Managing Anxiety

People that experience anxiety, tend to often find themselves worrying, feeling tense, or nervous or have a feeling that something bad may happen.  They may feel stress often and find it difficult to manage challenges.

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The following link offers free support and advice:

http://www.moodjuice.scot.nhs.uk/anxiety.asp

It may be worth trying some self-help books, support forums and internet articles and see if they may help.  If you feel you need extra support, then there are free local counselling services in most areas.

My work around anxiety, is often when it has become more complex.  If a person self medicates with substances and becomes dependent on that substance to manage their anxiety, then I am able to offer counselling alongside substance misuse support.  Or sometimes anxiety is a symptom of substance misuse.  When anxiety is more severe, it can link back to trauma or some kind of exposure to early dysfunction or abuse/neglect (physical, psychological, emotional).

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When a person identifies why they feel a certain way, it can empower them to realise they have the potential to change.  People can start to lose faith in themselves, when they are struggling and finding it difficult to understand their suffering.  Often during counselling, support and new perspectives can really make a big difference.

Most people can experience anxiety at some point in their lives.  I can experience anxiety at times, so I do not think it is something that can be eradicated completely.  It could be that a healthy level of anxiety, could be positive and be fuel for making positive changes, or for pushing past our comfort zones and developing ourselves in new areas.  Simple factors like drinking too much coffee or tea can lead to anxiety.  Lack of sleep from too much caffeine can lead to increased anxiety and then can lead to a vicious circle of milder addictive type behaviours.  Other common anxiety provoking factors are comparing our lives to the lives of others, or perfectionism.  In the age of social media and people showing the best aspects of their lives, anxiety for some could become even more problematic.

Every situation is different and it is important that treatment or therapy is person centred, to fit to a persons needs and understand their story in detail, as that is where the solutions lie.  With the right therapeutic space, people can start to see this and make sense of their experiences and choose behaviour change.

If you are experiencing anxiety and try internet support, or local services, then if you find you still experience anxiety, try not to be too disheartened, you have already taken positive steps and done a lot of useful work, it may just be that you need a couple of sessions of counselling, to tie it all together and make sense of your experiences.  Often my work is based around 6 sessions and after that I will reduce prices, due to my confidence in people being able to find the answers they are looking for, with support and inter agency working.

Sometimes anxiety can be severe in the form of PTSD, or trauma bonding after experiencing abuse in relationships etc.  In those instances it is advised to seek support from trained, skilled, experienced therapists or counsellors.

Some people may have developed anxiety as children, if for example they witnessed domestic abuse; it is possible individuals could have developed anxiety as a learnt behaviour.  Or maybe they experienced a carer that had anxiety or phobias, and learnt some behaviours that way.

Social anxiety can develop for a number of reasons, maybe a person has experienced criticism, rejection, bullying, abandonment and therefore developed negative beliefs about themselves and others.

Was certain dysfunctional relationships normal in your childhood, or certain aggressive behaviours, or substance misuse, leading to anxiety being a symptom of certain behaviours, that you could see as ‘normal’?

Counselling is a way to really shed light on all the details of a persons experiences and lead to understanding and awareness.  With awareness people are empowered to make changes.  Sometimes counselling just helps to have a relationship with another, where there is trust, positive regard, commitment, consistency, healthy boundaries, honesty and maybe most importantly; confidentiality.  Having experience of a healthy, functioning relationship, can at times, be all a person has needed.

When a person experiences anxiety, it is not uncommon for them to isolate.  Or maybe they have been forcefully isolated by abusive significant others.  That is when a person can be at increased risk.  If they have been rejected and criticised, they are at risk of believing they are ‘bad’ or ‘unlovable’ which could lead to some seriously damaging negative self talk and self concepts.  Having a lack of positive validation, could lead a person at risk of deterioration mentally and even increase suicide risks.  That is why it is important to reach out for help.  If you are isolated, it can feel like a daunting step to seek help.  It may feel very scary that people will not like you or think you are bad.  Please understand, only abusive people judge that way, support groups will always understand your fears and offer compassion.  Skilled helpers understand that if there are negative behaviours, it is due to a person suffering and struggling in some way, they will not judge, they will care.  It is an important first step to take.

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You may need to address low self-esteem, learn about boundaries and healthy relationships and address other issues alongside your anxiety.  It is the way to moving forward and healing.

Often people will not be aware they have anxiety, they may simply be aware of physical conditions that are symptoms of anxiety.  If you have felt anxious since childhood, then maybe anxiety feels natural, ‘normal’?  The following link helps you understand the impact of anxiety on your physical health.

 

Glucocorticoids vicious circle http://www.brainfacts.org/across-the-lifespan/stress-and-anxiety/articles/2012/stress-the-role-of-glucocorticoids/

Mindfulness is a useful tool in anxiety management, but the timing has to be right, otherwise, being unable to relax could make you more anxious.  I know I was pretty frustrated when I first tried meditating (I recall with a grin)….now I am that chilled out, I dare not meditate <wicked grin>

Thoughts and opinions are my own.

I hope this helps.

Angela Neild MBACP

North Manchester Counselling

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