What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling of unease, worry or fear. We have all experienced it at some time or other in our lives. It’s not uncommon to feel worried about an impending job interview or exam, but if your feelings of anxiety overwhelm you then they can effect your day to day life significantly.
Anxiety UK say that ‘Anxiety can make a person imagine that things in their life are worse than they really are, and prevent them from confronting their fears. Often they will think they are going mad, or that some psychological imbalance is at the heart of their woes’.
Anxiety and Stress
Last weeks article was all about stress and the response our bodies have when we are faced with a stressful situation. In our early days as humans we developed an inbuilt response called ‘fight or flight’ which protects us from all the dangers that surrounded us. When faced with a danger our heart rate and breathing get faster and our senses are heightened by the production of adrenaline and corticosteroids in our bodies. In present times, our environment has changed and so have the dangers. Most of us do not now face the fear of being eaten by a wild animal (thank goodness!) but we do still have the same stress response to stressors such as relationship problems, work pressures and finances. The feelings that many associate with anxiety is this ‘fight or flight’ mechanism kicking in. However instead of being used to avoid immediate danger, it is activated inappropriately during everyday situations.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Do you feel anxious most days and struggle to relax? Anxiety can cause both mental (pyschological) and physical symptoms which can be different from person to person.
Some psychological symptoms to look out for include irritability, impatience, difficulties in concentration so that you are easily distracted, restlessness and a general feeling of dread.
There are many physical symptoms associated with anxiety. These include insomnia, tiredness, dizziness, shortness of breath and palpitations, stomach ache and diarrohea, muscle aches and pain and the list goes on.
You are not alone!
Anxiety affects about 1 in 20 adults in Britain. Slightly more women are affected than men, and the condition is most common in people in their twenties (nhs). The charity Mind say that if your anxiety is severe you may have difficulty holding down a job or maintaining relationships. The impact of anxiety on your life and those around you can be huge.
Where to get help?
If you think you are suffering from anxiety, seeking help and a diagnosis is the best thing you can do. Talking to a GP or a qualified psychotherapist will enable you to discuss your symptoms and gain the correct therapy so that you can take control of your anxiety. Psychotherapy is the most widely recommended treatment for anxiety. Psychotherapy can help you to uncover the reasons behind your anxiety and then by working with your therapist you can begin to work on strategies to reduce your anxiety levels.
How to help yourself?
There are lots of things you can do to enable you to manage your anxiety. Mind suggest a range of things from relaxation and breathing techniques, assertiveness training, to leading a healthy lifestyle. Talking about your anxiety to a family member or friend can also help.
Remember here at the Manchester Institute for Psychotherapy we have experienced counsellors and therapists who can help you to deal with your anxiety. Our emphasis is on friendliness and providing a safe and warm environment. Why not phone the Institute on: 0161-862-9456 to book your initial assessment or contact us via email.