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.
Symptoms of Anxiety
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. This enables us 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). It is therefore 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 of chronic stress, such as – high blood pressure, migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, etc. This may also lead to 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 so many stressful things happen so close together that we become overwhelmed. This leads to excessive worry and poor sleep.
We can also misuse our imagination by worrying and anticipating worst-case scenarios. When we dwell on these and ruminate, we end up 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. Symptoms may be triggered every time a reminder of the trauma is encountered (pattern matching) – often this is unconscious.
About 10% of the population each year suffer from anxiety disorders – including panic attacks, OCD, social anxiety, generalised anxiety disorder or phobias.
Human Givens Counselling for anxiety will help you to:
- Learn effective relaxation techniques e.g. 7:11 breathing
- 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 and overthinking
- Stop misusing your imagination
- Improve your self-esteem