Is Anxiety Getting the Better of You?

Stress

Anxiety is a common problem that often needs help....

Feeling occasionally anxious is a normal response to modern life.

However, for some people their anxiety is very unsettling. It stirs up uncomfortable feelings when faced with simple everyday situations. If you or someone you know avoids social gatherings, work meetings or confrontations, due to anxiety, then don’t ignore these feelings. It’s time to get some skills and strategies to help you manage life effectively.

Symptoms Can Be Physical AND Emotional

Symptoms of anxiety can be very unsettling. Your heart rate increases, your mind races and you can no longer think straight. Though everyone experiences anxiety a bit differently, there are some more common symptoms to look out for.

Physical sensations:

• racing heart;

• hot flushes, sweating and skin clamminess;

• rapid breathing; and/or

• frequent gastrointestinal upsets.

Emotional sensations:

• feelings of excess worry, panic, fear or guilt;

• obsessive thinking and behaviours;

• feeling generally tense and wound up.

Daily Strategies to Support Yourself

These tips will lead to better overall wellbeing as well as helping you to manage stress and anxiety:

• Connect with friends – keeping in touch with people maintains your support network;

• Exercise (ideally outdoors) – regular exercise has been shown to improve mood and reduce feelings of stress;

• Choose healthy foods – consume protein at each meal and avoid refined and sugary foods. This can help balance your blood sugar levels, reducing mood imbalances and lessening anxiety;

• Avoid caffeine – stimulants such as caffeine can exacerbate anxiety; and

• Breathe! – if you start to feel panicky or anxious, focus on taking some slow, purposeful, deep breaths, helping you return to a state of calm. Meditation can also help to quieten your mind and instil calm.

Breaking the Cycle

Herbal medicine can be used to help reduce anxiety and nervousness. For example, Passion flower decreases that sense of ‘restlessness’ and can help settle nervous stomachs. It increases the calming neurotransmitters (brain chemicals), such as GABA; soothing a racing mind, decreasing tension and irritability.

Cognitive Behavioural therapy (CBT) is a technique used by many psychologists. I am happy to recommend and/or refer you to a psychologist.

EMDR therapy is another very effective psychological treatment. It reprocesses traumatic memories or events so that highly charged negative emotions can become a healthy adaptive memory. This therapy is offered by an increasing number of psychologists as well as myself.

Action Time

You are welcome to make an appointment to see me to discuss appropriate ways of managing life stresses more effectively.

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