Anxiety is one of the most common of all human conditions, and 2012 has been a very anxious year for many people. Real fears of redundancy and financial hardship sit alongside other fears connected with low self confidence and self esteem, loneliness and difficult life experiences. Any kind of loss, a relationship, partner, miscarriage, job, bereavement, menopause can bring on feelings of anxiety. Without it we might be numb or lifeless, but at its most extreme, it can cripple our lives and create great misery. Many of us do whatever we can to avoid feeling anxious. We drink alcohol or take drugs to numb feelings, we fear may overwhelm us. The key is to understand our Anxiety, and in this way lessen the damaging effects of the feelings.
Anxiety can be said to operate on 3 levels - physical, mental and emotional, and unpacking each level in turn can be useful. On a physical level we breathe shallowly and rapidly, we sweat and tremble. We might have trouble sleeping, eat too little or too much. Practicing deep breathing consciously and regularly can help with these feelings, whenever we become aware of them. On a mental level we may develop anxious thoughts about our appearance or our ability to perform certain tasks and talk to certain people. We carry around messages in our heads of not being good enough. Learning and practicing Meditation can help us put things in perspective. Taking even 10 minutes a day to sit quietly and watch our thoughts can bring about profound change in the way we think. On an emotional level we experience feelings of fear and trepidation and feelings of low self worth and unhappiness. Positive affirmations can assist us here.
Apart from practicing breathing techniques, meditation and positive affirmations, many people find off-loading with an experienced Counsellor a helpful way of dealing with anxiety on all 3 levels. Our anxiety may have its roots in childhood and how we were treated by our parents, siblings or teachers. Anxiety can also be a result of having too high expectations of ourselves or others. By giving ourselves the time to explore the roots and symptoms of our anxiety we are practicing self-care and hopefully preventing more serious problems from occurring.
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