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Anxiety Counselling

Anxiety  is a word known to most of us – You may be suffering from anxiety if you feel:

  • tense or wound up most of the time
  • very often get a sort of frightened feeling like butterflies in your stomach
  • you get quite bad frightened feelings as if something awful is about to happen
  • you’re continually restless as if you have to be on the move
  • worrying thoughts go through your mind a great deal of the time
  • you regularly experience sudden feelings of panic
  • you feel as though you can never just sit at ease and feel relaxed.

Have you ever been told:- “Its just anxiety“, or, “You’re just having a panic attack” – the use of the word ‘just’ implies that all you need to do is ignore ‘it’, & ‘it’ will go away.  ‘just’ might also imply that you can simply switch off the anxiety by stopping worrying –  therefore “pack in worrying & it will stop!”, but this only serves to increase your anxiety and feelings of not being in control.  Perhaps you’ve chosen to stop talking further about what’s happening to you, because you feel you’re being criticised, judged and misunderstood.

Anxiety explained

Anxiety is real.  It affects body sensations.  It affects how we think.  It affects how we behave.  It’s the feelings you get when your body responds to a frightening or threatening experience.  This has been called the fight or flight response and is simply your body preparing for action either to fight danger or run away from it as fast as possible.

As soon as you are aware of the threat your muscles tense ready for action. Your heart beats faster to carry blood to your muscles and brain where it is most needed. You breathe faster to provide oxygen which is needed for energy. You sweat to stop your body overheating. Your mouth becomes dry and your tummy may have butterflies. The flight or fight response is described as a really basic physiological system which is present in all animals/mammals who depend on it for their survival.

Fortunately, nowadays you’re not often in such life or death situations but unfortunately many of the stresses that you do face can’t be fought or run away from and your body’s mechanisms can actually work against you by continuing to prepare you for flight or fight against perceived danger

What are panic attacks?

These are usually as a result of anxiety and can begin by the sudden onset of feelings of intense apprehension, dread, fear or terror often associated with feelings of impending doom. For example feelings of nausea so severe that you are about to be sick or feeling you are losing your mind because your surroundings feel unreal.

During this period you may experience some or all of the following distressing symptoms:

  • Palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Choking
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of dying

*Consider seeing your GP before deliberately confronting your fears. (It is rare for people to be advised against facing their fears in a supportive environment).

Anxiety Counselling in Stockport

What causes anxiety?

There may be many reasons why someone becomes anxious:

  • Some people may have an anxious personality and have learned to worry.
  • Others may have a series of stressful life events to cope with.
  • For example, bereavements, redundancy, divorce etc.
  • Others may be under pressure at work or home, eg. family problems, bills.

What keeps anxiety going?

Sometimes anxiety can go on and on, and become a life-long problem and there may be a number of reasons for this:

  1. If someone has an anxious personality and is a worrier, then they might be in the habit of feeling anxious.
  2. Sometimes people have ongoing stresses spanning over a number of years which means they develop the habit of being anxious.
  3. As the bodily symptoms of anxiety can be frightening, unusual and unpleasant, people often react by thinking that there is something
    physically wrong, and/or something truly awful is going to happen. This in itself causes an increase in symptoms, and so a vicious circle develops.
  4. Someone who has experienced anxiety in a certain situation may start to predict feeling anxious, and become frightened of the symptoms themselves, this in turn actually causes the very symptoms that were feared.
  5. Once a vicious circle has developed with lots of anxious thoughts increasing the anxiety symptoms, avoidance is often used as a way of coping. It is natural to avoid something that is dangerous, but the sorts of things that people tend to avoid when they suffer from anxiety are most often not actual dangers but busy shops, buses, crowded places, eating out, talking to people, etc. Not only are these things not dangerous but they are quite necessary. Avoiding them can make life very inconvenient and difficult. This sort of avoidance can also result in a great loss of confidence affecting how good you feel about yourself, which in turn makes you feel more anxious – another vicious circle.

*The way we think has a powerful influence on whether we feel anxious or calm. Therefore, thinking needs to be changed from imminent personal danger to probable personal safety. Contact me to discuss the most effective treatment if you feel (or have been diagnosed) you’re suffering from an anxiety disorder.

**It’s a good idea to have a physical examination before starting therapy.

Please contact me  if you live in Cheshire, Stockport, Manchester or any of the surrounding areas to discuss whether your levels of anxiety restrict how you live your life and whether it shows itself in eg. phobias, panic attacks, social anxiety, obsessions compulsions, somatisation (when emotions are expressed not in words but through the body).