Hypervigilance is a state of increased alertness. Hyper-awareness may bring about a state of increased anxiety which can cause exhaustion. Hypervigilance can have a negative effect on your life. It can affect how you interact with and view others.
Hypervigilance is part of the “fight, flight, or even freeze” response, an evolutionary trait passed down from our ancestors to create a physiological response to threats. The problem is when it extends beyond the occurrence of danger and presents frequently, with high intensity, or for a long duration.
- overreact to things happening in a way that may seem hostile
- overanalyze situations and believe them to be worse than they are
- overestimate the chances of a bad thing happening physically or in relationships
- be overly sensitive to people’s tone or expressions, taking them personally
- have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep
What to do about it?
- Medication: if it is prescribed
- Relaxation: Deep breathing exercises or yoga may aid relaxation and help reduce anxiety so that people can better manage their symptoms.
- Exercise: will release endorphins, which may help reduce anxiety.
- Mindfulness: Being mindful of feelings and focusing on the moments. Monitor and reduce hypervigilant behavior.
- Communication: Expressing feelings to others and being willing to accept feedback.
- Objectivity: Looking for objective evidence, as to whether there is a need to be so on guard, may help people monitor their hypervigilant behavior.
Life Lesson: advice from Nathaniel Branden:
none is more important than the judgment we pass on ourselves.”