Stress and anxiety are very good at spreading from one context to another without us realising.
It’s a bit like the mythical “shapeshifter”, Harry Potter style, changing its form to fit into different situations.
Suppose we’re having a particularly difficult time at work, with emotions riding high. Heart rate might be raised, our thinking less clear.
What happens when we get home and stop thinking about work?
If we still have some stress and anxiety ‘hanging in the background’, the mind may keep looking for reasons for feeling that stress and anxiety.
It might hone in on that little habit your spouse does; or on the dinner you’re organising for a few close friends. It might act as-if that’s the cause of the stress and anxiety, and get frustrated at these things in an unusual way.
Or if your daughter’s running late and not answering her phone, you might get more anxious or worried than appropriate about her safety.
If you hear a famous person has cancer, you might begin to worry more than is appropriate about the risk of getting cancer yourself. Here it’s shifting towards health anxiety or hypochondria.
If you read about global warming, you might start to worry more than is helpful about the climate problem. Now it’s feeding into eco-anxiety.
Basically, if something is causing anxiety and stress, then you’re likely to start finding more and more things to feel worried, annoyed, anxious or stressed about.
The solution is to find the biggest cause(s) of your anxiety and stress, and treat it at the source. As you do that, it can be surprising how the symptoms and other worries you once had begin to fade away.
Hunt down the shapeshifter, and stop it sneaking into the other areas of your life.
All the best,