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We’ve all experience anxiety to a small degree! That worrying feeling, about doing simething new or how something will turn out! But does it actually stop us doing what we want to do? Anxiety is becoming more and more of a problem for some people; becoming so bad that they can’t do anything for fear of what could happen.
a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.
If most of us at some point have felt that uneasy feeling in the pit of our stomach, when is anxiety more of a problem? Every person is different; what is one persons worry is nothing to another, so it is very difficult to be specific, it all depends on how the symptoms manifest themselves and how they effect each indivdual.
Yes we all get nervous, but does it actually stop you doing something? When anxious, how are is it effecting you? Is it causing physical symptoms? Is the anxiety feeling more than the dread or fear of doing something?
Do the symptoms include:
Feeling tense and jumpy?
Are you constantly anticipating the worst?
Are you constantly watching for signs of danger?
Feeling as if your mind’s gone blank?
Anxiety not only effects our emotional health it can cause physical symptoms which can include:
- a pounding heart
- stomach upset or dizziness
- frequent urination or diarrhea
- shortness of breath
- tremors and twitches
- muscle tension
- fatigue and/or insomnia
- and it can often lead to panic attacks.
I often look at the emotional causes of a physical illness (metaphysical significance) with clients, some time it will resonate and other times not and I feel that sometimes this will help my client work out what is going on. Identifying what a physical illnesses is saying about our emotional wellbeing can be a starting point to emotional health.
Anxiety: living life in Fear
Counselling can help people explore their anxiety in a safe place, for instance, what could be causing it? What makes it worse? and What things can help? Although I’m a great believer that counselling will play a part I believe that people will always need to take responsibility and self care will always play a part.
Even with my clients who arent’t suffering from anxiety I will always encourage them to keep a journal, it may be about worries and concerns, it may be the fact that they are angry, but it helps them to identify what is going on, exploring the idea of metaphysical significance and any specific fears about life.
It doesn’t have to be a leather bound lockable diary it can be a pad, and app on smartphone or tablet or even typed into word. When something happens and anxiety is experianced, write it down! Writing down something helps to get it moving and may highlight a pattern with the anxiety attacks.
There are many relaxation techniques out there and any search ending can help to provide a background to most. There are now mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and deep breathing exercises that can reduce anxiety symptoms and increase feelings of relaxation and emotional well-being.
Many hypnotherapists now offer downloads on relaxation, some offer these with a minimal charge and some are even free.
Tracy Mason is a hypnotherapist and often works with people who suffer with Panic attacks. Wellbeing at the Wishing Well is currently holding a mindfulness course and have many yoga classes which again aid relaxation.
I am not a nutritionist BUT, I’m a great believer that it is important to start the day right, which means eating breakfast (yes I know), along with also not skipping other meals. Going too long without eating can lead to low blood sugar, which can make you feel more anxious.
Eating (no matter what) releases endorphins, which are mood elevators and help to make people feel good. Eating a well balanced diet will always play apart in physical and emotional health.
Reduce alcohol and nicotine intake:
Alcohol and smoking are often used as relaxation aids, unfortunately both alcohol and nicotine although they initially appear to relieve anxiety often can be part of anixety.
Current reserch is now showing that they are aiding anxiety symptoms:
Alcohol is a depressant, which means it can disrupt the chemical balance and brain processed which inturn affect our thoughts, feelings, actions and sometimes long-term mental health.
Regular doses of nicotine lead to changes in the brain, which then lead to nicotine withdrawal symptoms when the supply of nicotine decreases. Research into smoking and stress has shown that instead of helping people to relax, smoking actually increases anxiety and tension, mainly because of these withdrawal and craving symptoms.
Nobody needs to explain the physical benefits of exercise, but emotional and mental health benefits are rarily included. Exercise is now considered vital for maintaining mental fitness along with helping to reduce stress.
Research shows that exercise is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness, improving concentration and enhancing cognitive function. Regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease levels of tension, Stabilise mood, elevate mood, improve sleep and improve self-esteem.
Exercising five times a week for 30 minutes helps to relieve anxiety and is a big stress buster. It is important to mention that this can be a walk in the park and doesn’t need to be high intense cardio. it is also important to remember to seek expert advice before taking on any new exercise regime.
A lack of sleep can exacerbate anxious thoughts and feelings, and it can become a vivcuious cycle. Often people can lie there trying desperately to get to sleep; unfortunately with their thoughts and feelings about the day whirling around their heads.
I will often encourage my clients to use their Journal at night, allowing their thoughts about their day to be processed, by putting them on paper. As part of their nightly journalling, I will also encourage people to list the good things that happened that day before trying to go to sleep, so they go to sleep they are thinking positive thoughts.
I also encourage my clients to establish a good night time routine that firstly starts with turning off mobile phones computer and television and then will go on to include:
- Blocking out seven to nine hours for a full night of uninterrupted sleep.
- Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine (bath, music, reading)
- Avoid coffee, chocolate, caffeinated soda, or nicotine in the evening (one study suggests a six hour gap).
- Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet.
- Use your bedroom for sleeping, relaxing and sex only.
- Keep worry and stress outside the bedroom.
- Exercise regularly, but not too close to your bedtime.
- Only get into bed when you are tired.
- Avoid looking at the clock, turn it away from your sight
- Try not to take naps.
- If necessary seek medical advice.
Unfortunately, worrying about all the things that could go wrong won’t make life any more predictable, it only keeps any enjoyment and the good things away. The hardest thing is learning to accept uncertainty and by practicing self care and backed up by professional help by either a Doctor, counsellor or hypnotherapist will help, Rethink Mental Illness also have a list of local support groups, will help.
The most important thing is you get the help you need.