Photo Credit: Jewish Press

When you successfully overcome many illnesses, you develop antibodies. An antibody is a protein produced by our immune systems in response to invading organisms such as bacteria and viruses. Antibodies recognize foreign invaders in the body, coat them by binding to them, and then allow the immune cells of the body to fight them.

We understand how antibodies work for viruses and bacteria, but can we produce antibodies for anxiety? Well, we cannot create actual proteins in our bodies that will attack anxiety, but perhaps we can create different “automatic” responses to anxiety that can help us fight it off if it is recurring.

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First, it’s important to recognize why we feel anxiety. If we didn’t have any anxiety, we wouldn’t know to be cautious around dangerous things. Our ancestors would not have run if they saw a lion coming at them. We wouldn’t look both ways before we cross the street. Our body’s flight or fight response is important because it helps us escape danger and keeps us alive.

BUT, and this is a big one, the modern world is riddled with situations that are not life or death yet still cause us anxiety. So, how can we develop some antibodies to that anxiety?

Change your mindset. Think about anxiety as a challenge rather than a threat – something you need to get through, not away from.

Label your anxiety. Recognizing your anxiety for what it is will help you move forward. Therefore, give it a name. Tell yourself you are feeling anxious in order to help yourself work through it.

Don’t fight it. Sometimes you need to embrace your anxiety, and yet act anyway. In other words, let yourself feel the fear and attack the challenge anyway. This productivity will help you build resilience in the face of anxiety.

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An acclaimed educator and social skills ​specialist​, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at rifkaschonfeld@gmail.com.