Anxiety is a feeling of uneasiness, apprehension, and in some cases, intense fear.
We will all experience some level of anxiety in our lives. It can tell us that a situation is dangerous or requires us to exercise caution. It can motivate us to practice and prepare more, possibly learn new skills, in order to face our fears and reduce our anxiety in certain situations.
For some people, the anxiety is so unpleasant that they develop a fear of the anxiety itself. They fear, even avoid, placing themselves in situations where they anticipate they may experience anxiety. With stress, people can usually specify exactly what it is that they fear. Identifying the source/ cause of our anxiety is not always that easy. There can be a fear that something catastrophic is going to happen without knowing what that could be. The physical symptoms of anxiety can be very intense and are often misinterpreted as a medical issue.
In situations where there is no imminent danger and no obvious cause (e.g. exercise, room temperature, blood sugar) have you:
Felt your heartbeat racing or irregular
Been short of breath
Experienced chest pains
Felt shaky or weak
Experienced nausea or abdominal distress
Experienced a high level of fear
Anticipated something catastrophic
Scared yourself with your own thoughts/ self-talk
Avoided situations fearing that you will become anxious
Most people experiencing anxiety are highly motivated to reduce/ eliminate these feelings. Anxiety is at best unpleasant, and at worst, debilitating. There are very helpful strategies for dealing with anxiety. These strategies help people learn to slow the physiological response, challenge/calm their thoughts, and eliminate avoidance behaviour.
For more information or to book a counselling session, contact Heather Sutherland.