There are three components that affect people's stress level.
Whenever these three components are influential in an individual’s personal thought process, then they are classed as an anxious person.
Ms. Shaghayegh Honarkar, a psychologist and one of the respected charitable colleagues of Peivande Gole Narges institute, at the beginning of her conversation about anxiety mentioned the three components to be future-oriented, catastrophic and verbal thoughts and dialogue with yourself. According to her, there are two categories of anxiety: Healthy and efficient or unhealthy and troublesome, which is better to pay attention to beneficial concerns by taking the necessary measures to reduce the unhealthy ones.
Ms Honarkar continued to say that our concerns affect us in four ways. First, it causes us to have negative thoughts. Second, it overshadows our reactions and then we try to alleviate our anxiety with behaviours such as consecutive checks. Sometimes it has physical and physiological effects such as dry mouth or high heart rate and ultimately this affects our personal relationships, for example, it causes us to argue in vain with everyone, or to avoid intimacy and end up in self isolation.
She went on to dissect and describe the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems and expressed that “The sympathetic nervous system, is like the accelerator pedal of a car, causing us to be physically aroused," and on the other hand, our parasympathetic system acts like a car brake and prevents harmful emotions. We should try and keep our parasympathetic system active with methods such as relaxation, deep breathing, and mindfulness. In the end, she explained some of the ways to reduce anxiety and concerns as outlined below:
- In the Time Machine Technique we mentally travel to the future and visualise the consequences of the negative thoughts or we go back in time and realise the futility of our stress. Profit and loss technique is in a two-column table of profits and losses, were we analyse the benefits and losses of a concern and if the harms of this concern outweigh the benefits, we try to put it aside
- Dealing with fears technique for example involves cutting the water supply for those who are over-obsessive and after enduring the discomfort for a while, they get used to the situation and their problem is solved
- The technique of self-questioning with consecutive questions about the outcome and ultimately resulting in extremely disturbing thoughts will lessen the concern for that problem for us.
- In the mindfulness technique, we first consider a safe environment and then bring the worrying thoughts to our minds to tackle them one by one.
- Techniques for doing enjoyable activities such as house chores or car maintenance, reading books or articles and socialising with friends etc can lead to reducing our stress levels.