Do anxiety and stress cause you to feel paralysed?


Anxiety can be a daily struggle, or it can take you in a grip of panic. You know you are anxious through physical symptoms such as tightness in your chest, tension in your stomach, a racing heartbeat and sweaty hands.

Anxiety may cause you to be distracted, agitated, self-conscious, and overwhelmed making it hard to be present, to connect with those around you and experience pleasure.  How often do you wonder why you are feeling anxious when everything around you is fine?

Anxiety is our signal that we are in danger or feel unsafe. This feeling of being unsafe can occur even when there is no immediate threat.


Very simply anxiety is having too much energy (which we refer to as activation) in our nervous system. 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, what is happening around you, and interpretations of events create different experiences of activation.  In other words, over-activation can lead to various emotional reactions depending on these factors.

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 can be a state that has built up over many years, throughout childhood as a result of not being in a safe or soothing environment, 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;

  1. Grief and loss – due to the death of a loved one, separation or the loss of a job.
  2. Trauma and Threat – assaults, accidents, natural disaster are all examples that leave you feeling unsafe.
  3. Betrayal – this is one of the hardest experiences to heal from and affects our ability to trust others.
  4. Childhood abuse and neglect – these experiences leave scars that affect our sense of safety in the world and with others.
  5. 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

Panic attacks.
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.