It is normal for us to feel anxious from time to time. Anxiety is the feeling or set of feelings that we get when we feel apprehension or fear. It is a perfectly natural reaction to situations that can be perceived as threatening or unfamiliar.
However, it can become an issue if this feeling does not go away or if it is associated with situations that shouldn’t be perceived as negative or that are blown out of proportion. Anxiety disorders can develop when we overthink negative thoughts and it will affect our whole being, our emotions, our behaviour and physical health, and if left untreated can become the beginning of a phobia, a phobia can develop into stress, stress can create habits designed to relieve anxiety and so it continues. Here are 5 ways to tell if your anxiety is becomimg a problem.
- You might find yourself feeling afraid for no reason, just the thought of leaving the house might trigger an anxiety attack that prevents you from going out and living a normal, healthy life.
- You might find yourself avoiding things that once you were able to do quite naturally such as going to the shops or meeting friends for lunch.
- Overthinking and catastrophizing is a common anxiety symptom. Having irrational thoughts about things that ‘might’ happen but very often never do.
- You might be finding it difficult to get off to sleep at night and when you eventually do, wake up in the early hours of the morning feeling anxious for no apparent reason.
- Feeling annoyed or irritable is a common anxiety trait. You might imagine that other people can see your anxiety and find yourself feeling defensive when they ask if everything is ok. Irritability is often very usual if you haven’t had a good nights sleep in a while.
There are lots of techniques you can use to alliviate the symptoms of anxiety.
Acknowledge the negative thought by writing it down, such as: I am feeling anxious because…..acknowledging the anxiety and analyzing the feeling can help you to put things in perspective. Often, our overthinking and negative thoughts will make you perceive something as more threatening than it really is making you feel powerless to do anything about it.
Breathing exercises and mindfulness give you something to focus on and have a very calming effect. You will be able to think more clearly after completing one of these exercises and breathing deeply and calming will cause your entire body to relax. Sit or stand in a comfortable position. You can close your eyes or keep them open, whatever is comfortable for you. Now focus on your breathing and feel the sensation of your stomach as it rises and falls as you breathe in and out. If your mind wanders bring it back to your breathing and do this for about 3 minutes. With practice you will be able to do this in any anxious or stressful moment to calm you down and rationalize your thoughts.
Identifying what triggers your anxiety will help you to understand it better and also help you to control it. Ask yourself in an anxious moment “what is causing me to feel anxious” You might find that certain situations or people cause you more stress and anxiety than others. Whilst you focus on trying to understand why the situations cause you to feel like that you can start to prepare for these situations or encounters in advance.
Want to learn how to do this with support? Come and work with me in my therapy room in Black Dam, Basingstoke. Just a few sessions will give you the confidence and tools you need to live an anxiety free life. www.alisonisaacstherapy.co.uk