Anxiety - Friend or Foe?
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Carmel Cleary MBACP(Accred)
9th June, 2009
Have you recently experienced a racing heart, muscle tension, chest tightness or pain, felt breathless, faintness or dizziness, experienced a feeling of unreality, or a feeling of being detached?
Has this happened suddenly and for no apparent reason, and provoked a feeling of intense fear and alarm.
This is anxiety, and occurs when the body becomes aroused because it senses a possible threat.
Anxiety as our friend can actually provide motivation to get things done, and at low levels, improve function and performance.
However, anxiety becomes a foe when the these feelings occur frequently, begin to interfere with our every day life, and their intensity is inappropriate to the situation.
So, what is the cause? Biological factors, psychological factors, lifestyle factors, and social and cultural factors - it is impossible to know which of the above are responsible for any one person's anxiety problem. However, to develop an effective treatment plan does not require a need to understand the cause.
Anxiety disorders are associated with negative patterns of thinking. Simply put, having negative thoughts can contribute to anxiety and fear.
However, the good news is that anxiety and anxiety disorders are among the most treatable of psychological problems.
If you suffer from anxiety, a treatment plan can be devised which will address situations and objects which trigger anxiety. Strategies can be introduced to change anxious thinking, including relaxation techniques, giving you the opportunity to identify and change problem areas of your life, to create an anti-anxiety life-style.
This may not result in the loss of your anxiety completely, but you can certainly reduce, and maybe shift, from fighting against it, to accepting that you can live with it, using the skills you have learnt, and far from being a foe, can perhaps making anxiety your friend.
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