Anxiety and How to Manage It

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imageAnxiety and How to Manage It

What is an Anxiety Attack?
Anxiety is normal and is a helpful emotion; it alerts us to possible danger. Anxiety only becomes a problem if it causes us to feel overly uncomfortable or unsafe. When we feel anxious it means the body’s “fight or flight” mechanism has kicked in; this is a normal, primitive alert system to the possibility of imminent danger. It equips us to stand and fight or to run away. Consequently, the body is flooded with adrenaline; if we don’t use the adrenaline immediately we can sometimes feel unpleasant sensations. Some of the anxiety symptoms people may experience are agitation, palpitations, breathlessness, faster pulse, light-headedness, sweating or shakiness. However, the symptoms are many and varied and this is not an exhaustive list. Also, anxiety symptoms can be similar to those of certain physical conditions such as an over active thyroid gland, for example. Sometimes anxiety feels acutely unpleasant because it feels overwhelming and dangerous, whereas for most people it is not. This is when we may use the term panic attack

Why do we experience Anxiety?
Broadly, we experience anxiety when we feel unsafe or out of control of important situations. Usually anxiety is a direct response to something that is happening to us in the here and now. Occasionally, it may be triggered by something that has caused us acute anxiety in the past, such as a childhood trauma or a traumatic event suffered in adulthood. This is relatively rare and trauma sufferers may need the professional help of a skilled counsellor or psychotherapist. Most of us, however, can manage anxiety ourselves and fortunately there are some very effective measures that can be taken.

Action Points for Managing Anxiety
• Recognise your anxiety. We are all different, so what are your symptoms?

• Try to work off the adrenaline immediately, if you can, by getting active

• Ask yourself what might be causing you to feel anxious; take action if you can. If you have a problem or dilemma talk to someone or get the appropriate advice. It’s always good to talk to someone discrete whom you trust. Bottling up negative feelings and concerns is bad for our mental health as it can lead to increased anxiety and even depression

• Use a safe controlled breathing technique. Practise autogenic relaxation and visualisation (details on my website). Use these on a regular basis as they will not only help keep you feeling more relaxed but also the techniques will come to you automatically when you feel anxious

• Planned relaxation is usually enough to calm our anxiety and help us to recover from the busyness and stress of everyday life

• Try to incorporate regular exercise into your day as it helps work off unwanted adrenaline and releases feel- good hormones called endorphins

• Make time to look after yourself; you are worth it. Regular meditation, relaxing baths, massages and listening to music are just a few ways to help you feel more relaxed. What do you find relaxing?

• Make sure you get enough good quality sleep. The autogenic relaxation technique is very useful for helping people get off to sleep; and even to get back to sleep if we wake in the night

• If your symptoms persist, despite trying to manage them your-self, it may be wise to seek professional help

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