Anxiety and Taking Back Control
A very common reason for getting in touch with Hazelwood Counselling Services is feeling overwhelmed by worry and anxiety. This article looks at what anxiety is and how counselling can help you to take back control and overcome it.
Anxiety is a natural response – we all get anxious about things from time to time. However, for some people, it can be a constant ongoing problem and it means that it gets in the way of them doing what they want. In other words, anxiety can get to the point where it controls our lives.
Anxiety happens when we feel worried, nervous or uneasy about something. And anxiety is horrible; the inner turmoil, the unshaking feeling of dread. This can be experienced as a vague, unsettling feeling to something which is so overwhelming it is debilitating.
So, maybe you’re finding it impossible to leave the house, to take public transport, to meet new people, or maybe the anxiety makes you very irritable with others and so it affects your relationships.
In short, anxiety can be crippling.
Counselling Can Help
NICE (The National Institute for Clinical Excellence) recommends that GPs make counselling available to their patients who are suffering from conditions such as anxiety. The demand for this service is great and there are often waiting lists that are weeks or even months long.
Counselling works well as it targets more than just the symptoms of the anxiety, and so, it is usually the most effective option to make things better long term. The research backs this up and shows that whilst anxiety medication can help with the symptoms, counselling can help you view situations in less frightening ways, help you uncover the underlying causes of your worries and fears and develop coping and problem-solving skills. Counselling gives you the tools to overcome anxiety and, it teaches you how to use those tools.
Of course, there are no magic wands and you need to work hard and be actively involved in the process. Be ready to be open and honest with your counsellor and to reflect on each session before the next. If you get given homework, do it and be prepared to report on it at your next meeting – you’ll make better progress that way.
There are many things which trigger anxiety – each person is different. For example, being in a social setting with lots of strangers, or when we imagine the danger and frighten ourselves – we can have an irrational or over-exaggerated response to a threat. This irrational or over-exaggerated response is when anxiety becomes a problem and stops people having control of their lives.
There are many symptoms of anxiety and the most common are listed below. It has been shown that using anxiety managing strategies or seeking counselling can significantly decrease these symptoms and even eliminate them completely. Common symptoms are:
- You find that you are worrying all the time. You may find that you are worrying about things that are a normal part of life, or things that aren’t that likely to happen. Some people even worry about worrying.
- Other common symptoms could be physical or psychological
- Tense Muscles
- Feeling light headed or dizzy
- Quicken breathing
- Sweating or hot flushes
- Raised blood pressure
- Difficulty sleeping
- Needing the toilet more frequently, or less frequently
- Churning in the pit of your stomach
- Experiencing panic attacks
- Feeling tense, nervous or on-edge
- Having a sense of dread or fearing the worst
- Feeling like the world is speeding up or slowing down
- Feeling like you are observing the world as if watching a screen or through glass
- Feeling as though people can see you are anxious and are looking at you
- Feeling as if your mind is really busy with thoughts
- Dwelling on experiences or thinking over a situation again and again (rumination)
- Feeling restless and not being able to concentrate
- Feeling numb
How does Counselling Help with Anxiety?
Counselling is tailored to your specific needs. This is really important as anxiety can differ considerably from one person to the next. Most likely you will talk about your anxiety and, with your counsellor’s support, you can start to examine what’s currently going on and work to change this.
For some people, reaching this increased awareness is all they need to support themselves in managing their anxiety in the future. For others, they may decide to work with their counsellor so they can really understand the reasons what lies behind their anxiety. By understanding it and knowing what causes it, enables people to overcome it.
With your counsellor, you are safe to explore, understand, and discover the root cause of your anxiety. With counselling, you learn that you can survive it and overcome it.
All in all, anxiety is horrible. It overwhelms us, debilitates us and makes us feel very vulnerable. But, it doesn’t have to be like this and many people have found that through counselling it is possible to feel better and take control.
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness – it takes courage, and is the first step on the way to dealing with the problem.
If you are considering counselling, you can talk to your GP who may be able to access free counselling for you or you can seek a private counsellor for yourself.
If you decide to seek a counsellor for yourself then choose one that’s properly qualified and accredited. The Counselling Directory (www.counselling-directory.org.uk) undergo checks to make sure everyone they list is properly qualified and belongs to a professional body.
Read More: Strategies for Managing Anxiety