Anxiety - how it can actually help you!

For anyone who's experienced anxiety, there's an understanding of just how unpleasant it can be. Whether it's something you battle daily, have been through in the past or are currently healing from, it can feel like you belong to the 'anxiety club'. The members of this club know that all too familiar lurchy, sick, fearful tense feeling that seems to be hiding around each corner ready to strike at any moment.


When you're battling anxiety it can feel like a vicious circle. The peaceful and calm moments seem under threat like they could end at any moment and the anxious moments couldn't be over quickly enough! We can easily find ourselves feeling anxious about our anxiety which, in turn, triggers more anxiety.

But, what if rather than seeing this feeling as a big, scary monster ready to pounce at any moment, we can change our perspective and consider how anxiety can actually be helpful or even a gift?

How can anxiety be helpful?

If you haven't stopped reading yet and you're still with me or you're thinking to yourself “She's joking right?! How can I possibly see this horrendous feeling as a gift?! I want it gone from my life like yesterday”. Let me explain…

In counselling, we learn that every feeling we have serves a purpose and is very often trying to tell us something. For example usually, with anger, there is actually pain under the surface that needs to be acknowledged. So, if we work with that pain, understand it and ultimately heal it, the anger slowly dissolves.

Anxiety is no different. It is our mind and body trying to tell us something. It is a nervous system response putting us into flight or fight mode due to a potential threat. It is an alarm, like a smoke alarm warning us that "Hey, something isn't right here, there's a fire and it's dangerous and needs to be put out."

The hard part is when we are feeling anxiety but we have no idea what the problem is. What is the danger that this alarm (your anxious feeling) is trying to bring your attention to? 

Well, there could be many things. Very often it can be as a result of unprocessed trauma or loss. But if you really need clarity, this is where counselling comes in.

How can counselling help?

Counselling can help you to locate the root cause of your anxiety so that you can understand it, work through it and ultimately heal it effectively and safely. It's just like finding the source of that fire and putting it out. But, it is vital to make sure that you are putting out the fire with the right extinguisher - pouring water over an electrical fire would not be a good idea! (Those of us who know anything about fire safety will know.)

So, if you're feeling anxious and lost, consider some help through therapy to really understand what's going on. It can help you to pay attention to that alarm and move forward with your life.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK16 9PY
Written by Amy Fokkens, Dip.Couns. MBACP Therapeutic Counsellor
Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK16 9PY

Amy is a Therapeutic Counsellor and member of the BACP with a passion for helping those with low self esteem and anxiety. Her practice is called 'Crown Counselling' and offers both in-person and online sessions based in Newport Pagnell (Milton Keynes - UK)

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