Has your world become smaller and more isolated?
When our anxious feelings become overwhelming it can be difficult to form relationships and complete daily tasks. It can cause you to be distracted, agitated, self-conscious making it hard to be present and connect with those around you.
One way of thinking about anxiety is that we have too much energy (which we refer to as activation) in our nervous system. Our emergency system is on alert leading to behaviours that avoid, defend, shut down and even attack a perceived threat. You may find that you have a hard time relaxing or calming down the activation you are feeling. You may find that you are easily prone to angry outbursts or feeling bad and sorry for yourself.
The energy that builds up in your nervous system, how you see and interpret what is happening around you create your unique experience of anxiety.
Where do negative thoughts come in?
People often mistake anxiety as being caused by our negative worrying thoughts. They certainly don’t help, and we do have to work at changing them, but it is not where it starts. Our fight or flight response in our nervous system happens much faster than our thoughts. Once we experience the physical symptoms, our thoughts develop in response to that experience.
I don’t know why I am Anxious
Anxiety often becomes a habitual response built up over many years. This can be a result of events throughout childhood where we didn’t feel safe and we were unable to get comfort or soothing or can come up as a result of ongoing stress, or a traumatic event that is triggered now.
It is common for the following experiences to produce anxiety;
- Grief and loss – due to the death of a loved one, separation or the loss of a job.
- Trauma and Threat – assaults, accidents, natural disaster are all examples that leave you feeling unsafe.
- Betrayal – this is one of the hardest experiences to heal from and affects our ability to trust others.
- Childhood abuse and neglect – these experiences leave scars that affect our sense of safety in the world and with others.
- Other problems can arise out of trying to control anxiety such as addictions to substances, work or relationships.
Ongoing work and relationship stress.
Anxiety can take many forms
Generalized anxiety (persistent unfounded feelings of dread and worry).
A phobia of certain objects or situations.
Social anxiety (intense fear and discomfort in social contexts).
Post-traumatic stress disorder (having persistent anxiety following the experience of a traumatic event).
Counselling For Anxiety
Stress and worry can become constant companions that colour our view of real and imagined situations and influence our ability to take action. Anxiety also interferes with our ability to have a positive relationship with yourself.
Releasing anxiety involves;
Learning to calm the body’s physical responses.
Finding more realistic and soothing ways to talk to yourself about your experiences.
Taking risks to overcome the avoidance of anxiety that paradoxically only increases it.