Image Credit: Jacob
Image Credit: Jacob

April 29, 2024



Understanding and Overcoming


In the realm of mental health, new terms emerge to describe the nuanced experiences of psychological phenomena. One such term is introduced in this article: Angstipation is a portmanteau of anxiety and constipation. While it may sound a bit humorous, the concept is serious and relatable for many. Angstipation refers to a mental block caused by anxiety, where thoughts, decision-making, and actions become as congested as one experiences in a digestive-tract way in physical constipation.

Common Causes of Angstipation

  1. Overthinking: When one ruminates on possibilities, consequences, past events and future uncertainties, it can lead to mental logjam. Overthinking often involves dwelling on inconsequential worries rather than on constructive thoughts, which therefore clouds judgment, reduces progress and self-confidence, and impedes action.
  2. Fear of Failure: This is a significant trigger for angstipation. The dread of making mistakes or not meeting the expectations of others can paralyze decision making and creativity.
  3. Perfectionism: Needing to have everything perfect can create an immense pressure that blocks progress, including even starting. Perfectionists often feel stuck because they believe that anything short of perfection is unacceptable.
  4. Decision Fatigue: Being bombarded with too many choices can lead to angstipation. When your mind is blitzed by options, it can shut down like a blown fuse, unable to function.
  5. Traumatic Stress: Past traumas can significantly impact how we handle current stressors. Traumatic experiences might condition the mind to freeze when faced with stress, akin to a 'deer in the headlights' response.

Ways to Overcome Angstipation

  1. Mindfulness Meditation: These practices, and, yes, they involve practices, help you stay in the moment and can reduce rumination. By focusing on the here and now, mindfulness can clear the mind of clutter and chatter and promote a calmer, more focused state of being.
  2. Prayer: Staying focused on one's relationship with God is central to a believer's life. Doing so with daily discipline allows one to remember that God will not wantonly allow suffering or strife. It all has meaning and purpose. Focusing on finding the purpose takes the sting off stress and puts angstipation at ease.
  3. Cognitive Behavioral Techniques: Techniques such as cognitive restructuring can help you challenge and change the negative thought patterns that contribute to angstipation. By identifying irrational beliefs and replacing them with realistic ones, one can ease the mental blockage.
  4. Structured Problem Solving: Breaking down one's challenges into manageable parts allows greater opportunity for movement. Start by identifying the problem, continue by reviewing past attempts' successes. Brainstorm potential new solutions, weighing the pros and the cons. Ultimately decide on a course of action based on all the above. Keep your scientist hat on, of course, and write down your observations and outcomes. In a week or two, re-evaluate all the steps and continue forward. This process can help simplify the decision making and reduce the overwhelm.
  5. Set Small, Achievable Goals: When overwhelmed, setting small, incremental goals can help you start moving forward. Accomplishing these can boost your confidence and will gradually help clear your mental blockage.
  6. Seek Professional Help: Sometimes the causes of angstipation are deep-rooted and complex, necessitating professional intervention. A psychologist can help you understand the underlying issues behind your anxiety and provide tailored strategies to manage and overcome it.
  7. Online Help: Computerized Cognitive Behavioral Courses can be very helpful boosting one's Emotional Intelligence. Visit MindCare.Quest for more.

Final Thoughts

While angstipation isn't a formally recognized clinical term, it effectively captures the experience of feeling mentally constipated due to anxiety and poor emotion regulation. Understanding the causes and applying practical strategies to manage these underlying signs and symptoms can significantly improve your mental clarity and decision-making capabilities. Like overcoming digestive tract constipation with the right dietary intake and exercise, angstipation too can be managed by nurturing your mental health with positive, proactive tools and professional support when needed.

Visit MindCare.Quest for more.

See you again soon,

Dr Rudy Wietfeldt


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