What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling of being tense, worried or afraid most days sometimes about things that are about to happen but sometime for no apparent reason.
Imagine the scene
I’m sure you’ve had days like this. You’re in a tense meeting where you’re just waiting for it all to go wrong, you’re thinking about how overwhelmed you are and you’ve no idea how you’re going to even get through your emails, your anxiety levels are rising. Your heart’s racing, you’re tense, even nauseous and you feel like you just can’t cope – and you haven’t even got out of bed yet! Your mind’s working overtime worrying about all the possible scenarios your day may bring and it’s making you anxious.
Maybe this is a daily occurrence for you. If it is, you’re not alone. According to the Mental Health Foundation’s 2014 report 22% of women report feeling anxiety ‘most of the time’. I think the figure is probably much higher.
What we sometimes forget is that anxiety is designed to help us – it’s our early warning system if you like. But it becomes a problem when it persists, and some people experience really distressing symptoms, so much so that it can be hard to believe it’s ‘just’ anxiety.
Maybe for you it’s negative thoughts and feelings that go around and round in your head and keep you awake at night or disrupt your focus in the day.
Or your symptoms might be quite physical, like palpitations, sweating palms, stomach problems, headaches, tense muscles. It can be exhausting physically, emotionally and mentally. And sometimes overwhelming and frightening.
As a nurse I often saw patients admitted with symptoms that were due to anxiety but were so severe it looked like a physical illness.
Book a call if you would like to talk about your anxiety and how to manage it better.
How do you know if you are suffering anxiety?
Anxiety can show up in various disguises and here’s just some of the ways – see if you recognise yourself in any of these:
Do you spend a lot of time imagining disasters in the future, fearing you’re are not going to cope? Maybe you pick over past failures, going over and over what you did wrong, what you could have done better or differently.
Or you think endlessly about things that are clearly out of your control, that you can do nothing about, but you worry about them anyway.
To your subconscious worrying has a purpose – if you’re worrying about something then surely, your subconscious is saying, it means you’ll be prepared for anything that can happen. But the tragic thing is that most of the time the very thing you’ve been worrying about doesn’t happen or it happens differently, so you’re not prepared anyway.
You can’t prepare for everything; life is too uncertain so worrying is really a waste of energy. If you would like to know how I can help you with constant worrying, click here.
This makes a lot of sense when you think of it, doesn’t it, because the feeling of hunger is very like the feeling of anxiety – a gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach or feeling a bit spacy and lightheaded? And after you’ve eaten you feel temporarily calmer, it slows you down slightly.
But it’s not a good fix, is it, because many people then you feel self-loathing because you’ve eaten that box of doughnuts or giant packet of crisps.
Maybe your weight has ballooned, and you hate showing your body, even to your partner which just makes you more anxious, so you eat – and without addressing the underlying anxiety it just goes on and on.
If you would like to know how I can help you with comfort eating, click here.
Do you drink too much to overcome anxiety, especially social anxiety? Alcohol turns off the anxious feeling for some people so you can see why you’d use this.
Social anxiety can be a real problem and maybe you can’t face going out, or the opposite, can’t face being on your own, without a couple of drinks to damp down the anxiety. But this just feeds your anxiety the next day when the embarrassment and drinker’s remorse kicks in, never mind the hangover.
And because too much booze lowers your blood sugar you might find you wake early with a horrible feeling of dread, fear and worry which just makes you more anxious – and you just want to eat endlessly!
Again, it’s not a very healthy way to cope and it’s that beach ball under the water again isn’t it? If you would like to know more about how we can work together to address your binge drinking, click here.
Maybe you turn to cigarettes to calm down. You’d really like to stop smoking but you’re relying on it at the moment because you’re stressed.
Smokers often think that having a cigarette calms them down, but this is a trick that nicotine plays on your brain. You see nicotine causes an unnaturally high rise in dopamine in your brain and because your body doesn’t like to be out of balance your brain has to reduce it to normal levels. It does this by releasing stress hormones which brings down the dopamine. But you feel this – you feel stressed. As this reaction happens maybe 45 minutes or so after a cigarette you don’t associate it with the cigarette.
So you smoke, get a rise in dopamine, you feel better and the brain has tricked you into thinking that the cigarette has calmed your stress when in fact it’s caused it. If you would like to know more about how I can help you stop smoking, click here.
Physical and mental symptoms
You might have physical symptoms that don’t seem to have a cause like a constant, heavy, sick feeling in the pit of your stomach that never seems to go away, trouble falling asleep waking early with a feeling of dread for no apparent reason.
Maybe you often feel on edge, exhausted, jumpy, spacey, have palpitations, sweaty palms, unable to concentrate, you’re irritable or you have an awful, constant feeling of foreboding that never seems to go away.
You may have developed a phobia such as a fear of flying, spiders, snakes, lifts, escalators, confined spaces or open spaces because of anxiety. It isn’t often well known that phobias can have their root in anxiety, and they can be surprisingly easy to overcome. If you would like to know how I can help you to overcome phobias click here.
You might procrastinate constantly, putting off things you really should do but you can’t get the motivation, or you’re scared it’s going to go wrong, or not be perfect. Perfectionism can be a feature of anxiety. If you would like to know how I can help you address procrastination and perfectionism click here.
You might be having panic attacks which are horrible to experience, and it can feel like you’re dying.
Anxiety can also be a feature of depression. Everyone suffers from the ‘blues’ or low mood from time to time. That’s just life and we need to have the downs to appreciate the ups. But with depression it’s different. The downs just seem to go on and on. Nothing gives you pleasure; everything seems so pointless and hard. You ‘ruminate’, turn things over and over in your mind and your work may be suffering as you dither about decisions and find it hard to find the energy or motivation to do anything.
Medication can help but sometimes doesn’t always get to the root of the problem. I know this as I have had depression all my life and it took more than a prescription for me to overcome.
If you are not sure if you have depression this WHO video explains it very well.
Finding out what’s behind your depression and anxiety means you can change the way you think about yourself and the world and begin to climb out of that pit of depression and begin to live your life again.
These are just examples but it doesn’t really matter about the label, you are more than a label and I would always treat you, the person, to help you in the most powerful way.
So, you can see how many ways anxiety can show up and how it can really hijack you and begin to feel like your life is always going to be like this.
It doesn’t have to be like this
I can help you to manage the anxiety, stress and overwhelm that’s crippling you and ruining your life. Book a free consultation now to discuss how I can help you with your anxiety.
There’ll always be problems you need to overcome, things that make you wobble. But you can get better at coping so that you can get over them and get on with your life.
It’s possible for anyone to change old, unhelpful ways of being, to live their best lives and go forward into the future with confidence and courage. I know because I did it.
I have a unique Anxiety Management Programme specially designed and waiting for you to make the changes you want to make, to get the life you really want to live. Don’t waste any more time. Book a call now.
RL from London did it.
“Having grappled with intermittent anxiety which affected me in situations in the workplace but would not have been evident from my confident outer self, hazel help me find techniques to tame this. They help me in any challenging situation – even coming into play in a high-pressure job interview to get me a dream job and help me thrive in it. I am happier, healthier and more effective to my colleagues.“
And you can do it too. It’s possible.
Loa Tzu said that the longest journeys begin with a single step so why not take that step now and book a free, no obligation call now to find out how I can support you to change the way you think, feel and behave. To manage your anxiety in a more effective way and take the first step on your path to a happier, healthier and more confident future. .
Or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Just imagine for a moment how different, how amazing your life could be if you were in control of your anxiety.
So do it now, book a free discovery call now and begin to live the life you are meant to or contact me: