The anxiety within
Anxiety could be described as an uneasy feeling of fear or worry. It can be mild or severe. Whilst it’s fair to say that we all experience anxiety at some point, there is a difference between what I refer to as ‘healthy anxiety’ and ‘unhealthy anxiety’.
A good example of healthy anxiety would be feeling anxious about something such as a job interview or going on stage. Whereas unhealthy anxiety could be feeling anxious about something that may or may not even happen such as feeling anxious about impending doom happening today. Of course, it’s also possible to feel anxious without consciously knowing the reason why.
Anxiety can be extremely debilitating and can affect our daily lives. It can be short-lived as well as a constant feeling. It can have a variety of intensities and this can differ from person to person.
However, an individual feels whilst suffering with anxiety, it can be completely overwhelming and scary.
Whilst the symptoms can vary from person to person, the following symptoms may occur:
- feeling irritable
- dizziness/feeling faint
- shortness of breath or irregular breathing
- panic attacks
First and foremost, it is important that you visit your GP if you are experiencing anxiety as they can offer medication/counselling and can also support you moving forwards.
Counselling can be extremely helpful for many mental health issues including anxiety. You can talk through how you are feeling, discover past issues with anxiety and begin to look for the route cause. Counsellors can also teach you breathing techniques as well as other helpful tips such as journaling, grounding, etc.
My helpful tips for anxiety
Self-care is extremely important when you are suffering with any mental health issue and I feel it is so important that this is the top of the list. You are the most important person in your life and you certainly can’t pour from an empty teapot.
I understand that self-care is a word that is thrown around in recent times but do you really know what it means? It’s not just about doing things that you like or that make you feel good such as painting your nails or having a facial. It also involves you taking a good hard look at your life, what serves you and the negativity that you can do without. Saying ‘no’ is also part of self-care, taking charge of you and your life is top priority here.
Whether it’s a friend, relative or therapist, it’s so important to have a confidential space for you to release your emotions in words. In a non-judgmental space, you can feel free to express yourself and talk about the worries and anxieties that you have.
I know that the thought of seeing a counsellor can be a scary one, but in my own experience, it’s normal to feel nervous, ‘healthy anxiety’.
Grounding is a technique that concentrates on your electrical energy by reconnecting it to the earth. It involves a natural surrounding where possible, and focusing on your body whilst it’s connected to the earth.
Our minds and bodies are extremely connected. So, if you want to look after your mental health, then looking after your physical health can only support this. This really isn’t about making huge changes such as running a marathon or a strict diet, but making small changes to help support you. Reduce coffee, alcohol and smoking as they are all stimulants. Have a look at your diet, what healthy swaps can you make and what small changes can you make to be just a little bit healthier?
Also, consider some small changes in the amount you move. Perhaps you would consider some light yoga or some small walks. Again, don’t think about huge changes, just small ones little by little. Baby steps.
I am a huge advocate for journaling as the benefits can be amazing. Therapeutic journaling can be massively beneficial to your mental and physical health and is a particularly helpful tool to reflect your feelings when you are stressed, anxious, depressed or generally feeling negative. Therapeutic journaling gives you the time and space to really express yourself and your words in a free environment and can lead to healing, empowerment and personal growth.
Anxiety is well known to affect many parts of a person’s life; this may include relationships, over or under-eating, sleeping issues, work problems, and routine problems. "Anxiety affects what we do and how we lead our lives: our behaviour" (Sanders and Wills, 2003). It is one of the most common reasons that people seek therapy or counselling.
A therapist can work with you to discover the root of the anxiety; getting to the root cause is the key to moving forward. This can then assist you in working on those deeper concerns. Counselling aims to identify and address the source of the issue, and then therapy will subsequently help you to understand the issue, unravel it, and then finally find ways to work through the anxiety and to help you to either reduce your anxiety to a manageable state or bring your anxiety to a close.