Feeling nervous, shy or worried about things from time to time is part and parcel of being a human being. But, feeling nervous, worried, shy, and anxious all the time, to the extent that it prevents you from doing things, from living your life might mean something else.
Many of us struggle with anxiety and have to battle it every day. Sometimes, we win. Sometimes, we don't. The point is, it can be complicated. And more than that, the drain on our energy and ability to do something as simple as go to work, socialise or simply get out of the house can be massively impacted.
Ongoing anxiety can be annoying. Super annoying. Annoying for those suffering its effects and annoying for those around them, who get affected by it too. And what can make this worse is that anxiety sufferers are very aware of the consequences of their anxiety on their relationships.
Relationship of all kinds – romantic, professional, familial, neighbourly – are affected in almost every conceivable way by the presence of anxiety in our lives. People with anxiety often feel the need to check in constantly, or to do the opposite, and disappear completely and without warning or explanation. They have a tendency to try to control situations so that they aren't presented with any outcomes that might find them surprised and unprepared.
On a good day, people who don’t carry this weight might see the world as full of potential and possibility, whereas, even on a good day, an anxiety sufferer might see it as being dauntingly riddled with challenges. Seeing the world differently is not a bad thing, those with anxiety tend to think more about what's going with other people, and can be very insightful as a result. But it can also result in getting lost in a mental tailspin of what-ifs and worst case scenarios.
What we’re talking about here is called Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). GAD is a long-term condition, but a number of different treatments can help. Talking through your anxiety with a trained therapist is one way. Mindfulness and applied relaxation can also help and can be every bit as effective as counselling in treating GAD.
What matters is that you find the approach that works for you and that you learn tools and tips to reduce the burden of anxiety you carry. Focussing on the present moment or acknowledging and accepting certain feelings work for many but the routes to achieving that are all individual and different for each of us.
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About Andy Brett
My name is Andy Brett and I'm a qualified Gestalt therapist living and working in Brighton. A registered member of the BACP, I work with a wide range of people to create change in their lives. If something in this article has resonated with you, feel free to get in touch and let me know. Visit http://relational-growth.co.uk to find out how.