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Anxiety is used to describe feelings of worry, fear and unease. Typically, it incorporates both the emotional and physical sensations we experience when worried or nervous.
It is natural for all of us to feel anxious at some time and it is very common to feel unsure or tense about a potentially stressful situation, such as starting a new job, an exam, or moving home. However, some of us will be affected more than others. Despite being a normal experience, if these feelings are very strong or are lasting a long time, it can be overwhelming.
Anxiety can make you imagine things are worse than they are and prevent you from carrying out everyday tasks, or even leaving the house. Where stress is something that will come and go, anxiety can affect a person even if the cause is unclear. You may feel this during normal, non-threatening situations.
While some will know what causes their anxiety; after experiencing a traumatic event, for example, others will not have such an identifiable reason. Not knowing the cause of anxiety can sometimes cause a person to experience further distress.
While feeling anxious is a natural response, suffering from anxiety long-term can be very intense. Anxiety will affect individuals differently, however, there are common symptoms listed below.
• Rapid and / or irregular heartbeat
• Fast breathing
• Trouble sleeping
• Feeling irritable
• Lack of concentration
• Panic attacks
Anxiety is a difficulty that can get worse if the stressors continue to build up. People may feel ashamed to ask for help or believe that it’s not ‘that big a problem’ thus covering their feelings and dealing with it alone. It’s important to know that you deserve support and as lonely as you feel, people care. If you’re not comfortable talking to a loved one, there are many other platforms available. Online support groups and anxiety counselling give you the opportunity to talk to people who understand you.
According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) you should be offered a talking treatment before prescribing medication.
Person-centred counselling & psychotherapy is one form of talking treatment. Talking to a person-centred counsellor, can help you in a positive and non-judgmental manner, to better understand your troubling thoughts and what causing your anxiety. Through a better understanding of the causes, you will be able to reorganise your thoughts and develop new ways and/or strategies which will reduce dysfunctional anxiety and allow you to have more positive experiences with self and others.