We all need a certain amount of stress to live our daily lives, however when this stress becomes unmanageable we need to do something about it.
Symptoms of Anxiety
If you are suffering from one or more of the signs below you may be experiencing a period of anxiety:
- sleeping badly
- panic attacks
- constant worry
- prolonged headaches
- ongoing constipation or diarrhoea
It is usually possible to find the trigger for our anxiety eg the run up to an exam. Once we have found the trigger for the anxiety we can help ourselves to reduce it.
Ways To Reduce Anxiety
- Take some deep breaths
- Practise Mindfulness meditation
- Do something you enjoy eg read a book, watch a movie
- Take some exercise, preferably outdoors
- Talk to someone you know and trust
- Spend some time in nature
Working with Anxiety in Psychodynamic Counselling
Anxiety can also be a reaction to underlying issues which have been around for a long time. For example, we feel anxious when we have an important work meeting coming up.
The immediate anxiety can be relieved practically by being very well prepared and organised and thinking through all the possibilities of the meeting and what that could involve.
However, this may not be the end of the matter. Anxiety can be a signal that something more deep-seated is troubling us.
Discovering the Root Cause of the Anxiety
Anxiety is often a reaction to underlying distress which has been around for a long time. If we are able to explore what the underlying distress is about we may be able to discover the root cause of the anxiety.
For example, reflecting on the above meeting scenario we realise that there is one member of staff that we find difficult to manage and who we try to avoid.
If we look further into this situation we become aware that we have a fear of confrontation generally.
Through talking in the counselling sessions we discover where our fear of confrontation comes from. This gives us an understanding of our anxiety and fear of confrontation and a different perspective on it.
Going forward we can then choose to behave differently in confrontational situations. In time, the anxiety decreases and we naturally become more assertive.
Once the underlying distress has been acknowledged and talked about it can reduce its power over us thereby reducing the anxiety in the long term.