A certain level of anxiety is a natural and healthy response to the stresses of everyday life. It allows us to focus and function positively in situations which may be outside of our normal comfort zone. It helps us to react appropriately to taxing situations, helping us to avoid high levels of risk or danger.
However, when levels of anxiety become excessive the symptoms we experience can be unhelpful and have a negative impact on daily living. If anxiety causes us to react out of context and intensity to otherwise manageable situations it can stop us fully taking part in certain aspects of life.
There are different types and levels of anxiety:
- General anxiety (about many aspects of life)
- Worry (continually thinking over a problem beyond helpful problem solving)
- Specific anxiety (over certain situations, such as exams, social situations)
- Phobias (excessive fear of particular situations leading to avoidance)
- Hypochondria (anxiety about suffering from illnesses)
- Panic attacks (sudden uncontrollable experience of symptoms of anxiety)
Common symptoms of anxiety
- Racing heart, dry mouth, rapid breathing, sweating, shaking, disturbed sleep (please contact your doctor to rule out any underlying health problems which may also cause these symptoms)
- Tense muscles, increased fidgeting (fight or flight responses), headaches, general aches
- Vivid visual imaginings of worse case scenarios, disturbing dreams
Talking to a counsellor about your anxiety can help you become more objective about your fears and aware of how these symptoms affect you.
Together we can then work out coping strategies to reduce the symptoms to a tolerable and liveable level. During counselling, the issues underlying your anxiety can be explored and that in itself can help to lessen the effects anxiety has on your day to day life.
Debbie Kelly MSc is an experienced counsellor working in Basingstoke and Alton in North Hampshire. She sees clients experiencing life challenges concerning anxiety, depression, work stress, grief and bereavement, relationship difficulties and miscarriage/pregnancy loss.
Contact Debbie on 07590 572866 or email to arrange a free 30 minute introductory session.