We all experience feelings of unease from time to time like when we sit an exam or attend a job interview. In these instances a little anxiety can often be helpful. But for some people anxiety can be an ongoing problem affecting their daily life.
Anxiety can have psychological and physical implications, common psychological symptoms include:
- Lack of concentration
- Feeling on edge
- Sleep difficulties
- Feeling fearful
- Preoccupied thoughts
Physical symptoms often occur because when we feel anxious or stressed our body releases hormone chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol. Common physical symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Increase in pace of breathing
- Racing/pounding heart
- Muscle pains
- Digestive difficulties
- Dreams and nightmares
- Spiralling thoughts
Prehaps you wake in the morning – your heart beating quickly and with a vague, unidentifiable feeling of fear but you don’t know why? Maybe your limbs are restless, your mouth’s dry, your mind’s racing with thoughts slipping in and out so fast that you can’t catch them? You feel constantly frustrated because you consistently wake at 3 a.m. and can’t drop off to sleep again? Alternatively, you might know why you have an uneasy, churning sensation in your stomach, feel unfulfilled or can’t settle down to things…but you just can’t seem to get past it.
Many people try to manage anxious thoughts by suppressing them or telling themself not to worry. It might work momentarilary but usually they come back often stronger and more persistent in nature. This is because trying not to think of the thought you don’t want to experience makes you pay even more attention to the very thought you want to avoid…it’s that ‘pink elephant exercise’ you’ve probably heard of before?
Similarly, the longer these unwanted thoughts exist the more automatic they become, eventually running from the subconscious part of our mind. It can often be helpful to think of suppressed anxious thoughts or feelings a bit like a leaking hose-pipe: when you tape over one unwanted hole the water finds another spot to force its way through! Our mind, particuarly in times of stress and anxiety, plays a significant role in our physical health. There are many practical things we can do to help ourself like taking regular exercise to release our ‘feel good’ endorphins, eating healthily, engaging with activities which make us laugh and using techniques to relax the mind like meditation and deep breathing.
Generally, a little anxiety is normal and absolutely fine, but long-term anxiety can impact on our general well being and leave us with health issues like high blood pressure or anxiety/panic attacks. Often, an anxiety/panic attack can appear to come out of the blue with no clear reason for its occurrance. These can be singular in nature or repetitive. We understand it is scary and overwhelming, sometimes it can leave you wanting to withdraw from your normal activities, socialising and leave you feeling like you’re going crazy. Whilst anxiety/panic attacks only usually last a few minutes they can leave a persistent imprint due to the memory of the intense fear experienced. Understandably, all of this can have a negative impact on your confidence and cause disruption in your every day life.
If you identify with any of the above there is good news – there are choices that can help. So when your thoughts consume you or fears take over, why not take positive action and talk your concerns over with us? We will take time to listen carefully to discover how we can help.
Some of the general approaches we offer are:
Please click on the links above for further information.