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Anxiety – What actually is it?

As a therapist, anxiety is a term I hear often from the people I work with . It is a word that gets thrown around to describe a whole range of feelings and scenarios.

It is clear to say that there is a steady incline of people in our world becoming impacted by anxiety.

Anxiety itself can be a complex idea to understand. So I thought I would take this chance to share with you all, my take on what anxiety is.

And following this post moving forward a few tips and tricks on what I have found has worked to help manage the anxiety and helped others.

So firstly my take on what exactly is anxiety?

I believe anxiety comes from that anxious worry about the unknown.

  • What if this is going to happen?
  • What if it all goes wrong?
  • What if I am going to fail?
  • What if they don’t like me?
  • Why is everyone looking at me?
  • Why is my heart going so fast?

Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.

I think it’s easy to say that we have all felt a level anxiety at some point in our lives.

Especially if you happen to live in the Christchurch area, where anxiety has become all part of our lives due to the unpredictable earthquakes.

There is always that underlying feeling of uncertainty: “is there going to be another quake” (this can be heightened by even a truck going by).

That ongoing lingering anxiety feeling can eat away at you and take a toll on your health and well-being.

Some common signs/symptoms of anxiety are:

  • Panic feeling
  • Churning stomach
  • Problems sleeping
  • Feeling nervous        
  • Short shallow breathing
  • Sweating or being flushed
  • Difficulties focusing and concentrating
  • Feeling edgy, irritable or fidgeting
  • Feeling drained in energy leading to exhaustion
  • Not wanting to leave the house
  • Giving up before you even start.
  • Making excuses for not trying.
  • And so on…. Any of these sound familiar?

To be clear, it’s completely normal to feel some levels of anxiety. This is where we grow as a person.

Commonly; anxiety comes from having to step out of our comfort zones, doing something that is not usually considered “safe”.

Think of a time when you had to do something new and scary. For me what comes into my mind straight away is doing a speech in high school. Man they were awful and was the longest five minutes of my life.

I consider feeling this type of anxiety as being manageable and is something that eventually passed.

Anxiety becomes a problem when it starts impacting badly and having a negative effect on your life.

Think of anxiety as a place, its ok to visit there, but you don’t want to live and stay there every day.

What can I do to help my anxiety?

Anxiety is a complex problem. It is wicked and there is no one right answer or easy fix.

What I will look to share over the next few blog posts are some proven techniques I have used with my clients to help manage their anxiety.

Think of it like having a tool box – where each tool is designed differently to help with your anxiety.

What we will look to do is build up an anxiety tool box.

For now I would like to thank you for letting me into your day and look forward to sharing these tools over the next few weeks.

All the best.

Christchurch Therapy Team

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