover that you, too, display these traits, would recommend you start observing when you change into the speculative role and investigate why you chose this type of thought process at this time. 

There are therapeutic reasons why you are attracted to one way of thinking over another.  You have a fighting chance of tapping into true freedom of choice and free will if you allow yourself to notice that you are doing it without necessarily plunging down the rabbit hole.  Previously, when you engaged in this thinking style unintentionally, you were not making empowered judgments. You were experiencing neurobiological patterns of attachment that had accidentally overtaken your capacity to choose the course of your own thoughts and brain.


Avoidance is a complex and extremely effective defense mechanism that is beyond the scope of this blog.  So, if you associate with an avoidant style of intra- and inter-personal interactions, please seek additional knowledge. 

Having said that, avoidance works in an odd way.  On the one hand, it is extremely efficient at decreasing or releasing the feeling(s) from which the person is attempting to remove himself/herself.  The act of ignoring the unpleasant feeling or scenario immediately relieves the discomfort. 

Avoidance, on the other hand, is a devastating mode of coping.  It frequently results in major psychological and social limits if left untreated. The small print on the avoidance agreement is as follows.

To begin, you must continue to lower the depth of focus in order to accommodate the recurring avoidant pattern.  In simple terms, in order to keep your distance from the emotions you want to avoid, you must participate in an increasing number of avoidant behaviors.  This is how compartmentalization plays a role in the nervous process and how, in the most severe form of avoidance, people struggle with overt fears. As you properly defend yourself from any negative feelings you wish to avoid, you concurrently and correspondingly limit your capacity to feel and absorb highly happy feelings. That is the cost of using this defense mechanism.  You will, I think, feel less discomfort over time, but you will also feel less love, pleasure, and deep attachment to the people in your life.  The aperture closes accordingly, leaving you with a small and frequently myopic emotional scope. You’ll be totally numb.    

This takes us to your next point of clarification: The more you close your emotional aperture to enable avoidance, the more you contribute to the loss of your capacity to deal with emotions in general. The capacity to deal with emotions is a muscle. It’s a feat that begins with a complex and delicate dance between infant and caretaker and lasts our entire lives as we adapt and re-adapt to our shifting settings.  The more you work this muscle, the more powerful it becomes and how simple it becomes.  The more you ignore your emotions, the more your muscles atrophy and it becomes more difficult to bear any kind of emotional pain or unease. You will eventually find yourself walking an emotional tightrope that is being pushed taut by internal struggle. 

So, what are your options? How do you break this long-held pattern?

Anxiety expresses itself physically, emotionally, and cognitively, and these signs might be incompatible or appear as a symphony of symptoms.  Anxiety is difficult to manage because it affects so many distinct and intersecting aspects of our human experience.  But it’s also its biggest benefit and one of the reasons it’s typically the most adaptable in a therapeutic situation.  Anxiety can be handled and managed on several different levels. In other words, we form healthy habits the same way we form negative ones: we just repeat a behavior.

 Be attentive and expand your awareness.

Begin to grow aware of how the brain and mind work, as well as the types of thinking patterns that occur before, during, and after experiencing extreme levels of anxiety. Consider these anxiety attacks to be neurological in nature.  At this point, they are hardwired.  But don’t mistake this for thinking it’s “genetic.”  It’s not that easy or straightforward.  You can notice, comprehend, and eventually modify set cognitive and behavioral habits. As the patterns shift from unconscious to conscious, you will gain more influence and control over the nervous system’s patterns that formerly held you emotionally hostage.  The ability to monitor your thoughts from this neutral vantage point opens the door to the prospect of someday slowing the unending loop sufficiently to change the course of motion.

  Recognize that the purpose is not to be happy all of the time.

The concept is not to ignore your negative emotions. The intention is to understand how to be present in them at all times. Simply accept the emotions. They’ll get by. They have a starting out, a middle, and a conclusion. They will crest, then retreat, and then crest again, much like a wave. Work on your shortcomings. Develop the muscles that need to be strengthened while allowing the ones that are overly strong to soften. This is how we establish emotional and mental harmony.  It’s also how we get the most out of ourselves. Remember to train for your shortcomings.


Commit to practicing mindfulness for 20 minutes per day for one month. Divide it into two ten-minute parts. 

  Seek outside assistance.

Work with a qualified clinician to obtain a better understanding and observation of how your brain operates. All you have to do at first is examine your process. Consider counseling to be the mental equivalent of working out.  This is your chance to exercise your cognitive abilities and brain. Remember that if we want to get stronger (healthier), we must work on our weaknesses.  Don’t train to your weaknesses. You are already skilled at the activities that come naturally to you. 

And to all the parents with little children out there. 

Now is the opportunity to impact these intergenerational patterns and modify the course of your shared history by assisting your child in better metabolizing, tolerating, and reacting to their own emotions. 

Don’t assist your children in avoiding painful emotions.  Don’t try to limit or change their world so they don’t have to experience tough, sad, or overwhelming feelings. Allow children to cope with these situations and develop the muscles needed to deal with the complex world of maturity. Yes, we all desire to keep our children safe.  But we are not helping them by passing on these avoidance tendencies. 

When you unintentionally pass on these coping styles, you are eventually establishing boundaries in their interior world. It’s not on purpose.  However, it does occur.  Assist your child in learning to tolerate discomfort by modeling your own ability to handle your emotions without undue avoidance, denial, and so on.  Support and praise them when they experience strong emotions, and tell children that emotions have a starting point, middle, and finish.  This, too, will pass.