People often experience anxiety in daily life with only minor impact on themselves or others. But when anxiety becomes problematic and starts to interfere with your normal daily activities, sleep, relationships, work and even health then therapy can be the next step.
Therapy for managing anxiety can be non intrusive and depending on the severity/origins treated with practical and empowering tools giving you back the freedom to live your life again. The following page has some up to date facts about anxiety, what it is, how it impacts you and identifying symptoms.
How Anxiety Changes Our Thinking:
- Catastrophising – coming to the worst possible conclusion
- Avoiding certain situations, people, events
- Constant negative mental chatter
- Fearful of change, practising excessive ‘risk aversion’
- Feeling hopeless and powerless
What Happens To Your Body When You Are Anxious:
Anxiety can cause many sensations in your body as it prepares for danger. These sensations are called the “alarm reaction”, which takes place when the body’s natural alarm system (aka: the “fight-flight-freeze” response) has been activated. This may result in any of the following physical responses:
- Rapid heart beat and rapid breathing – When your body is preparing itself for action, it makes sure enough blood and oxygen is being circulated to your major muscle groups and essential organs, allowing you to run away or fight off danger.
- Sweating – Sweating cools the body. It also makes the skin more slippery and difficult for an attacking animal or person to grab hold of you.
- Nausea and stomach upset – When faced with danger, the body shuts down systems/processes that are not needed for survival; that way, it can direct energy to functions that are critical for survival. Digestion is one of the processes that is not needed at times of danger. Because of this, anxiety might lead to feelings of stomach upset, nausea, or diarrhoea.
- Feeling dizzy or light headed – Because our blood and oxygen goes to major muscle groups when we are in danger, we will breathe much faster in order to move oxygen toward those muscles. However, this can cause hyperventilation (too much oxygen from breathing very rapidly to prepare the body for action), which can makes you feel dizzy or light headed. Also, since most of your blood and oxygen is going to your arms and legs (for “fight or flight”), there is a slight decrease of blood to the brain, which can also make you dizzy. Don’t worry though: the slight decrease in blood flow to the brain is not dangerous at all!
- Tight or painful chest – Your muscles tense up as your body prepares for danger. So your chest may feel tight or painful when you take in large breaths while those chest muscles are tense.
- Numbness and tingling sensations – Hyperventilation can also cause numbness and tingling sensations. The tingling sensations is related to the fact that the hairs on our bodies often stand up when faced with danger to increase our sensitivity to touch or movement. Finally, fingers and toes may also feel numb/tingly as blood flows away from places where it is not needed (like our fingers) and towards major muscle groups that are needed (like our arms).
- Unreality or bright vision – When responding to danger, our pupils dilate to let in more light and to make sure that we can see clearly. This reaction makes our environment look brighter or fuzzier, and sometimes less real.
- Heavy legs – As the legs prepare for action (fight or flight), increased muscle tension, as well as increased blood flow to those muscles, can cause the sensation of heavy legs.
Help & Support:
Anxiety can be changed through supportive and practical therapy. Please feel free to contact Caroline for a free phone consultation if you want to:
- Manage panic attacks and reduce onset
- Learn to change the negative voice in your head
- Reduce the mental chatter and create more peace
- Feel more relaxed and be able to engage in the life you want
- Return to more balanced sleep patterns and coping strategies.