“Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
A is for Adrenaline – this hormone produces a chain of reactions throughout the nervous system
N is for Negative Thoughts – self-criticism, perfectionism & impatience can feed anxiety
X is for X-factor – some situations will make some worry more that others
I is for Imagination – imagine the worst about what has yet to happen can trigger anxiety
E is for Escalation – short-term relief causes the anxiety to escalate over time
T is for Time – we create anxiety by worrying about the future and mulling over the past
Y is for You – you can learn to manage and control anxiety rather than vice versa
Anxiety is a growing problem, and given that it can interfere with our daily lives, it’s an important problem that a lot of those who aren’t affected by it, simply don’t understand. Just like physical health, we all have mental health. The term itself covers a broad range of emotional and psychological concerns that affect millions of people every day. According to the Mental Health Foundation, every year in the UK 70 million workdays are lost due to mental illness, including anxiety, depression and stress related conditions. This means mental illness is the leading cause of sickness and absence from work.
Anxiety is a normal feeling we all experience from time to time; it is a sense of unease, worry and fear. For some however, this feeling is very strong or may last for a long time, making it overwhelming. In these cases, a mental illness can develop. Anxiety is considered one of the most common mental health problems in the western world; in 2013 there were 8.2 million cases recorded in the UK alone. Interestingly, studies show that it is more commonly seen in women. In England, women are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders than men. Whether or not this is down to biology or the fact that women are more likely to seek help is yet to be determined.
Anxiety may be an accumulation of different stresses built up over a period of time; a good analogy is if you were to visualize your way of handling stress to filling a glass of water. Your stress could be a big one like going for a really important interview or a small one like making that call to your boss and as you keep adding all these stresses to the glass but you don’t find ways of removing any them, then over time the glass will inevitably fill up and simply spillover. This simple explanation about anxiety shows why sometimes it may seem to come out of the blue with no big event triggering it. What has happened is that the trigger was just the final piece of stress that caused the glass to spillover. Other times we instinctively know that our glass over spilt suddenly by one major event.We need to take time to relieve our stress regularly and deal with bigger stressors, as they happen so as not to let them build up and “fill our glass”. There are many ways to relieve stress and each person needs to find ones which suit them.
The short-term common symptoms that come with anxiety:
- Feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness
- Problems sleeping
- Cold or sweaty hands or feet
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Not being able to be still and calm
- Unable to concentrate
- Dry mouth
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
- Muscle tension
The longer-term symptoms can be:
- Insomnia: Insomnia and anxiety frequently go hand in hand with each other. Anxiety can cause insomnia, just as insomnia can lead to problems with anxiety. Insomnia can often be one of the first symptoms of anxiety.
- Stroke: Constant release of ‘flight or fight’ hormones increases risks to the heart. Research indicates that middle-aged men with symptoms of psychological distress are more than 3 times as likely to have a fatal stroke than those who do not have anxiety problems.
- Early memory decline: When you constantly overload the stress system, the sympathetic nervous system doesn’t know when to stop which may lead to injuring or killing hippocampus brain cells. Although all of the parts of your brain are obviously essential, the hippocampus is even more vital because it’s needed for memory and learning.
- Lack of Concentration: Anxietyfreechildren.com explores the effects of anxiety and concentration on performance at school and has found that stress can fear can negatively impact concentration which may lead to a difficulty in creating or maintaining relationships with family and friends.
It’s important that if you notice you have some symptoms of anxiety that you see your doctor and have yourself examined. If you are avoiding a doctor due to the fact you want to avoid prescribed drugs, think again. Doctors cannot force you to take drugs, they can only suggest. Being diagnosed is important, it will help you accept that you have anxiety, and help you deal with it in whichever way you see fit. While medication is available, many people decide to take it into their own hands and use natural methods of anxiety relief.
Anxiety is a debilitating condition, causing sufferers to constantly experience stress, worry, and uneasiness. As a chronic medical problem, anxiety can wreak havoc on your body and your brain, causing panic attacks, heart trouble, and even deadly strokes. Perhaps the most worrying aspect of anxiety is its potential to damage your brain, sometimes even permanently.
Anxiety can have a strong negative effect on your life. You can try fight back, but given that one of the symptoms of anxiety is the inability to concentrate, you’ll soon lose focus of what you were fighting for and give in. This is why it is important that you find a way to deal with the anxiety. Keep in mind, while refusing medication is an option, you must find a way that you are comfortable with to deal with your anxiety so that you continue to live a long and happy life. Don’t let it interfere with your everyday tasks, overcome the anxiety!
Dealing with the Anxiety the natural way…
This can be difficult so it can take you some time to find some methods of dealing with it that you are comfortable with. It’s important to try new things, as you never know what will help your body deal with the anxiety. While it may place you outside of your comfort zone at first, you might find that it could be a real breakthrough for you.
So what natural ways are there of dealing with our anxiety?
Learning Self-Hypnosis… With self-hypnosis you learn to relax and relaxation is perhaps THE KEY to rid yourself of stress and tension as well as anxiety. The plus point of self hypnosis is that apart from relieving stress experienced at the given moment, it will also help eliminate the problems…the root causes of such stress and anxiety. Every day we face stress in varying degrees and most often we succeed in dealing with it but what we don’t do is deal with the root cause of our stress. Most often, this untreated root cause triggers recurrent stress. With self-hypnosis we not only treat and eradicate the root cause but also learn to interpret situations in a different way. This is important since our interpretation of a given situation plays a big role in determining our stress levels. Self-hypnosis will help you relax and calm down and you will stay in control even during those situations that generally make you feel stressed. Thus, you will feel better…healthier…and happier.
Meditation… Often overlooked but if you take the time to read about meditating and find a style that you are comfortable with, after only a few days of meditating you may find that it is incredibly beneficial to relieving anxiety. Focusing on your breathing keeps you into the present moment, allowing any anxiety to simply fade in the background….
Your Diet… Believe it or not, your diet can play a big part in your anxiety and your mental welfare in general. If sugar and fat filled foods are a big part of your diet then cut them out! It’s ok to eat them every once in a while, but in order to turn your mind body wellbeing around then you must eat healthily and make sure that you are getting the correct intake that you need. Drink at least 1 – 2 litres of water a day to detox; avoid drinking strong coffee and alcohol as they often exacerbates sleep and anxiety.
Exercise… Exercise is a great way to relieve anxiety and blow off some steam. If you are uncomfortable going to a gym, start by going for a jog around the block. Go at your own pace and slowly build yourself up to go to the gym. If this method works for you, then it will not only help you relieve yourself of anxiety but it will help you keep in shape.
Your Breathing… As said before, if you are feeling anxious then sit down and instead of worrying, focus on your breathing. When you breathe slowly and deeply it is physiologically impossible to be anxious. There are various forms of breathing techniques that will help you to relax and inadvertently reduce all the vibrations connected with anxiety (see my Breathing Techniques to Help Relax Blog).
Thought Stopping… Just as it sounds, this technique is designed to stop negative thoughts. The process is simple and the results profound. 1. Choose an image that makes you smile (a baby’s laughter, the sunrise/set etc.). 2. Choose an image that signifies ‘STOP’. (Could be a red Stop sign, a policeman’s hand, a traffic red light; whatever has meaning for you). 3. When the negative thought occurs – immediately image your STOP image. 4. Now for the key point: Immediately see the image you chose in Step 1. This method clearly requires that you are able to ‘see’ or at least sense images in your head. Not everyone can; if you are more oriented to hearing or to touching, then adapt this process accordingly. There’s no need to close your eyes as you can use thought-stopping anywhere, anytime.
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)… This is an alternative therapy created from a combination of alternative therapies including acupuncture, neuro-linguistic programming, energy medicine and thought-field therapy. It is designed to allow people to manifest their desired reality through affirmations and patterns of physical touch. EFT allows people to feel happier about their lives and to foster self-acceptance. The treatment requires you to touch a series of pressure points along the “meridian lines” of electromagnetic energy upon which acupuncture is based while concentrating on the problem you wish to address (referred to as “tuning in” to their problem) and repetitively stating an affirmation. EFT affirmations have the following structure (though variations are acceptable). “Even though I have this (briefly state your personal problem), I deeply and completely love and accept myself.” The pressure points, said to be located along meridian lines wherein the body’s “ki” or life-energy is stored, include the following: Karate chop (soft area on the side of hand between small finger and beginning of the wrist) / Eyebrow (inner edge) / Beside the eyes (outer side) / Under the eyes / Under the nose / Chin / Collar bones / Under the arm / Wrist / Crown of the head
Befriend Your Inner Voice… At times there can be a “critic voice” that speaks negatively or destructively to us and damages self-esteem and our healthy coping mechanism. In getting to know the voice, speaking back to it, individuating ourselves from it, we can feel empowered and free (see Befriending Your Inner Critic Blog).
I tend to refrain from saying “your” anxiety to my clients as I feel it’s vital for them to be detached from ‘the’ anxiety and not automatically feel that it’s part of them or in their DNA as such; instead I encourage them to look at it as an uninvited guest or a foreign body that is temporarily residing within. With time and perseverance when my client has mastered ways and tools to get rid of the anxiety it will then simply be phased out of their system or ‘evicted as an undesirable squatter’!Anxiety is an unpleasant condition to suffer from but if you deal with it effectively and find a comfort zone so that you are able deal with it in your own way, you’ll be able to continue your life as if the anxiety wasn’t there or at least have some control over it instead of visa versa….
I believe that the root cause of all anxiety is in the subconscious mind; this is where our thoughts, feelings, memories, values, beliefs, hopes, fears, even our dreams and nightmares are all stored and amongst all that chaos also resides our anxiety. In order to deal with this effectively, a therapy that can access the subconscious mind directly is needed and this is why so many people turn to hypnotherapy. Using the safe and natural medium of hypnosis, the subconscious mind is accessed so as to find out the root cause of one’s anxiety.
Remember that your subconscious mind always operates with positive intention, i.e. it never works AGAINST you but always FOR you. Maybe whatever is fuelling your existing anxiety, once upon a time was a coping mechanism that helped you but now it no longer serves its purpose, now it is simple outdated…
Nothing should hold you back from living a happy, rewarding and successful life, especial something from the past… and if there is, then what is your subconscious warning you of?