Learning to deal with anxiety

Anxiety. If you were to pick up a dictionary you would find it defined as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease - typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Yet this as many sufferers of anxiety will tell you does not convey the emotional turmoil that accompanies an anxiety attack. Yet as you come to understand what is going on you can take steps to improve how you feel and even take control of your anxiety.

Anxiety is not a bad thing - it is part of our defence system that warns us of threat and gets us ready to take action. Problems really start when it becomes over sensitive and sees everything as threatening and that interferes with normal everyday tasks that are not threatening.

We know that stressful events and change can bring on anxiety, perhaps a death or a birth in the family, a change of job or relationship problems. It is also possible for health problems to bring on anxiety such as diabetes or asthma or a history of mental health problems. While these events and conditions can lead to anxiety they do not automatically mean that you will suffer from anxiety in the longer term, it is important to know that this type of thing can be a factor in the development of anxiety.

Anxiety can show many symptoms, such as muscle tension, memory problems, sweating, digestive problems, palpitations, headaches, insomnia and an inability to settle. If these are interfering with your life then perhaps you should consider taking action. A good first step may be to check your health with your doctor who can rule out any other causes and has access to a range of anxiety treatments.

There are of course medications, but increasingly talking and counselling therapies are seen as the effective treatment for mild to moderate anxiety. It offers the sufferer the chance to take control of their life through making changes, sometimes practical changes and sometimes changes in the way that they think about problems.

Talking therapies work by helping you to take more control in situations where you would have previously felt anxious by understanding what is happening, where the anxiety is coming from and how you can reduce it. The therapist will be skilled in helping you to look at the situation in different ways and be aware of what is happening to you as you experience anxiety. This should help you to bring about the change you need.

There are many ways in which you can help yourself. The key to it is self-care; we often put ourselves at the end of a very long queue when it comes to caring and support. Perhaps this is the moment you need to be at the head of that queue. When can you take some me time, even if it’s only half an hour? Where can you get some of the emotional support that you need? Ask yourself if you are taking on too much and if there are people that you could ask for help or delegate to? All of these will start to reduce the pressure and make it easier to cope.

You may want to consider having a session with a counsellor to explore what changes could be made especially if you feel stuck and can see no way to make changes. It’s all about looking after yourself otherwise how can you care for others?

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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Glasgow, G46
Written by Graeme Orr, MBACP(Accred) Counsellor
Glasgow, G46

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.

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