Anxiety from world events needs perspective
Anxiety is a growing problem in our country. While some worry is natural – and can be useful – feeling worried and fearful for much of the time takes enjoyment from your life and can cause harmful physical symptoms. So we want to try to reduce anxiety to get more enjoyment from life and be healthier.
In general anxiety is due to fear, but we don't always (and sometimes can't) rationalise that fear. And while the cause of worrying is usually something personal to us – specific events, relationships or overwork, for instance – world events can also cause extreme worry. And lately there have been so many events of all kinds – political, tragic, violent – that increasing levels of anxiety have been sparked.
Such impersonal events create uncertainty for us; 'how will Britain leaving the European Union affect me?' 'Will there be a recession?' 'Will I be involved in a terrorist attack?' No matter how distant these events are, geographically or in time, and no matter how remote we are told the risk to us is, we cannot help but worry for ourselves and for those close to us.
In addition to uncertainty, external events make us feel helpless. Rarely are we able to do anything constructive about a world event, it is outside of our control. And the enormity of the event, were it to happen, is overwhelming.
When we are gripped with anxiety it is difficult to be rational about events. Intellectually we know life cannot be risk-free, but anxiety can cloud that argument and magnify risk.
A counselling conversation can help you explore your fears and gain perspective on your worries, personal and external. It will help you understand anxiety and where it might come from for you. It will help you to learn how you can judge magnitudes of risk, and when you can minimise it in your life. And counselling can help you to see where you do have control in your life, even in the face of seemingly overwhelming events. That can reduce your sense of helplessness, and thus your fear.
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About Sandra Hewett
Sandra Hewett is a registered, Humanistic Counsellor and also a fertility counsellor. She works in private practice in Bookham, near Leatherhead, in Surrey.