We all have times when we worry. How will we be able to afford the next bill? What happens if we forget our words when giving that presentation? What will people think of us? It is completely normal to feel anxious when faced with potentially stressful situations and usually the feeling goes away, but sometimes it doesn’t go away, instead, it becomes a problem. Anxiety starts to intrude and cause difficulties in our day to day living.
Just like anger, anxiety is related to the fight or flight response and increases adrenalin. It preps us for a fight or to run away. This is great if you're facing a potential threat and you need to take to your heels and take cover. It’s not so great if you’re on a first date or about to have a job interview.
Anxiety is often caused by situations we feel we can’t control or things that have upset us in the past. We are inclined to remember the times that we feel we have failed for example and fear recreating that same experience. And it’s not just situations or memories that can trigger anxiety. Anxiety can be related to confidence, how we feel about ourselves and our abilities can be a factor. Our physical health is also a consideration. If we don’t look after ourselves, what we eat and drink, how much we sleep and how much we exercise, it can contribute significantly to our anxious thoughts. Unfortunately, if we allow it, anxiety itself can become a problem. We start to feel anxious about feeling anxious. We worry that our anxiety itself will get in the way and anxious thoughts spiral out of control.
Types of anxiety can include,
- Generalised Anxiety - A tendency to worry excessively all the time
- Specific Phobias - Can include fear of flying, fear of heights or fear of animals
- Social Anxiety or Social Phobia - A general fear of social situations and interactions
- Panic Attacks or Panic Disorder- Sudden disturbing sensations of fear, panic or loss of control
Counselling can be an extremely useful approach in helping you deal with your anxiety. Therapy helps by giving you the time that you need to reflect on the reasons why you might be suffering the way you currently are. It can help you to trace the underlying meanings behind your anxiety, the thoughts, fears, triggers, memories and behaviours that might be contributing to your anxious feelings.
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