“Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
― Corrie ten Boom
(Slow breathing) is like an anchor in the midst of an emotional storm: the anchor won't make the storm goes away, but it will hold you steady until it passes. - Russ Harris
Anxiety is a general term used to define a number of conditions characterised by excessive worrying, fear, over thinking, self doubt, inability to act and also panic. Anxiety disorders may be continuous or episodic and may take many forms including phobias, obsessive compulsive disorders, post traumatic stress disorder, situational anxiety, seperation anxiety and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) are some of the conditions which fall under this umbrella category of mental health issues.
The effects of anxiety can be frighteneing and worrying, and contribute to feelings of uncertainty, fear and isolation. Anxiety is a very commonly experienced condition and the most common mental health condition.
Anxiety disorders can have deliterious effects on personal functioning, decreasing social activity, diminishing self esteem, effecting substance misuse and creating stress. It is estimated that conservatively, between 4-10% of adults may suffer from anxiety disorders, but it is a very treatable condition that responds well to appropriate interventions.
No two people will experience anxiety in exactly the same manor, but it is important to know that anxiety is a normal condition and that it is a way in which our bodies are attempting to protect us. It is an 'alarm bell' or warning system, which may be reacting to cues and triggers which threaten us or trouble us. When anxiety builds and peaks, one may expereince a 'panic attack', which is an overwhelming sense of fear which can be mistaken for a heart attack.
Low levels of anxiety are considered potentially to be beneficial and help humans stay safe and react to environmental dangers around us. A certain level of anxiety contributes to higher levels of vigilance, reduced reaction times and quick responses to action, which inable us to function, perform and respond to the threats and inherent dangers around us.
Some of the common feelings or experiences associated with anxiety are:
Feeling like you might faint/pass out
Thinking unpleasant thoughts
Thinking that you might “go crazy”
Anxiety can therefore be seen as a direct beneficial product of succesful evolution, hardwired as an ancient mechanism of survival and protection, but it is considered that in modern times, anxiety levels have grown as a result of rapidly changing environments and as a result of changes in the way we interact as social creatures. We have more exposure to strangers, less contact with family, changes in childcare patterns and schooling and exposure to high demand social media and lifestyle pressures.
All of these combined factors, which may sit somewhat under our radar of awareness, quietly and consistently can contribute to feeling under pressure and stressed out.
When we are stressed and feeling emotional our ability to think clearly diminishes. Our thinking processes become hijacked by strong emotions and the brain is dominated by emotional processing rather than thinking and cognitive processes. This contributes and creates the sense of being out of control which is associated with anxiety - one is out of control because one is no longer experiencing the ability to think and process events effectively. This creates the sense of detachment and contributes to panic. If not addressed this becomes a self fulfilling prophesy of diminished functioning, worry, panic attacks and the fear of fear itself. It is at this time that someone may be vulnerable to the use of drugs, alcohol or self prescribed medication.
"I would just like to say many thanks for your help and support with my anxiety problems . You have helped me to understand why and what was happening , explaining it to me really helped a lot . I can't thank you enough for listening to me and talking me through everything and explaining how to deal with things."
Knowing how to work with anxiety and toward resolution can be done when a thorough understanding of how anxiety works, but also how it is effective within someones personal experience. A practical understanding of how the biological survival system that is designed to protect us, how and why it is creating the feelings of anxiety and how to work with the central nervous system is necessary. This requires to be done in conjunction with the persons circumstances and becomes a comprehensive combination of understanding, learning and practical care.
"Before I came to counselling, everyday was a battle. Doubting myself in everything I did, all because of anxiety. Within two quick sessions I have learned that something which was causing me such a problem could be fixed so simply. I have gone from doubting everything to being able to make composed decisions and feeling like I have control. Would thoroughly recommend to any who may be struggling!!"
Anxiety is often associated to fear, and a comprehensive break down of what is feared, why it is feared and does it need to be feared can allow a client to evaluate their responses very effectively. This allows the anxiety response to be dampened down and relearned as a beneficial sign to pay attention to. Depending on the issues associated with the condition, times of treatment can vary considerably, but what is important to know is that a comprehensive and practical approach can be taken and resolution achieved.
Early diagnosis and treatment is recommended, for more information please get in touch.
Work and research based on observations in clinical therapy by the psychologist Joe Griffin, revealed a link between long term anxiety and depression as a result of an interruption in sleep patterns and excessive dreaming.
Do you dream a lot at night?
Do you wake up feeling more tired than when you went to bed?
Is excessive worrying affecting your quality of life?
Anxiety causes people to worry and excessive worrying causes the brain to have to resolve these 'unanswered questions' during our sleep via our dreams. Dreams are the brains way of house cleaning, working through the unresolved issues of the previous day and symbolically discharging the associated feelings via our dreams. Dreams are the brains way of dusting out the previous days business to start the next day with a clean slate.
A very common human behavior is for people to push their troubles, gripes, difficulties to one side and not address them. The long term affect of this over years is to create a back log of unprocessed issues that sit on our mental shelves in our minds, slowly building up and gradually affecting our well being. Generalised anxiety, bad moods, anger and other moods can be as a direct result of 'old baggage' gathered over years and left unprocessed.
As anxious people worry a great deal, they constantly create work for the dreaming brain to do. Whan the brain is dreaming it is not resting. Burning off high levels of energy during extended dreaming periods during the night means that the body does not rest, leaving one feeling jaded and unrested the following day.
If this process of anxious worry goes on unaddressed, and lack of sleep persists, gradually the battery dwindles and a low energy state is arrived at. This is depression. The body is not replenishing itself at night through rest and recouperation. High stress can therefore be seen as a direct cause of eventual depression.
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This is a treatable condition. if you are suffering from anxiety or any of the issues discussed, please get in touch to make an appointment for a discussion.