How do we develop anxiety?

With anxiety, often a trigger cannot be identified. However, many people who seek therapy discover that they have been under stress for some time. Stress can build up - too often we shrug if off as all being part of 'modern living'.

When we reflect on the pressures we have been under in recent times we may find our relationships have been strained, finances have been a worry, we may have suffered a loss, or experienced a traumatic event. Many of us believe we have 'dealt' with these stresses; often, however, further down the line we can experience 'panic attacks' or 'distorted thinking'.

We can become fearful of anxiety itself. We can identify people, places and situations where anxiety attacks happen as being the causes of our attacks. Often though, it is  the feeling inside which is feeding and driving our anxieties and fears. Sometimes we can learn our anxiety from those to whom we have been - or are - close.

Common thoughts and feelings felt by people when they are anxious include feeling frightened and panicky, feeling they might die, lose control, having a heart attack or brain tumour, feeling that people are staring, feeling they want to run away or feeling on edge. Writing down what we feel can be helpful; people often find they have got into a pattern of negative thinking. Thinking the worst will happen only serves to prime the body to experience a panic.

The most common behavioural symptoms of anxiety is avoidance which only serves to reinforce the message of danger. Whilst it may seem to feel the best thing to do at the time, running away is only a short term solution.  

Setting small goals which will be easily achieved and allow ourselves to face up the situation causing us anxiety is a safe way to proceed. We can list of tasks we can set set ourselves to complete over a period of time. 

If we find we are spending a lot of time looking back and reflecting over our life, then therapy could prove to be very helpful in making the links and connections needed to enable us to move forward. 

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Written by Lyn Reed, MA,MBACP(reg),Pro.Adv.Dip.PC, Pgd.Cert in Clinical Supervision

I offer a supportive, confidential therapy service especially for those living with anxiety and stress. I have acquired considerable expertise and knowledge having worked in the social care field for many years. Having experienced ups and downs myself, I understand life's road can be rocky and therapy often helps us to discover a new way.… Read more

Written by Lyn Reed, MA,MBACP(reg),Pro.Adv.Dip.PC, Pgd.Cert in Clinical Supervision

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