Take charge of your anxiety
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Graeme Orr MBACP(Accred), UKRCP Reg. Ind. Counsellor
3rd December, 20120 Comments
Do you worry about how often you worry about things that might happen, however unlikely. While into every life a little anxiety falls for some it feels like bucket loads. It is often brought on by stress or unfamiliar experiences. Yet when that anxiety begins to interfere with everyday life, things become more serious and you should think about taking action.
Typically people, who suffer, often have trouble relaxing or suffer from insomnia. Often they will catastrophize about seemly unlikely events around family or money or employment. It can be very tiring arguing with yourself as to whether a particular scenario will play out. Often great lengthens to make sure that negative outcomes do not come true. For example preparing two solutions to an issue or arriving extremely early for an appointment.
At any one time around 6% of people will suffer from this level of anxiety (called Generalised Anxiety Disorder [GAD]). Women make up the majority of that number, with around half as many men as women suffering.
Anxiety is part of the body’s fight or flight system. It is a system that serves us well when danger is present, the problem, rather like an allergic reaction, is that for some people this body system can become over sensitive. Yet there are things that you can do to desensitise yourself and while it might be difficult to change your thinking
A common trigger for people is the quiet moments. For it is at these times, their anxiety ambushes them, for example: When they are trying to sleep or when they are waiting for something. The negative thoughts and different possibilities start to play in the head. At these and other times it is useful to have something which might alleviate the stress. Perhaps a walk around the block or a stress ball, these help to channel the anxiety into an activity which can take the focus from the trigger.
Control of your breathing is something that most people with anxiety, can use not only to stop attacks being severe, but actually to stop them altogether. As you become anxious there is a tendency to take many shallow breaths. However, if you do that for a longer period of time it will actually cause anxiety and even a panic attack. The best way to control anxiety is to take a few deep breaths and this helps your body to control your heart rate and breathing so that you feel less anxious. It is most effective if you can use it before any stressful experience, yet it will also make a difference if you suddenly find yourself in a stressful situation.
Physical exercise has been shown to be helpful in dealing with anxiety, giving an outlet for the energy and the hormones that charge round your system. Remember that physical exercise can include going for a walk or a cycle it does not (necessarily) mean you have to joining a gym or taking up a sport.
Finally talking therapies have been shown to be very effective in respect of anxiety. Therapy can help you to identify the triggers for your anxiety and create new ways of thinking about how you can deal with situations. How you might control the self-talk that goes on with anxiety and put you back in control of your life.
Remember you are not alone, many people suffer from anxiety and many have found ways to conquer it.
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