babylon counsellor Jayne Cookson tells you everything you need to know about anxiety.
Jayne has a particular interest in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and issues surrounding relationships and self-esteem.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety comprises of feelings of unease, worry and fear. It is an unpleasant part of life that can affect us all in different ways. It incorporates emotions and physical sensations and is related to the 'fight or flight' response when our body produces too much adrenaline, which is our normal biological reaction to feeling threatened.
We all know what it’s like to feel anxious from time to time and for some of us anxiety is a temporary state that passes i.e. when we have an exam or a job interview, however, for others it can become a long term condition that affects and controls their lives.
It is normal to feel sad or worried from time to time, but when that worry impacts our lives on a daily basis; you may be suffering from anxiety, depression or both.
What does Anxiety feel like?
If you experience anxiety, you might experience some of the physical and psychological sensations in the examples below. Remember, anxiety can feel different for different people.
Physical feelings such as:
- Pins and needles.
Psychological sensations such as:
- Feeling numb
- Having negative thoughts
- Lack of concentration
- Over thinking
- Feeling like everything is speeding up.
If we suffer from anxiety long term other things can happen as a result such as depression, relationship problems, a lowered immune system, sleep problems, difficulties with work, and loss of libido, smoking or drinking a lot to cope and generally enjoying life and activities less.
How can I get help?
There are different ways to either get outside help or incorporate techniques of self help into your daily life to help manage your anxiety.
Counselling can help teach you how to explore and manage your anxiety and its triggers, therefore help getting life back to normal. This may be by better self care or exploring relationships and how they may impact you. When we gain an understanding of our problems it can help us develop new perspectives. You may be introduced to relaxation techniques such as guided fantasy to help focus your mind away from anxiety.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has a structured approach by exploring unhelpful thinking and includes using exercises in desensitisation and exposure to help people face fear and anxieties.
Mindfulness exercises for anxiety can help you manage anxiety. The aim of mindfulness is to develop awareness in the here and now to become more non judgemental, self-compassionate and appreciative. From gaining greater clarity on what is happening to you and all around you, this can help you recognise your anxiety triggers and deal with them effectively.