Anxiety

Anxiety can quickly become disabling if left untreated.

Anxiety is typically characterised by symptoms of feeling very worried, obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviour which impacts on everyday activities (e.g. work, study, seeing friends and family).

Anxiety can quickly become disabling as we adopt avoiding strategies which become habitual the more we repeat them. For example, fear can be the primary emotion we act on and specific anxiety can become more generalised. Going grocery shopping might be the initial anxiety provoking situation but can lead to avoiding a number of other situations where there might be people, crowds, or you are put in a position of decision making. As fear is predominately focusing on and remembering negative events, we often perceive threats where there are none and reinforce our belief that the world is a scary place.

Not only does the mind respond with patterns of habitual thought, avoiding situations, but the body primes itself for action switching to a fight, flight or freeze mode. In this mode we see physiological changes such as sweating more, increased heart rate, difficulty breathing or rapid breath, greater sensitivity and awareness through heightened senses of perception, and blood pumping to the bigger muscles, ready for action.

Options and skill building explored in therapy include:

Promoting positivity

Positivity broadens our perspective – we literally have a wider view, which offers us more options. Learning is done through repetition, so the more we practice, the more it builds, creating resilience that allows us to function even at difficult times.

Personal control

Developing a greater sense of personal control by understanding and strengthening internal capacity so we can focus on events we have influence over, rather than situations beyond our control.

Learning about the mind body connection

Understand growth of the mind, how to focus the mind, and the interaction between mind and body helps us have a greater sense of control in an impermanent world. It allows us to find meaning and greater contentment and joy.

Anxiety Therapist Nowra
Anxiety therapist Nowra

HANDY TIPS

  • Limit alcohol and caffeine – these can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
  • Learn what triggers you anxiety – is it work, family, school or something else you can identify?
  • Mindfulness practices – learn to regulate your breathe and focus your mind when you are not anxious, this will help when you are exposed to triggers.
  • Accept there are things you cannot control – put your stress in perspective: what are the worst outcomes and how likely are they to happen?
  • Remember there is much to learn from failing – do your best and don’t be afraid of making mistakes.

“Every time your fear is invited up, every time you recognise it and smile at it, your fear will lose some of its strength”

Thich Nhat Hanh (Vietnamese Monk)