Tag: Anxiety

Anxiety: Facts, symptoms and ways to overcome it

Feeling anxiety is what we feel when we are worried, nervous, on edge, or afraid about things that may happen now or in the future. People usually experience feelings of worry or fear before confronting challenging situations such as sitting an exam or interview, and these feelings are perfectly normal. It can be experienced through your feelings, in your thoughts or physically. Research shows that anxiety is the root cause of fear.

The causes of anxiety can range from environmental factors, lifestyle to genetics and are commonly triggered by high levels of stress.  

If you have experienced a traumatic event from your past or childhood, this could be a key factor and the cause of your anxiety, these experiences may include: being bullied, abused, neglected or due to the death of a loved one. In addition, the relationships that you are in may be creating stress whether it be a personal, professional relationship, friendship, marriage or divorce. Problems arising in these relationships can be causing you mental distress leading to anxiety or even depression.

General Anxiety disorder (GAD) is becoming increasingly more common and can be very difficult to manage if you are not aware of your triggers. This disorder can become problematic if you find it difficult to control thing s that worry you. Hence, it very important to continuously be aware of the stressor, which could lead to anxiety if not managed

Your environmental situation at work or at home can make you feel stressed and pressurised, resulting in you wanting to avoid the situations that you are in. You may be working long hours or feeling lonely and isolated from the world which can create the feeling of unease and fear. You may find that the issues in your life are affecting your mental state such as financial and housing problems or not being able to find work.

The environment that you are in can have an impact on your stress levels and the pressure that you are feeling. This may be due to a situation at home or in your job such as when working long hours. As a result, you may feel lonely or isolated from your surroundings which can create a feeling of unease and fear. Issues in your life which can range from financial problems to unemployment can also affect your mental health which may be a cause of your anxiety or stress.

It may be out of your control as a family history of anxiety can also increase the chances of someone developing and suffering from anxiety disorders. However, it can also be a result of biochemical imbalances which affect the control and regulation of your mood.

Anxiety can also be a side effect of taking medication or from drug and alcohol consumption.

Facts

  • Variations of anxiety can include GAD, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, agoraphobia, specific phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Anxiety can be hereditary, where you are approximately five times more likely to develop GAD if you have a close relative with the condition.
  • GAD is a common condition which is estimated to affect up to 5% of the UK population where 3 million people are affected by an anxiety disorder.
  • Women tend to be more affected than men and it is more common in people who are aged 35 to 59.
  • 615 million people suffered from anxiety or depression in 2013.
  • Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders that people experience in the UK and is the most common form of mental illness in the United States.

The symptoms:

Being able to recognise the symptoms of anxiety enables you to find the best solution to overcome it. It can be identified by physical and psychological symptoms where it can vary for everyone. Some of the symptoms that characterise anxiety include:

List of physical symptoms:

  • tension /not being able to relax
  • irritable
  • headaches/migraines
  • hot flushes
  • nausea/lightheaded
  • constantly feeling on edge
  • increased heart rate
  • increase muscle tension
  • dizziness
  • difficulty in breathing
  • heart palpitations
  • insomnia
  • shortness of breath
  • shaking or trembling
  • sweating
  • lack of concentration

Psychological symptoms:

  • feeling detached to people and your environment
  • feeling on edge and alert
  • avoidance
  • difficulties in concentrating

Ways to overcome anxiety:

  • It is important to remember that there are always ways to overcome anxiety and should you feel that it is impacting a large part of your life, to seek help. Seeing your GP can be useful in finding the best form of treatment for you.
  • You can also help yourself by talking about your thoughts and feelings to someone you trust or trainee professional such as a counsellor which can help to relieve your worries and feelings of loneliness.
  • Relaxation/breathing exercises can also help in making you feel more in control, calmer and relaxed.
  • Self-help courses, group counselling, CBT are available to help you to cope with your anxiety.
  • Adding in exercise to your daily routine may help where a simple walk can alleviate the tension and stress built up from your environment. You may find that you will be able to sleep better helping to put you in a better mood.
  • Making changes in your daily habits such as reducing your caffeine or alcohol intake can also contribute to helping you to overcome these feelings.

Research shows that smoking increases anxiety and tension and those who smoke are more likely to develop anxiety disorders. Try to get some support to quit smoking and you may discover an improvement in your mood and concentration.

Being able to acknowledge that you have anxiety can help drive you to find ways in which you can overcome that feeling of unease and stop letting it affect the way you live. There are many people in this world who are feeling the same way and it is important to remember that you are not alone.

If you are finding it difficult to overcome anxiety alone, it may be effective to seek help from experts. Psychological therapy can be useful in helping you to figure out what the root of your anxiety is and ways in which you can treat it. Psychotherapists are professionals who are trained to listen to your problems and help you with your struggles. You can also get counselling or go for group therapy. Speaking to someone is a great way to understand your problems and to know that you are not alone.

What causes anxiety

Anxiety is when you feel afraid or overly worried, tensed that something is going to happen in the future.

Most people who suffer from anxiety have been anxious during the earlier part of their childhood. This could stem from living in an environment where one or both of the parents do not talk about their feelings or express their emotions, particularly negative emotions, and often deal with them in a negative way. In addition, early years of anxiety could be a result of physical, emotional or sexual abuse, neglect, drug addiction or alcoholism, parents that suffer from mental health issues and school-related issues like exams or bullying.

When you’re overly anxious it can affect any area of your life such as:

  • Work – you begin to lack concentration and you’re often not present as your mind is busy racing and thinking about other things.
  • Intimate relationships – you may begin to find it hard to be emotionally connected with your spouse as you feel anxious about the status or the future of the relationship.
  • Friendships – it’s important to socialise and have hobbies, but unfortunately, when an individual is highly anxious it affects their ability to be sociable, as they are often worried about different things which could begin to make them feel paranoid. As a result, they suffer from social anxiety.

Everyone can feel anxiety from time to time, however, anxiety is a mental health problem: if it affects your ability to live as fully as you would like to.

Do you often feel like this? Do you feel anxious very often with the feelings being very severe and lasting for a prolonged time? Do you worry constantly or are afraid that you feel out of control regards to a situation?

  • You avoid situations which might cause you to be anxious and your worrying makes you feel very distressed.
  • You experience panic attacks.
  • You find it hard to enjoy the day to day things. Anxiety could affect the way in which you look after yourself, work, enjoy leisure time, and form and develop relationships.

Self-care for anxiety

Time to pause

Avoid extreme build-up of stress by taking time to pause, relax and recharge yourself. It’s important to avoid over-working by doing long hours without breaks.

Control your breathing

Severe anxiety is often linked to poor breathing habits. It’s important to implement slow breathing techniques by breathing in slowly and gently through your nose for about 5-7 seconds.

Exercise

Exercise is good for your general health, including your mood, mental health and wellbeing. Engage in a regular weekly exercise which will help release the ‘happy hormones’ called endorphins. It will also help you relax and sleep well and it is a very healthy distraction.

Eat a well-balanced diet

Having a balanced diet will provide the right nutrients that your body needs, which will contribute to positive emotional wellbeing. 

Limit alcohol and caffeine

Both alcohol and caffeine can aggravate anxiety. 

Get enough sleep

Improved sleeping patterns enable you to recharge yourself. Common mental health issues such as anxiety and depression can often underpin sleep problems. Sleep helps you to feel better and boost your moods.

Acceptance

It’s essential to accept that you can’t control everything and it’s important to avoid being overly controlling. It’s important to have a vision or dreams and aspirations, but you can’t spend too much focus or time worrying about the future.

Know your triggers

Having an understanding of what triggers your anxiety will help you look for the patterns and keep your anxiety levels under control.

Talk about your issues 

Talking about issues that make you anxious will help you to think less and reduce over thinking which contributes to worrying and anxiety.

Why ignoring negative emotions can be dangerous

Emotions are a strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. Your emotions represent who you are, it can help you to make sense of self, environment and the relationship that you have with others.

Emotions can be both positive and negative. Regardless of whichever one it is, it is important to understand and feel it. People who have grown up in an environment where they were not allowed to express their views or talk about their emotions, often struggle to deal with negative emotions. For instance, people who have anger problems may have suppressed their emotions for a long time, particularly towards people who have hurt them as a child. As result of this, they often get very angry at anything and everything as adults since they have not been allowed to express their views or emotions as children.

In addition to this, children who have experienced or been exposed to severe emotional pain during childhood, subconsciously develop a coping mechanism to emotionally shutdown, when feeling negative emotions, such as; fear, loneliness, vulnerability, sadness, jealously, failure, rejection or abandonment.

Often, individuals that do not know or acknowledge these emotions use, people or other things to distract themselves, including food, inappropriate sexual activities, drugs, alcohol, and even dysfunctional relationships. Our emotions represent who we are and often tell us many things about ourselves. It is not always easy to understand your emotions, but doing so will enable you to build your esteem and take more control of your

wellbeing. It is important for you learn to understand and take control of your emotions since avoiding them can lead your emotions to control you. If this habit is not tackled, it could lead to mental/ emotional issues such as: anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, dysfunctional relationships, addiction, self-harm, and suicidal idealization.  

 How to deal with your emotions positively

It is important to identify and acknowledge the emotions, which you are feeling, rather than ignore them. Emotions are very powerful and can influence the way that we behave and the type of people we attract.

Keep a journal of your thoughts and emotions to gain a deeper perceptive and understanding of the root cause of what you are feeling or where it is coming from.

Try breathing or relaxation techniques, if you feel overwhelmed by your emotions.

Talk to positive family members or friends about your concerns and how you are feeling. If you feel that you want to speak to someone neutral, then seek professional help from a therapist to explore your emotions.

Emotions do not always represent the reality of what we feel. For example, you may feel that people will abandon you, this may not be the reality. However, there may be underlying issues that may be associated with your childhood or past that has not been addressed.

It is best not to respond immediately to negative emotions such anger in the moment. Always take time out to calm down or reflect before responding to negative situations. Often, you may say or do something that you may later regret.

Self-care can increase your ability to deal with negative emotions, such as exercising. Exercise can help to increase the happy hormones and help you to be more mentally at peace with yourself.

 

 

 

Anxiety and Relationships

Do you often feel anxious, on edge or constantly worrying about anything and everything?

If your answer is yes, then keep reading. Firstly, anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. If you find that your natural state is being anxious, then it is more likely that this emotion could be the result of past experiences or even picked up from your childhood.

Children, whose parent/s suffer from anxiety, are more likely to suffer from anxiety disorder. The reason behind this is that babies unconsciously mirror and reflect the moods of their parents. For example, if mum is constantly worried then the baby would pick up on her mood, since babies pick up on what they see and feel. So whatever their environment represents then that’s what will define or contribute to their characteristics.

Consequently, later on in life the child may grow up to being naturally worrisome and fret about things that are trivial, this could further lead to adults entering into relationships that would cause them to be anxious and even if there is nothing to worry about, they may create situations or scenarios in their mind that will make them worried. In addition, they may begin to lose concentration when dealing with day-to-day stuff, such as, work, watching a movie, or even have problems sleeping.

No matter what the reason maybe, you could be addicted to drama, as this may be your natural state and can hinder the relationships by creating a distance between you and your spouse. This experience can be very unhealthy in the long term as it leads to other mental health issues such as panic attacks or anxiety disorder in more extreme cases.

How to stop being anxious in relationships:

1. Let go of controlling others

It is good to come to a realization that the only person that you can control within a relationship is yourself. The fact that you want to control another person indicates that you are not in control of yourself. I appreciate that you don’t want anyone to mistreat you within a relationship and you want to figure out how you can control your spouse. The fact is you can’t, even if you could track his whereabouts every second of the day, you would still feel insecure.

2. Take responsibility for your happiness

In order to a have a more positive relationship, you have to begin to take responsibility for your happiness and invest in yourself.

3. Focus on other areas of your life.

When you make a relationship the center of your universe, you will spend a lot of time thinking about it, in a way that you are subconsciously distracting yourself from yourself. If you cannot focus on work, over analytical, stressing over what your spouse is doing, why he did not call or respond to your messages. This can be very stressful and could make you feel insecure. It is better to focus on other areas of your life, to get the balance.

4. Enjoy your hobbies

The world is a big place and there are so many things that you can you do, including starting a new hobbies or interest. It is also important to learn to enjoy your own company.

5. Let your partner miss you

If your partner knows your every move, you are always predictable, and always available to her/him. Consequently, you could be subconsciously allowing her/him to take you for granted. Let her/him miss you sometimes.

 

How fear abandonment affects relationships

Fear of abandonment usually affects people that have been abandoned or neglected by their parents during their childhood either due to death of a parent, a divorce or inadequate physical or emotional care.

These individuals often attract spouses that may reinforce the negative emotions that are associated with this fear, which can often leave a person feeling insecure and anxious within intimate relationships.

When a person has a fear of abandonment, they never feel safe within relationships, and always have thoughts at the back of their mind about their spouse leaving them, or assume that their partner is having an affair, without any objective evidence. This can lead self-sabotaging behaviour and can make an individual feel on edge or anxious.

As a result of this fear, individuals’ works hard for love so they are not abandoned, like their parent/s did when they were growing up.

When confronted with challenges within a relationship and their emotions get triggered, a person may feel like ending the relationship, or hurting the other person before they get hurt. Even within a healthy relationship, you can still think that one day the person will leave you, based on the rejection from your childhood, or if you have had unfaithful partners in your previous relationships.

Women often give too much, by spoiling and trying to prove  to their spouse that they are perfect, so that a person can appreciate them. This behaviour does not work, as it is a form of manipulation. Learn to give your self-unconditional love and what you look for from others.

How counseling can help with fear of abandonment

Acknowledge the fear

It is impossible to resolve any issue if you are unaware of it. In order to overcome fear of abandonment, it is very important to acknowledge, accept and understand the root cause. Whether it is through a loss of a family member who you may not have had a chance to say goodbye or rekindle the relationship; or through a separation from a parent who may have left when you were growing up. In such circumstances, it is possible to have suppressed anger towards that person, which can be unconsciously expressed or triggered within other relationships.  In addition, if fear of abandonment is a result of rejection from parent(s) then counselling can help you to understand the emotional pain that may be associated with your self esteem.

Recognise the emotions that are associated fears of abandonment 

When you have been deeply hurt by abandonment, you may become very needy, constantly seeking attention or needing regular reassurance from others. Consequently, you don’t enjoy your own company and often finds ways to distract yourself from your pain. This could involve the use of alcohol, drugs, sex or excessive time spent watching TV.  Counselling can help you to understand emotions that you find overwhelming and difficult to cope with on your own. This process will help you to have deeper understanding of yourself and recognise your own inner resources, rather than being dependent on others to make you happy.

Take Action

With the help of a counsellor, you can begin to establish the trust, firstly within yourself and others. It will also allow you to have an understanding of emotional triggers, which may be associated with fear of abandonment. Keeping a journal will help you have deeper insights of your thoughts and emotions, which your counsellor will support you to manage. With time, the fear will minimize and counselling will help you to learn to separate the fear from past that may be linked to the present.