How Anxiety Really Looks & Feels
What Is Anxiety?
What would it be like if we could just turn off our stress response? Imagine feeling free from worry and able to fully enjoy life, or completing tasks with ease. Anxiety occurs when your body’s natural responses experience false alarms. These false alarms are triggered by a combination of unproductive thoughts and/or emotional overwhelm that cause activation in the nervous system. Those who suffer from anxiety know that it can be debilitating both mentally and physically.
Anxiety is defined as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or general unease. It can be mild or intense and manifests itself in various ways. For some, anxiety is constant and unremitting. However, for others, it comes and goes in waves but never truly leaves you. No matter what form it takes, anxiety is not easy to deal with and interferes with our daily lives.
It keeps you stuck because it creates automatic patterns without realizing. However, the good news is there is a way out. Let’s break down what anxiety is, how it feels, and most importantly how to deal with it!
What Anxiety Looks & Feels Like
Anxiety is often a response to an imagined danger. We habitually read fearful situations as if they are dangerous, and this leads us into a state of panic where our body feels in danger even though nothing has actually happened. This state is triggered by our fight or flight response.
We have no control over this reaction. It’s a throwback to the days when we were being chased by wild animals or under attack. Our bodies proceed to release
hormones such as adrenaline which make us more alert in dangerous situations and help with quick reactions when it matters most. Essentially it prepares the body for either fighting or fleeing from danger.
This evolutionary adaptation was designed so you would have a better chance of survival in threatening situations. It increases your speed and strength as well as alerting you with something like “this might be really important.” Now, that’s all well and good when you’re being chased by a lion but on a day to day basis, it just wreaks havoc with our mental wellbeing.
So, how does this show up in the modern-day human? Well, no two people are the same and anxiety often manifests itself as physical symptoms such as:
● Racing heart
● Muscle tension
● Even needing to pee more!
For others, it can manifest itself as mental symptoms such as:
● Intrusive thoughts
And for others still, it manifests as both physical and mental symptoms. Have you ever felt your legs turn to jelly or developed subtle butterflies in your stomach before an event? These are all indicators that anxiety has crept in and is keeping you on edge. No matter what form it takes though, anxiety is tough and interferes with our daily lives.
Types of Anxiety
Anxiety is a normal response to stressful situations, but when it starts happening regularly without any external stressors then that’s where the problem lies.
There are many different types of anxiety disorders, each with it’s own set of symptoms. Sufferers can experience general anxiety, social anxiety, panic attacks or have specific fears.
No matter what type of anxiety disorder you have, there are treatments that can help. Here at Interactive Counselling we have the skills, knowledge, and experience to help you no matter where your issue stems from.
What Causes Anxiety?
There can be many causes of anxiety but usually, they can be boiled down to one or a host of the following:
● Bereavement and loss.
● Relationship troubles.
● Work pressures or fear of starting a new job.
● Starting college.
● Personal issues.
● General life changes.
● Anything new or unfamiliar to you.
Our thinking style:
● Do you expect the worst to always happen?
● Are you fearful of being ‘found out’ for something real or imagined?
● Do you tend to ruminante or overthink situations?
Some of us are just naturally wired to be more anxious than others. However, despite a natural predisposition, there is always something that can be done to alleviate symptoms.
How Is Anxiety Treated?
Treatments for anxiety disorders typically fall into two categories: psychotherapy such as counselling and medication if needed. Medications however are generally only a temporary fix and for real change to take place additional treatment such as counselling is needed.
Understanding the root cause of your anxiety and learning the right skills to navigate through it is essential. Without understanding why we have anxiety and employing cognitive skills we tend to slip back into old patterns easily.
Counselling, also known as talk therapy, is a form of therapy that involves talking to a therapist about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
If you’re suffering from anxiety, it’s important to seek help from a qualified mental health professional. They can help you identify the causes of your anxiety and develop a treatment plan that is tailored specifically to your needs.
Anxiety can be a difficult thing to deal with, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Interactive Counselling prides itself on really being there for it’s clients and always endeavoring to support them as needed. Our counsellors have a wealth of experience to help you overcome your anxiety no matter how long you have been suffering.
How Can a Counsellor Help Me With Anxiety?
A good counsellor can help you understand why you feel the way you do. They can also provide support and guidance as you work through the required treatment plan. At Interactive Counselling we help you find ways that work for
you. We know that no two people are alike and offer a variety of methods that are personally suited to you.
Counsellors are more than just a placebo effect, as they work through issues that the sufferer needs help with while also providing personal support along the way.
With our clients, we work to find out what is causing their fears. We ask them about any underlying issues and explore the patterns of unhelpful thinking that may be occurring in order to create a personalized treatment plan.
Once these factors have been identified it becomes easier to know which course of action to take. You will be able to slow down your physical response so anxiety doesn’t end up defeating you.
If you’re struggling with anxiety, please reach out for help. There are solutions to every problem!
5 Tips & tricks that help with anxiety
Understanding the root cause of your anxiety will help you take steps toward addressing it. For example, if what’s making you anxious is a fear that someone gave bad feedback about an idea – look at whether this actually happened or not before getting overly attached to these thoughts in future conversations where they may arise again as well!
1: Stop and breathe!
Diaphragmatic breathing exercises and mindfulness techniques can help you relax your mind. The act of breathing deeply is an incredible way to calm down, especially when we’re stressed out or anxious about something else in our lives!
2: Ask yourself: “What caused this anxiety?”
Often just simply figuring out what has caused the anxiety in the first place is enough to put a stop to it. Once you know what it is you can begin to question if it’s really true or not. You can decide if this negative thought really deserves your time and attention.
3: Focus on the positive rather than the negative
There are certain things in life that are simply beyond our control. Learning to distinguish between what we can change and what we cannot is key. Redirect your thoughts to what is within your scope and discard what only serves to weigh you down.
4: Switch focus
Redirecting your focus onto something other than your anxiety can help immensely. Make a list of your favorite things to do and turn to this list when you feel anxious. Try incorporating any of the following:
Home chores- clean, cook, or tidy. (There’s always something that needs doing right?)
● Go for a walk in nature.
● Pray or meditate.
● Play your favorite music and dance your heart off!
● Watch a funny or uplifting movie.
● Journal, paint, or try a new crafts activity.
Meditation has been practiced for centuries as a way to improve focus, relieve stress and anxiety, or just get some much-needed rest.
When we are more present in our day – even if it’s only 10 minutes at night before bedtime, it becomes easier to navigate uncomfortable moments when they arise. Learn to see these moments as an opportunity for personal growth by using breathing exercises or your preferred meditation technique.
Will therapy work for me?
Therapy is a personal process-you need to have an emotional connection with your therapist and feel like you are in safe hands. Making sure you choose the right therapist is paramount. Don’t be afraid to shop around and fit the right fit.
Therapy afterall is a commitment, just like any other. People who are in it for the long haul have to work on themselves constantly and be willing to change their perspective about what they believe will help them get better. Otherwise, what’s the point of it all?
Interactive Counselling is dedicated to helping our clients reach their full potential. We offer the choice of four separate locations and multiple therapists to choose from. What are you waiting for? Let’s get started!