Living with Anxiety
Anxiety is an strong emotional feeling of unease that everyone experiences at some point in their lives. In appropriate situations anxiety is normal and healthy. It prompts a freeze, flight or fight survival reaction in response to a threat.
Sometimes it can be really difficult to appreciate that these feelings are designed to protect and keep you safe. A sense of danger or being out of control can lead to a triggering of your internal alerting system to be switched on and remain at a high level for an extended period.
Our natural sense of self preservation is very strong. When on some level we feel we are being threatened or not in control the survival reflex kicks in and we feel anxious. This can leave you with a sense of ongoing dread, vulnerability and inadequacy.
Impacts of Anxiety
Experiencing the distress of anxiety does not make you weak or worthless. You are experiencing a reaction that if left unchecked can impact and debilitate your physical and mental well being.
Importantly you are not alone. Some figures say 15% of the UK population are affected by anxiety. That figure is higher as often people will try to cope on their own and not seek help.
You don’t have to cope with this on your own. Reach out to me at my anxiety counselling southampton practice; ‘New Direction Solutions’, to help you with this.
When anxiety grows in intensity and duration this can lead to you experiencing a variety of increasingly debilitating reactions. Panic attacks, feeling out of control, inability to cope or handle interactions with others.
It may also impact on sleep patterns, creativity, libido, energy,motivation and mood, leaving you feeling irritable, exhausted and despondent. In turn this will affect how you feel about your self along with your relationships with work colleagues, friends and family.
Frequently your internal dialogue will be self-defeating, critical and despairing which in itself is distressing.
Origins and Triggers of Anxiety
Anxiety can have its beginnings in earlier times that were intensely emotional. Generally over whelming and threatening to the individual at the time. Unable to process and make sense of this, the perceived threat becomes stored in the brain as a traumatic event.
Having a traumatic experience means is it not an integrated part of our day to day self. It isn’t something that we take in our stride, we haven’t been able rationalise the emotional experience . It remains stored as separate event outside of the wider context of our whole life experience.
Anxiety may be triggered in response to something specific, generalised or non-determined. There two main triggers; emotional and situational.
Emotional triggers are associated with past relational experiences where there was an overwhelming event causing distress. An example may have be an authority figure in your childhood who constantly displayed rage and anger.
At the time it may have led to you have feelings of wanting to cry, run or hide. Now when someone gets angry you might automatically relive the earlier feelings even though you might not think its logical.
A situational anxiety is one based on event that occurs over which you have no control such as a car accident or a serious illness such as cancer. There isn’t the relational aspect involving another person. Instead it is the situation and environment such as fast moving traffic at a busy round about which provokes the anxiety.
Anxiety may be experienced and yet there is no conscious memory or association with a past event. Rather there may be a background anxiety that impacts on your well being but you are unable to identify what brings it on specifically.
One explanation can be a series of events that occurred at an early age. Possibly at a preverbal age so there is no conscious memory. An example is an infant being bought up by an anxious parent. The child picks up the parents anxiety and feels unsafe and under threat from an unknown source.
Fortunately the cycle of anxious feelings and thoughts can be interrupted through undertaking therapy at my anxiety counselling southampton practice and the use of targetted therapeutic techniques. The more anxious thoughts, feelings and actions are checked and challenged the more they are weakened.
It is important to see your GP who may prescribe medication and discount any other medical conditions. Use your support network to provide reassurance and to encourage you to participate in social activities. Also to remind you of your positive attributes, skills and resources.
The adrenaline your body produces may lead you to carry out activities at a faster pace and feel skittish. You maybe sleeping less or more and experience physical pain in the muscles. When a certain threshold is reached then it leaves you feeling mentally and physically exhausted.
To counter this exercise is useful and important so as to utilise the adrenaline, help elevate mood and aid as a distraction.
There are many situations that lead to uncontrolled anxiety. Take time out to do things you enjoy, be with other people who have a supportive and positive outlook.Consider what action you might take to resolve external pressures
Examples might be if work is the issue take some time off, ask for help, reduce working hours etc.
Financial issues can cause anxiety for individuals and families. It is worth engaging with Citizens Advise who give free confidential advise and information.
If a problem with relationships then consider relationship, couples or marriage counselling. Being able to talk about relationship difficulties in a calm, supportive environment can help.
Often people self medicate with alcohol, recreational drugs and other risky behaviour. If possible try and avoid this as though it appears to help is the short term is can lead to dependency and more problems in the future.
By working with me at my anxiety counselling southampton practise New Direction Solutions we can work together so you can lead a more happy and content life.
Self Help – Ways to reduce your anxiety: How to Stop Feeling So Anxious Now
How counselling helps overcome anxiety: Overcoming the Anxiety of Being Anxious
For additional information on anxiety visit https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/
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