Anxiety is part of our body’s fight or flight response, and is a protective survival mechanism that evolved in humans over a long period of time. If you have high levels of anxiety you probably come from a long line of ancestors who had a strong anxiety response that kept them and their family safe. In our modern society we’ve become disconnected from the evolution of our physiology, the role of anxiety in our keeping us safe, and the value of connecting to our mind and body’s anxiety signals.
For most of us anxiety levels rise and fall throughout the day for all of us, however for some people, high levels of anxiety persist and can be problematic. For people with generalised anxiety, social anxiety, panic or long term stress, anxiety symptoms can dominate their life and lead to avoidance of fearful situations and a restricted life. Anxiety symptoms can include panic, difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, palpitations, chest tightness, trembling, upset stomach, faintness, dizziness, insomnia, restlessness and irritability.
High levels of anxiety has many causes including hereditary and biochemical factors, early life experiences and trauma, personality, thinking style and behavioural tendencies.
Treatment for anxiety
There are many effective psychological and pharmacological treatments for anxiety. Working with a Psychologist can help us understand the origin of anxiety by exploring our personal history, thinking style, current coping strategies and behaviours. Treatment is focussed on learning new ways to manage and reduce anxiety, through breathing exercises and relaxation strategies, cultivating healthy lifestyle practices such as having a good sleep routine, reducing caffeine and alcohol, using exercise to release stress, and most importantly cultivating cognitive strategies to help us reduce the sense of threat.
Levels of reported anxiety have increased as a result of the Covid19 pandemic, so more people are seeking psychological treatment for anxiety. The pandemic is creating increased stress across all age groups. Young people are feeling vulnerable due to high levels of unemployment, worry about debt associated with educational fees and the lack of opportunity to rent or own their own home. Frail, disabled and elderly members of the population feel isolated and have lost essential support services, while people of all ages have lost their work, business and homes and freedom to live their lives normally. There is much cause for worry and anxiety about our futures. Now more than ever its important that we find ways to cultivate effective strategies to manage anxiety symptoms and chronic stress to help us cope with the challenges ahead.
If you would like to discuss how I can help you cope with anxiety symptoms please call me.