Me: What could possibly go wrong? Anxiety: I’m glad you asked
Anxiety, It has been said that living with it is like being followed by a voice.
“ It knows all your insecurities and uses them against you. It gets to the point when its the loudest voice in the room, the only one you can hear.”
I would describe anxiety as a circular self feeding loop of drivel, a tap that drips a constant feed of negativity that creates and builds upon self doubt. Sometimes it feels like someone has hijacked my Spotify account and stuck it continuous play. That intrusive negative voice within our heads races at an exhausting rate and thinks of a variety of ‘what ifs’ before the kettle has had a chance to boil.
It’s a great liar, and a fantasist, brilliant at creating the worst possible outcome to any real or imagined scenario.
I’ve been prone to social anxiety when I was younger, luckily I came full circle. However after a very difficult bereavement, I really struggled, on a daily basis for quite some time. Although I am a therapist and have the benefit of understanding some techniques and theory. I am also human and it hit hard, so I challenged myself to bring in some daily techniques to cope. Paying attention to regulating my breathing helped, and I started tapping; using Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) this provided an instant reduction in symptoms……. truly. I shall write more on this….
There can be many reasons why we can become anxious, some of us can be genetically predisposed to it and some of its behaviours can be learnt. Struggling with anxiety can mean that decision making, everyday tasks and being able to enjoy life in general is really difficult. Avoidance of situations that trigger our anxiety is typical and understandable. Senses can be heightened so trips to places with a high volume of people and noise can propose difficulties for many. Its here that we can trigger stress ‘fight or flight behaviours’. Click here to read more on what happens when you’re stressed.
A vicious cycle can start easily, anxious thoughts tend to create physiological symptoms and anxious behaviours so it makes perfect sense at the time to start to avoid theses situations as a way of coping. Unfortunately this safety seeking behaviour tends to keep the loop going and limit our quality of life.
For those of you that are reading this, and experience anxiety that is persistent, and feels unmanageable, it may be time to seek some support.
Here are some suggestions……
Try not to believe everything you think. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help in increasing our awareness of thought patterns and I find that it can help to reflect on these thoughts when we aren’t anxious and test their reality.
Counselling can help by helping to address the roots of the issues that led to anxiety, such as unresolved grief, a traumatic event or unresolved trauma.
In terms of an instant reduction in symptoms, I strongly recommend Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). I shall write more on this and include links to some You Tube videos, from my personal experience of anxiety and what I have learnt throughout my studies, I consider EFT to be the most effective and immediate way of helping to treat anxiety by dramatically reducing the physiological symptoms within a minutes for many people.
Grounding exercise: Look around and find 5 things that you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can here, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. This is called grounding and it can help when you feel like you have lost control of how you feel.
Interrupt anxiety by practising Gratitude
Mindfulness is popular at the moment, it focuses on accepting your feelings and helps you by teaching to be present in the moment, rather than worrying about the past or future.
Breathing exercises through meditation and yoga are really helpful
Healthy eating there is research which indicates that our diet and gastrointestinal health can correlate to our mental well being
Herbal Aids like Valerian, St. Johns wort, Chamomile, Kava Kava. These all produce mild sedation without side effects. Talk it through with your GP
Apps to try, Pacifica, SAM, Headspace (they do a deal with Spotify)