We know that dealing with anxiety can be difficult and sometimes debilitating. Whilst it may seem as though things are never going to get any better – there is help available and life does not have to feel this way.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety can make things seem worse than they are and can also prevent you from carrying out everyday tasks, like leaving home to go shopping or to meet friends. Where stress is something that will come and go, anxiety can affect a person even if the cause in unclear.
When in a state of anxiety, our ‘fight, flight, freeze’ response will turn on. This acts as an internal alarm system, designed to protect us from danger in the wild. These days we can recognise this system through the ‘butterflies’ feeling we get in our stomach’ or the ‘sweaty palms’ we experience when nervous. Anxiety however, may cause this response to activate at inappropriate times. You may feel this during normal, non-threatening situations.
Anxiety UK describes anxiety like a bucket of water; If we keep adding stressors to the bucket (even tiny ones, like the school run or commuting to work), over time it fills up until one day it overflows. This can be a good way of looking at anxiety as it explains why sometimes it can seem to come out of the blue, with no significant trigger.
If we keep adding stressors to the bucket (even tiny ones, like the school run or commuting to work), over time it fills up until one day it overflows. This can be a good way of looking at anxiety as it explains why sometimes it can seem to come out of the blue, with no significant trigger.
While some will know what causes their anxiety; after experiencing a traumatic event, for example, others will not have such an identifiable reason. Not knowing the cause of anxiety can sometimes cause a person to experience further distress - if they don’t know the trigger, how can they overcome it?
When is the right time to seek therapy?
Anxiety is a problem that can get worse if the stressors continue to build up. People may feel ashamed to ask for help, or believe that it’s not ‘that big a problem’ thus covering their feelings and dealing with it alone. It’s important to know that you deserve support and as lonely as you feel, people care. If you’re not comfortable talking to a loved one, there is help available.
Here at Clarity Therapy, we support lots of people with anxiety.
If you are experiencing physical symptoms, it is important you consult your GP.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder - If you often feel anxious or fearful, but not anxious about a specific event or experience, you may be diagnosed with GAD. Typically, these feelings are related to everyday tasks, such as stress at home or work, but other times you may not know why you are feeling anxious.
Phobias - A phobia is an intense fear of something - no matter how dangerous or threatening it may be to you. Coming into close contact with the feared situation may cause you to feel anxious. In some cases, even the thought of said situation can trigger anxiety.
Panic disorder - If you experience seemingly unpredictable panic attacks, and are unable to identify a trigger, you may be diagnosed with panic disorder. Symptoms include shortness of breath, feeling faint and trembling.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) - OCD comprises of obsessional thoughts followed by compulsive urges. The obsessions are recurring urges, thoughts or images that can cause you to feel anxious. Compulsions are the actions or thoughts that you feel the need to do or repeat. Compulsions are typically a response to ease the anxiety of an obsession.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - After experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, and are experiencing flashbacks or nightmares, you may be diagnosed with PTSD. These reactions can make you feel like you’re reliving the fear and anxiety over and over again.
Counselling for anxiety is one form of treatment. Talking to a counsellor can help in many ways, including helping you understand what may be causing your anxiety, and teaching you coping techniques. There are many types of talking therapies available, though the most commonly prescribed is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
Cognitive behavioural therapy looks to help you manage problems by enabling you to recognise how your thoughts affect both your feeling and behaviour. CBT combines two approaches; examining your thoughts and the way you behave. This helps to break any overwhelming problems down into smaller, more manageable tasks.
Mindfulness exercises for anxiety can help you manage symptoms. The aim of mindfulness is to develop your awareness of the present moment. It can teach you to be more appreciative, self-compassionate and non-judgemental. Mindfulness can help you gain greater clarity on your surroundings, which can help you recognise what triggers your anxiety and how to deal with them effectively.
While feeling anxious is a natural response, suffering from anxiety long-term can be very intense. Anxiety will affect individuals differently, however, there are common symptoms listed below.
• rapid and/or irregular heartbeat
• fast breathing
• trouble sleeping
• feeling irritable
• lack of concentration
• panic attacks
Tips to Manage Anxiety
Self-care goes hand in hand with looking after your mental health. Learning techniques and methods to help you manage your anxiety can really make a difference. It's important to not let the fear of your anxiety rule your life and having some self-care methods in place can help you cope with symptoms.
Talk to someone
Talking to someone you trust can ease the pressure and will often give you a sense of relief. It's easy to keep our feelings to ourselves, but talking to a friend, family member or even a professional can be so beneficial. Whether they can offer advice or simply listen, talking to someone can remind you that people care - even when it feels like you’re on your own.
Focus on your breathing
When feeling anxious or the onset of a panic attack, it’s easy to forget simple things, like breathing. But taking a moment to focus solely on your breath can calm you and help you manage the anxiety. Try breathing deeply through your nose for four seconds. Exhale through your mouth for another four, keeping your shoulders relaxed. Continue this until your feelings pass.
Keep a diary
Recording your feelings and what happens every time you feel anxious can help you become more aware of your triggers. Recording when, what, and how the anxiety attacks come on can help you understand how to cope with future situations. Be sure to record successfully managed experiences with your anxiety too, this can act as a reminder that you are in control.
Stay active and eat healthily
Coffee, alcohol and cigarettes are stimulants and may cause you to feel worse, or make it difficult for you to relax. Staying active and moving your body may help you manage your anxiety as it's an opportunity to release any stress and refocus. You don’t have to follow a strict diet or a tough workout regime, but eating healthy foods and staying active can improve overall well-being.
Benefits of Therapy
• Confidential, non-judgemental environment in which you can discuss your concerns, emotions and feelings.
• Space to discuss and work through difficult issues such as low self-esteem, depression and anxiety.
• A safe environment to explore private matters such as sex life/desires and relationship issues.
• Support for family members who may be finding it difficult coming to terms with your addiction.
Why choose Clarity Well-Being Clinic?
• You can self-refer to counselling. Just give us a call on 02477 180333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.
• We offer a free initial telephone consultation with Ryan, the practice manager, so you can be put in touch with the right therapist for you as we believe not one therapist fits all
• We offer flexible appointments at a time that's convenient for you
• We aim to offer a safe, welcoming environment
• Tailored therapeutic plan