All About Anxiety
Anxiety is all about feeling fear, but this feeling of fear and anxiety can range in it’s intensity. It can start from feelings of unease and range to feeling so afraid that it prevents you from doing day to day things that you wish to do. In this article, I will look at:
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is your body and mind natural response to challenges. It is a natural response as it is normal for us to feel anxiety, fear, worry or apprehension about something that is going to happen. This could be going for an interview, having a health check, traveling somewhere new.
Some anxiety is actually a positive thing as it keeps us safe and helps us to risk manage when we need to. The only difficulty is if it interferes in your life and everyone around you, then it is classed as Anxiety Disorder.
The way you think can be affected: if you fear that the worst is going to happen, even when there is very little reason to. For example your friend may have the cold and you may think they have something much worse.
Some people cope with those feelings and thoughts by smoking, drinking alcohol, eating too much or misusing drugs. You may hold on to relationships that either encourage your anxious view on life or help you avoid situations that you find distressing. This will stop you dealing with what’s worrying you.
Others may find it difficult to hold down a job or to develop and maintain good relationships. Some may find it difficult to leave their homes and enjoy leisure time. If you are not sleeping as well, this may make your anxious feelings worse and cut your ability to cope.
It can take over your life where you could experience severe or frequent panic attacks for no clear reason, or a constant feeling of anxiety. Some people may develop a phobia about leaving their home or may stop contact with people – even their own family or friends.
What causes Anxiety / Anxiety Disorders?
What causes anxiety is quite complex. In combination with our body’s natural response to stress (Fight or Flight), our bodies are equipped to manage stress so we could respond to challenges appropriately. So there is the biological response to stress as well as psychological triggers.
There are studies that reveal that imbalances in brain chemicals such as Serotonin and norepinephrine can also cause anxiety disorders. Other studies have found that Vitamin B deficiency can cause it as well.
There are debates as to whether there is a genetic factor, but anxiety can also be environmental where you can learn the behaviours from those in your immediate family.
Part of your environment could be any trauma, challenges or problems you could have or could be facing.
How does anxiety make you feel?
Worry about the future : Inside your head there could be a Tsunami of anxiety and fears. For some, it takes its grip in the early hours, when you toss and turn, ruminating over everything and anything and nothing.
Racing / Ruminating thoughts: This means you are thinking deeply about things. You’re likely to be so lost in thoughts and you stare off into space. Another meaning of ruminate is to “chew the cud,” which can mean “to turn it over and over in your mind.”
Nightmare: Nightmares are long, complex dreams with pictures that makes you feel fearful, anxious or sad. The person with the nightmare may wake up to try and avoid the perceived danger.
Most of us have isolated nightmares from time to time but when they recur and bring on extreme terror and anxiety, they can become a debilitating sleep disorder.
Feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness
Unmanageable, obsessive thoughts; Flashbacks of a traumatic experience
Difficulties staying still and calm; Insomnia – problems sleeping; Ritualistic behaviours, for example washing your hands
Physical symptoms of anxiety can include:
Cold or sweaty hands and/or feet; Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet; Muscle tension; Heart racing – Palpitations; Dry mouth; Nausea
Feeling dizzy; Shortness of breath; Headaches; Rising blood pressure
What are examples of anxiety?
Chronic anxiety disorder
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Social anxiety disorder
Specific phobias such as agoraphobia
How I can help myself
– By first trying to understand what makes you anxious and why. Understanding what triggers you will help you to take control of what’s happening
– Try to work out if the things you say to yourself if you would say them to a friend or loved one. Very often, our anxiety is triggered by what we think and the things we tell ourselves. So, try to care about your thoughts as you would do a friend.
– Breathing techniques will help to relax and calm you down. I have links to some here – 5 Simple Breathing Techniques.
– I also have some useful tools that you could use to workout how you are feeling and how strong those feelings are, some simple coping strategies
– What you eat and drink affects how you feel. For example, caffeine and alcohol are known to increase anxiety levels
What therapy is best for anxiety?
– There are a number of different types of therapy for anxiety. There is Cognitive behavoural therapy, Solution Focus Therapy and hundreds more.
– Understanding the root cause of your anxiety will help you to completely move forward from it. At Fresh Springs Therapy, we will support you through your process and work with you to have the tools and techniques to break the cycle of anxiety.
Ready to transform your life?
I am a Therapist based in Sutton Coldfield, UK also available online.
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