What about anxiety?

My clients often ask the question ‘Can I get rid of my anxiety?’. For me the short answer will have to be ‘No’ and you can imagine the short intake of breath and raised eyebrows I get. So, what is anxiety and how can we use it?

Anxiety is probably one of the most basic of all emotions and all of us experience this unpleasant sensation throughout our lives. The severity can range from mild anxiety to extreme terror and panic and the duration also varies from a fleeting flash to a constant sometimes all-day experience. 

For most people anxiety fades away when the perceived threat has gone, but for some people, anxiety takes a while to end, and it’s on a level that is “more” than what would generally be expected.

We all experience anxiety in different ways, and these symptoms are not as obvious as we think. Some signs of anxiety include:

  • Extended periods of feeling worried
  • Racing heart and difficulties with breathing
  • Obsessive thinking and behaviour
  • Insomnia and fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Sweating, dizziness, and shivering

It is useful to know that most of the time anxiety is a very useful sensation to have. It serves one vital goal > to keep us safe and ensure our survival. We could call it the ‘human alarm system’, alerting us to possible threats and giving us the chance to move into action and get out of harm’s way.

In fact, if our ancestors did not have this alarm reaction ‘fight or flight response’ we probably wouldn’t be here. Now that’s a scary thought J.

So, having read above, you might agree with me that it would not be advisable to get rid of this very useful alarm system that can be paramount for keeping us safe in many situations.

However, at times this normally useful safeguarding tool needs readjusting and there are many ways of doing this. 

  • understand your situation, based on your unique situation and circumstances.
  • better understand your symptoms.
  • explore how your current condition developed.
  • Identify the underlying factors associated (core issues and causes).
  • Better understand how and where they came from.
  • Develop individual tools and strategies to support positive change
  • Begin readjusting how you experience anxiety in challenging situations.

To begin with this inner exploration can be difficult but if manged correctly can make lasting change possible. We can learn to trust our ability to feel anxiety but understand that we can manage it, either by ourselves or at times with the help of others.

It is important to feel comfortable and safe when exploring difficult emotional events. Most of the time we can easily cope alone or with the help of family and friends but at other times it feels safer and more doable with someone who is not emotionally attached where we don’t have to think about worrying someone we are close to or feel like being a burden to them. Support in a professional, therapeutic setting can often make the change we seek happen.And remember, there is never a wrong time to do the first step and reach out. 

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