Is something everyone experiences at some point in their lives. In appropriate situations anxiety is normal and healthy. It prompts a flight or fight reaction in response to a threat.
Having anxiety does not make you weak or worthless. You are experiencing a reaction that impacts and debilitates your physical and mental health.
You are not alone. Some figures say 15% of the UK population are affected by anxiety. I think that figure is higher as often people will try to cope on their own and not seek help.
When anxiety grows in intensity and duration then this can lead to you experiencing a variety of reactions. Panic attacks, feeling out of control, inability to cope or handle interactions with others. It may also impact on sleep patterns, feeling irritable, exhausted and despairing.
Anxiety may be triggered in response to something specific, generalised or non-determined. Frequently your internal dialogue will be self-defeating, critical and despairing.
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.
Take time out be mindful of self, observe your state of being, viewing the anxiety at a distance rather than being overwhelmed by it. Consciously scan your body from the feet up to the head and relax the muscles. Deepen and lengthen the breathing.
Use discreet distraction techniques, put an elastic band around a wrist and gently stretch it letting it snap against the skin, tapping parts of the body can help too. Be active, if at work take breaks, go out at lunch time, do things that engage you.
Releasing the grip of anxiety
We will look at your history of anxiety, how it has changed over time and look at the patterns. You will be able to express your feelings, fears and doubts in the session so sharing and giving voice to your concerns.
We will focus on the here and now by identifying your thought processes. This is done by attending to your internal dialogue and determining if it is self-critical, controlling, self-defeating etc.
By exposing the thoughts that reinforce anxiety they can then be countered. Your negative thoughts are not you.
The thoughts and reactions are typically historical in nature and frequently based on the fear of failing, being overwhelmed and out of control. Whilst those limiting thoughts are not true or factual, repeated thousands of time in the background they reinforce and grow the fear.
Challenging those limiting thoughts through here and now observation and replacing with valid affirming thoughts the self-image is reappraised and then the activity that triggers the response can be tested, firstly gently and is a safe way.
By using a Transactional Analysis and Humanistic Counselling approach over time the anxiety response can reduce and diminish.
In some instances a stimulus maybe too overwhelming. This could be a busy, hostile workplaces where the demands are too much. In these instances it may be better to look at what you can do to make changes, ie leave and get another job, rather than things being done to you.
Therefore anxiety can be a message to make changes in your life to achieve positive outcomes.
By working with me at my practise New Direction Solutions in Southampton I can provide Counselling and Coaching to support you to make that change.
For additional information visit https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/