Do I experience anxiety? What is anxiety and what can I do to resolve it?
Anxiety is commonly caused by a feeling of fear, or feeling 'I am not safe'. This can lead to worry and then panic, triggering a feeling of overwhelm. Eventually anxiety can lead to depression.
Is your mind filled with constant noise? Are you forever thinking about worries and concerns, that may be real or imagined?
Do you find yourself avoiding situations and places to reduce these feelings?
Anxiety often presents as a tightness in the chest, obsessive thinking and rapid breathing, making you feel tense and uptight.
Experiencing anxiety can be debilitating and cause you to stop functioning in society, including going to work and having good relationships with partners and others.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is the release of five neurotransmitters from the brain when you feel under threat. These chemicals prepare the body for fight, flight and freeze, a natural response to being under attack.
In our modern world, this reaction can become stuck “on”, causing us to have an irrational response to people, places and things. This response can be constantly triggered by perceived threats that no longer require the same intensity, leaving us stuck feeling anxious.
Anxiety can present as physical, psychological and in behavioural forms.
What types of anxiety are there?
There are many types of anxiety, some of the most common are:
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is when people feel anxious and worried most of the time, leaving them feeling overwhelmed and fearful about everyday events.
Worries tend to be persistent, intense and can relate to minor things such as attending an appointment. People often feel something terrible is about to happen.
- Social Phobia happens when people feel overwhelmed with anxious feelings when around other people. They may feel what they say and do is being judged and believe they are not able to communicate effectively for fear of getting it wrong.
Often people will avoid situations that bring them into groups of people, such as shopping and parties. They become isolated which creates more anxious thinking.
- Specific Phobia can occur when we experience an exaggerated negative feeling or fear of something. It can include people, places and things. It is not always rational and the event that created the fear is not always obvious. It is an exaggerated response to a perceived threat to life.
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is anxious thinking that creates an incessant urge to perform a behaviour to reduce the distress. People can often create shameful feelings around their behaviour and can suffer greatly before they seek help.
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) occurs after a perceived threat to your life or the life of others. This threat may have been witnessed or experienced. People suffer with intense fear, often reliving the event and being trapped in it.
Symptoms of PTSD include stress and tension, avoiding reminders of the event, and feeling emotionally numb.
- Panic Attacks can be disabling and debilitating. These present as an overwhelming and unpredictable feeling of fear which may cause people to avoid environments and situations for fear of triggering another episode.
People may respond irrationally and may collapse and be paralysed or not recall the incident. Panic attacks may be confused with other health issues.
How can anxiety be resolved?
Often people have been told that anxiety is just something they’ll have to live with or take medication for. In my experience, helping hundreds of clients, this is simply not the case.
We can change when we decide to, it just takes a little time, some new tools, and most importantly commitment. Thankfully, it’s often easier than you might think.
Retraining the brain is a little like learning to tie your shoelaces for the first time. In the beginning, it takes some effort, you have to concentrate, then you get better and better at it. When you have someone showing you how it is even easier.
As human beings, we require repetition to learn many things, changing your thinking uses the same process. Through repeating new behaviours, we build new patterns and habits. This is made easy during the therapy and then small changes are suggested for your daily life. This will assist you to create real and permanent change in your life.
- Karen Easter - Strategies 4 Life