Anxiety and fears are two sides of the same issue. Both are sources of information that signal us to feel endangered. When we feel anxiety, we do not know the source or cause. All we can experience is the uncomfortable but “invisible” threat to our well-being. The challenge when dealing with anxiety is to be able to find the image that brings the anxiety into focus.
Unfortunately, anxiety can become a habitual mind-set that operates automatically and has a tendency to generalize, taking up more and more of our conscious attention. The challenge is now twofold: to explore the roots of the anxiety which often lie in past experiences even sometimes forgotten experiences, and assess the relevance of the felt threat to our current life.
Once the process has begun of unraveling the anxiety we can begin to deal with it as a fear. Fear is, so to speak, anxiety limited and in focus. When we identify a fear, we have the opportunity to address it consciously. Very often fear tells us that we need to grow in some way, and growth means “stretching” ourselves better to deal with new challenges and opportunities.