The Affliction of Anxiety
Updated: Nov 19, 2020
Anxiety and Stress
A few facts about anxiety
In 2013 in the UK 8.2 million cases were reported. (MHFA England)
Women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders. (MHFA England)
In the UK in 2019 it was reported that 602,000 workers suffered from work-related anxiety or depression. (HSE.gov.uk)
Many anxiety disorders can begin in adolescence and the average time it can take a person to seek help for their condition can be as long as 10 years. (adaa.org)
Anyone can suffer from anxiety at any point in their lives. Would you be surprised to know that Opera Whinfrey, Lady Gaga and Emma Stone have all suffered from anxiety and have quite openly discussed their struggles? I too have had my struggles and understand how challenging it can be to function whilst managing anxiety.
Some level of anxiety in life can be helpful, it can motivate us to achieve goals and hit deadlines but sometimes these levels of anxiety can increase to an unhelpful level and impact on our ability to enjoy life, triggering our fight or flight mode which is a bit like our internal alarm system. When this part of the brain is triggered it releases chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline which makes our heart beat faster and work harder to pump oxygen to our limbs in case we need to prepare to run away or protect ourselves. If we think back to the days of cavemen and polar bears this response was extremely useful but times have changed and we generally do not require this response as much but unfortunately, this part of the brain has not evolved with society and we may find that our internal alarm system is being triggered unnecessarily. I guess it is a bit like having an over sensitive smoke alarm that goes off every time you burn the toast.
Anxiety can be described as excessive worrying or the fear that something bad might happen. Many things can cause our anxiety levels to rise, from an increase in workload, exam stress, an upcoming interview or meeting, relationship issues or a whole host of other situations that life might throw at us and we all deal with these life events in different ways, experiencing varying levels of anxiety.
Anxiety is caused by negative thinking, negatively forecasting the future or negatively introspecting about the past and for some, our negative thoughts become such a habitual part of our internal dialogue that we may not even notice just how negative or obsessional our thoughts have become. For some people anxiety can be extremely debilitating and take over their lives, sapping the joy and fun right out of it leading people to feel lonely and isolated. We may avoid situations that trigger our anxiety or make it worse, leading us to feel like our anxieties are holding us back and stopping us from leading the life we want and being able to do the things we enjoy.
Anxiety can manifest in many physical ways, struggling to sit still, speaking fast, pins and needles, tightness in your chest, sweating, muscle tension, feeling irritable, some people experiencing panic attacks, which can feel very frightening if you don’t know what is happening. For someone who is having a panic attack for the first time, it might cause them to feel like they are having a heart attack. We may suffer from muscular aches and pains because we are holding ourselves so tense but be quite unaware that this is happening, we may experience tension in our neck or shoulders or experience tension headaches. Anxiety cause also lead to feeling tired, this can be because after our bodies have been flooded with adrenaline and cortisol but once those chemicals run out we “crash” leaving us feeling tired. This is known as adrenal fatigue. Tiredness can also be from mental exhaustion as when we’re feeling anxious, our thoughts are generally running away with us and because the mind is just like any other muscle, when we use it a lot it gets tired and needs to rest, leaving us feeling mentally exhausted.
Anxiety can also exasperate physical conditions like IBS and stomach issues because when your fight or flight system is triggered it reduces the blood supply to our digestive system and causes issues with our guts. It can also worsen conditions like psoriasis and eczema because when we suffer from anxiety and we produce this overload of adrenaline and stress hormones it suppresses our immune system which can then lead to inflammation of the skin. It can also lead to poor sleep and insomnia which can add to our anxiety and poor mental health. So, you can see how we can get stuck in these negative cycles.
Here at The Therapy Shed in Doncaster we offer both counselling and solution-focused hypnotherapy to work with anxiety. As an integrative counsellor, this means I have many tools in my toolbox to be able to adapt the way I work to suit individual clients needs as I do not see counselling as a one size fits all approach. Counselling gives clients a safe, confidential space to explore their thoughts and feelings and to make sense of them in a way that might not be possible with friends or family. Sometimes we might feel that our thoughts are like that pair of headphones we put in our pockets and then 5 minutes later, somehow they are a tangled mess and we are fighting to unpick them.
What is hypnotherapy? It is a combination of psychotherapy and trance, I use the particular tools of solution-focused hypnotherapy and I also give you information about the brain in a way that you can understand why we suffer from anxiety and what we can do about it. Solution-focused hypnotherapy is very forward-thinking and positive, promoting positive change in your life without having to talk about and unpick the past. People who suffer from anxiety have become professionals at being anxious and feeling on edge but by using trance we will help you to relax, improving your sleep and helping you to feel calm, relaxed and in control.
If you are unsure if counselling or hypnotherapy can work for you, have a read through our testimonials to see what other clients say about how counselling or hypnotherapy has helped them.
I understand that seeking help or support can feel scary, even terrifying for some and I want you to feel as calm about the process as possible so If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment for counselling or initial consultation for hypnotherapy, drop me a message or give me a call and we can discuss how we can start getting you back on track.
Hypnotherapy is by no means a magic wand, it requires client commitment between sessions, listening to our relaxation track each night before bed to help with the process is key but this will all be explained in the initial consultation. Results may vary from person to person.