ANXIETY THERAPY

Living with anxiety can be very draining and frustrating. It can also affect your  physical health if prolonged as well as more debilitating psychological issues, such as stress and depression.

  • Are you worrying excessively over everyday things?
  • Do you feel “keyed up” and find it difficult to relax?
  • Is it difficult for you to fall asleep or stay asleep?
  • Do you have headaches, muscle aches and/or stomach aches?
  • Do you feel as though anxiety is limiting you from living your life?
  • Do you ever wish that you can find calm, peace of mind and freedom from worry and negative thinking?

No matter how hard you try, you may find that you just can’t stop the worry and negative thinking. Maybe you just can’t shut it off. You may feel that you live your life in a constant state of worry or fear, always on guard, expecting that something bad will happen. Concentrating may be difficult because you feel the anxiety is all-consuming and dominating. You may even find yourself doing things in a certain way to ward off something bad from happening. You might know that the thoughts are irrational and the worry is out of proportion. But despite this, the feelings and fear may feel very real indeed. And perhaps you know that the things that you fear typically don’t happen. You might even berate yourself for not being able to control the worrying and negative thoughts. To add to all of this, maybe you are beginning to lose interest in the things that you once enjoyed doing. You may feel as though you are living in a prison and that your peace of mind and well-being has been stolen from you.

ANXIETY IS VERY COMMON AND SOME ANXIOUS THOUGHTS ARE EVEN HELPFUL.

Anxiety is a normal response to danger or a threat. It is a protective mechanism that is triggered when we face danger. A physiological response, known as the “fight/flight” response, takes place in the body to prepare us to fight for our lives or flee. It is a protective response that we want to activate when we are faced with real danger. Unfortunately, it can kick in when there is no real danger at all and re-occur for no apparent reason.  This is when Anxiety becomes a nuisance because it gets in the way of what you want to do or feel.

At times, everyone worries about things: job, health or finances. Everyone experiences anxiety. Some amount of anxiety can be expected before you give a speech or go for a job interview. Some degree of anxiety can actually be helpful in certain performance situations. However, sometimes, anxiety can grow overwhelming.

When a loved one is late coming home, people without anxiety might think they were delayed at work or perhaps got stuck in traffic or maybe needed to stop at the store to pick up something. A person suffering with anxiety fears the worse and immediately begins to think of all of the horrible possible scenarios. As the fear grows overwhelming, that person may actually call the police or visit the emergency room, convinced that something terrible has happened. This pattern can be broken. When anxiety occurs frequently for no apparent reason, is long-lasting and begins to interfere with your normal life, it may be time to seek help.

Thoughts left to their own momentum will come and go, on their own.  You don’t have to do anything. If you say to yourself, ‘don’t think of elephants’, your first thought is likely to be elephants!  This is the essences of a simple, but effective meditation. Here’s how it works:

1 – Calm yourself. Find a quite place where you feel safe.  Sit upright in a supportive position, keep a straight back but be relaxed.  You can close your eyes or focus on an inanimate object in front of you.

2 – Listen and try to experience your breath as it enters into your lungs and then leaves your body.  This happens without you having to consciously manage this function.  Breathing is fortunately entirely automatic!

3 – When thoughts enter your mind, avoid grabbing hold of them or trying to put them out of your mind – remember the elephants – just recognise them and turn your attention back to your breathing.  They will go away automatically if left alone.  Others will come and go, let them, but each time turn your attention back to your breathing, don’t fight your thoughts, be gentle with yourself, just let your thought come and go and keep bringing your focus back to your breathing.

Try this for 10 to 20 minutes a couple of times a day and see how calming it is.

People who meditate regularly are shown to have calmer brains.  The effect is similar to taking powerful anti-depressant medication but of course, the effect of meditation lasts much longer, whereas with medication it stops when you stop taking it.

Published on 20 Apr 2012. David Sillito tried mindfulness meditation and talks about his experience to see whether mind over matter really can help improve pain and depression and includes an interview with Dr Danny Penman, author of “Mindfulness – A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World,”. From the BBC 4th January 2012. (12 mins)

Anxiety is largely self-induced.  People can react very differently given the same situation. Whatever the cause, it is your own reaction to it that results in anxiety.  It may start with fretting about a worrying issue so much, that it becomes treated as a threat.  Threats if serious enough will induce a physiological reaction to counter the threat we know as fight-or-flight reaction and hormonal (chemical) changes are triggered in your body. These hormones circulate in a pathway called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which influences mood.

The hypothalamus secretes corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), a hormone vital to rousing your body when a physical or emotional threat looms. This hormone follows a pathway to your pituitary gland, where it stimulates the secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which pulses into your bloodstream. When ACTH reaches your adrenal glands, it triggers the release of cortisol, a steroid hormone. The rise in cortisol prompts a cascade of reactions in your body, including raised blood sugar, raised heart rate and blood pressure, a rush of energy and alertness.

When the threat is gone all this will usually subside.  But if you bring the threat back by worry about it again, you’ll end up in the ‘fight-or-flight’ heightened state of alertness, possibly creating a vicious circle of continuous events.

ANXIETY TREATMENT CAN HELP YOU CALM YOUR ANXIOUS MIND.

The mind-body connection is very powerful. What we think and say to ourselves can have a direct effect on how we feel. Your body can respond to the worrying and negative thoughts with headaches, muscle aches, digestive problems and other stress related symptoms. You don’t have to live your life this way. You can learn to change your thoughts and stop the worry.

Using a combination treatment approach, which includes Positive Psychology, Person Centred Therapy, CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and Mindfulness, I can help you use your own mind to get relief from anxiety. Often, there are underlying issues causing your worry, and my approach is a gentle, yet powerful way to help you do the inner healing that is necessary for change. I have helped many people break the cycle of worry and negative thinking and get relief from anxiety.

One of my clients came to me because of the constant negative thinking that she was having. She told me that negative thoughts would come into her mind and then they would stay there, and she would just dwell on them all day and feel awful. After we worked together in anxiety treatment, she told me that, at times, negative thoughts would still come into her mind, but then they would float right out. She found that they no longer lingered. She told me it was such a wonderful relief!

Anxiety disorders are one of the most common reasons people seek counselling. I specialize in helping people get relief from anxiety. Using effective techniques that work, I will develop an anxiety treatment plan that is individualized for you. I have helped many people break free from the endless worry and find joy and happiness in their lives. You, too, can feel better and move through your days without the heaviness of anxiety.

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