The real truth behind anxiety
Anxiety is one of the most common conditions in the UK today. It can be very debilitating preventing us enjoying our lives to the full. It can get in the way of our work, of us having full relationships and of happiness. Thoughts are tumbling through your head in a seemingly uncontrolled fashion, with seemingly no escape. Yet there is action that you can take to make a real difference and once again enjoy family and friends.
Anxiety is something that goes beyond normal apprehension. You cannot shake it. You should try to know your enemy – learn how anxiety works it can help you to defeat it. The amygdala responds to a trigger that makes us uneasy and starts the body’s response using hormones for fight or flight. Those suffering a constant state of anxiety find it difficult to escape this so become stressed and unwell.
Know your enemy
Notice the things that trigger your anxiety, it has the potential to offer you control over the process. Triggers will be different for all of us, for some it might be a situation such as meetings and work, for others it might be meeting new people. Understanding the triggers that cause your anxiety allow you to choose your response. Knowing them is a useful first step in challenging and controlling this condition.
Tackle your thoughts
Often it is unhelpful thoughts circulate in our head and make our fears worse. Learning to step back and challenge the reality of these thoughts can be a useful tool in controlling your anxiety. Notice what you are feeling. What are the facts of the case? Is there a thought that better matches the facts? Have your feelings changed?
It is worth taking some time to see if aspects of our lifestyle are driving our anxiety. Often those with a stressful life can find themselves anxious. What demands are there on your time? Perhaps you feel you have little time to relax this on yourself. Perhaps there are problems that need attended to like your relationship or work? What help could you get? It is important that you take time out from your busy life to regenerate and help yourself so that you have the energy to cope.
Ask for help
One of the hardest things to do when you are feeling anxious is to ask for support. Often the thing you want to do most is to run away and be alone. Perceived as weakness, in fact asking for help when you need it is strength of character. Often talking to a trusted friend or family member can help reduce anxiety by normalising fears and offering a different perspective on problems.
Current thinking is that there are many causes of anxiety. Fortunately, we have many ways in which we can now treat anxiety. Talking therapies have proved very effective and a good first step might be to talk to your GP. Many people choose to see a counsellor, talking through the issues behind their anxiety and learn tools and techniques to help them cope.
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About Graeme Orr
Graeme is a counsellor and author living and working on the south side of Glasgow. In his practice, he sees a number of clients with emotional, anxiety and self-esteem that have relevance to us all. His articles are based on that experience and are offered as an opportunity to identify with, or to challenge you to make changes in your life.