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Anxiety and Stress

It is normal and necessary for our survival to feel anxious some of the time. Anxiety can keep us safe when a real threat poses – this is what we call the fight-or-flight response which prepares our body to attack or run away from a predator or other danger.

Our bodies are flooded with cortisol and adrenaline (the stress hormones) which prepare our bodies to attack or run for our lives: our muscles tense, blood pressure goes up, the heart beats faster, we breathe faster.

These changes bring the blood to the heart, lungs and muscles while restricting blood flow to the digestive system, kidneys, bladder. We are primed to run or fight with super strength, speed and stamina.

We may also get symptoms such as pain in chest, trembling, dry mouth, sweating or digestive problems.

Modern day threats however are not usually life-threatening, more often it is a psychological threat that we respond to in this way (e.g. a critical boss or looming exams). i.e. it is an inappropriate fight-or-flight reaction to a non-life-threatening situation.

We are usually in a situation where it would be inappropriate to fight or run away although the body is primed to do this. Our stress hormone level therefore stays elevated. This may lead to physiological symptoms such as high blood pressure, migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, etc. and/or mental health issues such as anxiety disorders, anger, or problem use of alcohol or drugs – often an attempt to self medicate.

Setbacks in life happen to us all and sometimes too many stressful things happen too close together for anyone to cope well with.

We can also misuse our imagination by anticipating worst-case scenarios and dwelling on these, scaring ourselves, causing our “emotional brain” to switch on the fight-or-flight response to this imagined threat.

Anxiety tricks us into believing awful things are going to happen. E.g. “I’m going to fail these exams, I won’t ever get a job, I am useless!”, etc.

Anxiety disorders may be related to psychological trauma and symptoms may occur every time a reminder of the trauma is encountered – often this is unconscious.

About 10% of the population each year suffer from anxiety disorders, panic attacks or phobias.

I can help you to overcome stress and anxiety by helping you to:

  • learn effective relaxation techniques,
  • calm down and manage strong emotions
  • get better sleep,
  • identify any emotional needs that are not well met and plan how to introduce the necessary changes,
  • control negative thoughts,
  • stop misusing your imagination
  • improve your self-esteem,