"Now is the age of anxiety"


W.H. Auden

Anxiety

Anxiety problems are very common

Problems with anxiety are the most common psychological concern people have. Approximately one out of every ten people suffers from an anxiety disorder at any given time; and approximately one out of every four people will suffer from an anxiety disorder at some time in their lives. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! People experience anxiety in different ways, but most of the symptoms are experienced physically and include: muscle tension and shakiness, abdominal distress and nausea, sweating, flushing, pounding heart, shortness of breath, etc… No wonder some people confuse a panic attack with having a heart attack! There are also psychological symptoms related to anxiety such as a general feeling of nervousness, impending doom, or constant worrying thoughts. Of course the psychological symptoms are not separate from the physical, but are rather linked in specific ways which you’ll learn through our work together.

Anxiety is normal, and necessary for life!

Anxiety, as with all emotions positive or negative, serve a good purpose in our lives. They can signal when things are going well or not. Anxiety can motivate us to do things to avoid future problems or be more successful. For example, being moderately anxious about a test next week may motivate me to study for it; if I had no anxiety, I’d probably not study and fail the exam. I don’t suspect we would be around today as a species if our ancestors hadn’t been anxious about being cold in the winter, or having enough food when the food supply runs out, or worrying about defending themselves against wild animals. These anxieties motivated our ancestors to take preventative measures, to be prepared, and to survive. The way that anxiety is normally intended to work is to basically signal to us that there may be a problem in the future, for us to identify the problem, and then take steps to solve the problem.

When anxiety goes wrong

The problem is when these normal emotions stop functioning the way that they are intended to. This can happen in several different ways:

  1. The suspected problem that I’m anxious about may not be realistic or the likelihood of it happening may be hugely overblown. For example, I may be constantly worrying that I may catch a disease or that people won’t like me, but in reality these may happen very infrequently.

  2. The consequences of the suspected problem may be over-exaggerated: For example, I may fear failing an exam and worry that if this happened my life would be ruined and I’d be a failure for the rest of my life. In reality if I failed the exam the actual consequences may be much less severe.

  3. I may not be responding to my anxiety incorrectly, or in ways that make matters worse: For example, if I’m anxious about meeting new people, I may decide to avoid certain social situations, or even school or the office. While this may relieve my anxiety temporarily, it actually makes anxiety disorders worse in the long term; plus my response will cause me to become isolated, or to start performing poorly at school or at work, leading to even more severe anxiety in the future.

The good news is that we can figure out the root causes of your anxiety, we can apply very effective therapeutic techniques (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) to teach you how to be in control of your anxiety rather than letting your anxiety control you! Research shows that competent therapeutic techniques work, so book your session today or call me for more information so you can begin living better tomorrow!