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  • Writer's pictureJon Davis

Anxiety. Friend or Foe?

Anxiety. Anxiety word cloud

Anxiety affects many people from all walks of life. It appears in different forms, such as generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety, or panic disorder. Anxiety can be overwhelming and can interfere with our day-to-day life and our interactions with others.

Nowadays anxiety has a bad press, however when humans first appeared on the planet (around 300,000 years ago) anxiety was essential to enable us to respond to threats to our safety and keep us alive – our fight/flight/freeze response.

Today, an appropriate amount of anxiety can be a good thing. It keeps us motivated during project work, keeps us alert for dangers and can help with time limited problem solving. However, when feelings of anxiety become constant and out of control they interfere with our daily life. This causes us to avoid certain places, situations and people and this inevitably makes our world smaller and less enjoyable.

Understanding the nature of anxiety is the first step towards managing it. Anxiety often stems from our worries and fears about the future, leading to excessive and irrational or negative thoughts. These thoughts can become self-sustaining, like a quickly spinning water wheel, and can trigger a range of physical and emotional reactions. Recognising and addressing these thought patterns is crucial for gaining control over anxiety.

Mindfulness and self-care can go some way to lessening the effects of anxiety. Speaking to someone who can explain what is happening (and why) during periods of anxiety compliments the benefits of mindfulness and self-care.

Anxiety will feed on irrational thoughts and ‘worst possible scenario’ predictions about the future. A counsellor can help you to challenge these negative thought patterns and can help you to question their validity and replace them with more realistic and positive alternatives.

Anxiety may be a part of our lives, but it doesn't have to dominate them. By understanding the nature of anxiety and challenging our thoughts, we can bring more control into our day to day routines and claim back areas of our lives lost to anxiety.


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