May 2023

Demystifying Anxiety

Life is about Balance

Anxiety as a State rather than a Condition

Let’s talk about Anxiety. The word Anxiety has many origins. The Latin word ANGOR, is defined as: mental distress, anxiety, anguish, vexation, suffocation, choking, strangulation. Also, its corresponding verb in Latin is ANGO, defined as to constrict, and the Latin adjective ANGUSTUS describes narrow, tight, contracted, constricted, small, not spacious. ALL three of these words sound like very reasonable descriptions of what a person may experience when they feel anxious. Considering that the Latin language is thought to have originated in 700BC and the Greek language began around 3000BC, it is fascinating to me that the word ANGST which the English language adopted from the German language, originated from the same Indo-European language root that gave us the words ANGUISH, ANXIETY and ANGER. Angst originated as a word for fear in German, Dutch, and Danish from the Indo-European root meaning tight, constricted, painful. Again, all this sounds very similar to what someone may describes as their symptoms of Anxiety. Later in the mid 1800’s, Angst would go on to define “a specific kind of existential dread”, that was not exactly fear, and not the same as worry, but a simple fact of the human condition, a feeling that disrupts peace and contentment for no definable reason. The word was adopted into English after Freud used it as a term for generalized anxiety. Here is the fascinating part: the Indo-European languages originated WELL before the Greek language, with the best guess being around 8700 years BC! So, Anxiety was being described and redefined by man in the earliest languages known to man and what we call anxiety today really must be considered simply as: a fact of the human condition.

All this to say that Anxiety is a normal part of the Human Condition. What is not normal about Anxiety is to personalize it. We may have anxiety during any period of time of the day or period of time in our life, but the last thing we want to do is to personalize this STATE – (IT IS NOT A CONDITION – BUT STATE), as “MY ANXIETY”. How many times a week do I hear people refer to “My Anxiety”. We do not ever want to own a state of anxiety. Recognizing that we feel anxious does NOT MEAN WE OWN ANXIETY. Recognizing that we feel anxious is important so that we can REMAIN PRESENT WITH it in the moment and work with it to understand and eventually resolve what creates it in our mind. Working through feeling anxious starts by acknowledging we feel it-  NOT that we ARE IT. It is very important to not own Anxiety, but to respect it when we feel it as a response - conscious or subconscious - to our environment. How can something that we can learn from and work through in our life be considered a problematic condition? The answer to this lies in how we receive ourself when we have symptoms which are correlated with feeling anxious.

Everyone’s experience of anxiety is different.

To review just the most common Mental Symptoms of Anxiety, these may be but are not limited to any of the following:

·       racing thoughts,

·       uncontrollable over-thinking,

·       difficulties concentrating,

·       feelings of dread, panic or ‘impending doom’,

·       feeling irritable,

·       heightened alertness,

·       problems with sleep,

·       changes in appetite,

·       wanting to escape from the situation you are in, and

·       dissociation.

If you dissociate you might feel like you are not connected to your own body, or like you are watching things happen around you, without feeling them.

Why do I NOT CONSIDER ANXIETY A CONDITION? Afterall, aren’t any one of the symptoms listed above potentially debilitating and when we have more than one of them at the same time, don’t we potentially have the Condition of Anxiety? The reason I consider Anxiety a state of being, rather than a condition we carry in our life follows this line of reasoning:

Do the words ANGRY, FRUSTRATED, SAD, or so many other words that describe our state, (i.e. an anxious, angry, frustrated or sad state) that we move through during the days of our lives have a diagnosis code?


 Everyone, I mean everyone, can feel anxiety and experience an anxious state from time to time or more often. Remember, it is part of the human condition.

But Anxiety has a Diagnosis code, also known as an ICD-10 code, attached to it. Well so does Heart Disease. Although it can be argued that Heart Disease can be reversed and eliminated, it is obviously an actual medical condition, just like so many of the 1000’s of Medical Conditions we label with diagnosis codes. I just don’t happen to think it is reasonable or accurate to consider a person who suffers from feeling anxious any more likely to have a medical condition that needs “treatment” than a person who suffers from feeling anger, frustration or sadness. Having said this, and upsetting many I am sure, I am not saying that feeling anxious, anger, frustration or sadness should not be recognized and addressed. To the contrary, in doing so, we will also be reducing the incidence of many real medical conditions we may develop if we do not address our feelings.

The medical condition for Anxiety was created when we started to treat this as a condition rather than a response to our environment with the birth of Psychiatry. The AMA recognized Psychiatry as a medical specialty in 1844. The first psychiatric drug was created in 1950. I will stop there, and you can draw your own conclusions. Remember, man has described anxiety since the beginning of recorded lingual history, as reviewed above. Is it fair to make this state of mind a condition, also known as a disease, now? How is General Anxiety Disorder different from feeling anxious a lot of the time? Could it be related to the individual’s response to their internal and external environment rather than a condition that has them feeling anxious, angry, frustrated, or sad?

COVID certainly brought Anxiety into a new arena of power over the human mind, with words such as “unprecedented” and “uncertainty” used daily. It is for this reason that I would like to request that everyone consider addressing any symptoms of anxiety with a transformative approach that brings balance to their life and reduces their vulnerability to feeling anything more than fleeting anxiety rather than owning the anxiety.

Simple tools to consider instituted that can assuage feelings of anxiety over time as well as in the moment:

  • Your breath – learn how to relax with your breath and realize how little effort it takes to breathe into a relaxed state.

Sharon Salzberg is a profoundly easy person to follow and relax with as she teaches us how to follow our breath and relax. Call it meditation if you like, but I like to take the labels away and introduce you to your breath through this 9 minute guided practice led by Sharon Salzberg.

  • CALM is another very popular APP on the phone for relaxation through your day as well as for sleep

  • Insighttimer is a great APP for all your pursuits into learning how to relax and be more present for yourself in the moment.

The list of tools continues and none of this is difficult, but are still considered a challenge for many to place into their daily life, for the number one reason that people to not take the time or create the practice.

  •   Open your body to relax through daily gentle stretching exercises
  •   Open your Body to relax through a regular exercise program
  •   Clear your body to relax through clean eating
  •  Allow your body to relax through giving yourself the opportunity to sleep the hours you need ( not 5-6!) EACH NIGHT
  •    Wash your tension through your system and out of your body through daily hydration with enough water a day

Please consider Energetic Calm below to:

  • Activate Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is the main calming neurotransmitter in the body to reduce the stress response
  • Support adrenal function by normalizing the stress response
  • Reduce Anxiety or feelings of overwhelm and nervousness without impairing memory or causing drowsiness
  • Support Serotonin which is the very important calming and mood stabilizing neurotransmitter

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Energetic Calm

In the spirit of always suggesting that we can be invested in our own self care and not forget about ourselves, it is especially important to support our nervous system as well as our adrenal system to provide optimum balance for our emotional and physical health to manage the body’s response to internal and external stressors.

As your optimum Self-Care and Natural Health!

Ariane Cometa MD

your holistic doc