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Recognizing Anxiety in Others: Situational Awareness

In my last blog I gave pointers on how to deal with several psychological dispositions that could occur after prolonged shelter in place or quarantine and do occur at varying levels in every person’s lifetime. In this one I want to do something a bit different. I want to get back to our situational awareness discussions and take one of the psychological dispositions (from our last blog) and help you characterize it, so you can hopefully recognize it in others. Let’s start with anxiety. . . .

photo of man holding black eyeglasses
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Before we begin, let me say that anxiety can occur in many forms and is a normal part of every person’s life in one or more of these forms. For example, you may have experienced some anxiety before getting up in front of a crowd of people to speak or perform your martial arts for the first time (or second time, . . . ), or you may have felt some anxiety starting a new job, or taking a new class in school. During these short-term anxiety spells, you may have experienced increased heart rate and breathing, concentrating the blood flow to the brain (where it’s needed). This is a physical response that is preparing you for the situation you’re about to face. If it gets too intense, however, you may begin to feel lightheaded and nauseous.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) approximately 40 million Americans have some form of anxiety disorder. These disorders have the ability to powerfully disrupt one’s life, work and relationships. I’m not going to get into all the different types of anxiety disorders out there. Just know that there are several types. What I would like to do is list some characteristics of the disorder to help you better identify them in others. By identifying them in others you will be more readily able to (1) defend yourself against an anxiety-driven attack, (2) help others in need, (3) and quickly identify anxiety in yourself for prompt mitigatory actions (as we discussed in my last blog). Let’s do it this way: I’ll list some characteristics from the different types of anxiety disorders and you jot down if you’ve every experienced any of these (or do).

  • Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Having difficulty concentrating; mind going blank
  • Being irritable
  • Having muscle tension
  • Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
  • Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleep
  • Heart palpitations, a pounding heartbeat, or an accelerated heart-rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath, smothering, or choking
  • Feelings of impending doom
  • Feelings of being out of control

Whether we’re right or wrong we have perceived these things in ourselves and in others at varying times in our lives. For example, I have trained many martial artists, some of whom had previous experience in other martial arts and self defense systems. Most deal with their own form of tension that interferes with their potential in Wing Chun Kung Fu. Over time, they must learn to engineer out that tension to reach their full potential. How they do that is unique to them; it becomes their Wing Chun.

monochrome photo of man showing sadness
Photo by Kam Pratt on Pexels.com

When we perceive these things in ourselves we can seek the help we need to transcend the condition. Sometimes it is appropriate to seek out a kung fu instructor, other times psychological or physical help may be needed. Whatever the case may be, we should want to optimize ourselves, not just for the self potential we want to realize, for the peace that comes with reduced anxiety.

When we perceive it in others we have less control over the anxiety, itself. While in some cases we can help a person with kind words and listening, other times we have to avoid them in order to protect ourselves. By identifying the characteristics above in others we can take steps to defend ourselves – without violence in most cases – by creating distance or removing ourselves from the relationship.  This is a form of situational awareness and self defense.

Empower yourself to life!™

©2020 Yost Wing Chun Academy. All Rights Reserved.


If you have a question or subject you’d like to see me address on my blog page, or if you have an interest in learning self-defense in or around Tallahassee, Florida, write to me at sifuyost@gmail.com.

 

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