If you’re reading this, I am guessing you are experiencing anxiety or you know someone who is and therefore will probably know the devastating impact anxiety can have on a persons life. Although there is no quick answer to solving anxiety, please do not loose hope.
I hope this blog helps to inform you further about anxiety and how psychotherapeutic counselling could be one of the options to help you through a difficult time. As a counsellor, I am interested in hearing about your experience of anxiety. Although I can reflect upon the general causes of anxiety within this blog, only you know what it is like for you to feel anxious. Most importantly, therapy offers a space to explore why the anxiety became present in the first place- even if you do not know right now…
What is anxiety?
It’s a feeling that just won’t go away. You may feel worried, tense, afraid or a mixture of both. Anxiety can be experienced within both the mind and body.
Why do we experience anxiety?
It is our bodies natural response to being under pressure. It is part of being human. It is normal to experience short periods of tolerable anxiety when going through a stressful time, such as moving house or doing exams.
When does anxiety become a mental health problem?
You feel extreme levels of anxiety
The anxiety lasts for a long period of time
The fear or worry is out of proportion to the situation
Avoiding situations because you fear being anxious
Your anxiety feels out of control
You have panic attacks
Everyday life becomes more difficult
What causes anxiety?
You might not know what is causing your anxiety, which is OK. There are probably many contributing factors. Common reasons include:
Witnessing or being involved in a traumatic event
Physical health issues
Mental health issues
Drugs and medication
Work or studying
Being out of work
Feeling lonely or isolated
Loosing someone close to you
What can you do about anxiety?
You may wish to go and discuss your anxiety symptoms with your GP. They may discuss various options with you and may suggest taking medication, refer you to a counsellor, or both. However, your GP can only refer you to an NHS counselling service, this does not mean that you cannot seek private counselling in the meantime.
How can I help myself?
Talk to a friend or family member
Look after yourself physically- exercise helps release anxiety busting endorphins
Breathing exercises, such as mindfulness
Keep a diary
Talking about anxiety can cause feelings of shame. However there is a value in exploring these feeling with a therapist and reflecting upon the shame felt.
How do we respond to anxiety?
Our bodies have three responses to anxiety- fight, flight and freeze. Based on how a wild animal responds to anxiety.
Anxiety as anger
Anxiety comes out in many different ways, including some that are not obvious. It is common for someone to appear angry, but are actually really anxious. That impatient person behind you in the queue might be really anxious?