WHAT IS ANXIETY?
It is estimated that around eight million people suffer from anxiety in the UK, women are twice as likely to experience anxiety compared with men. Yet, Anxiety is a normal, innately human reaction to stressful situations, in other words, anxiety is our ‘Fight Flight Freeze’ response.
Our fight-flight-freeze response operates based on fear, in that it alerts us to the possibility of an imminent threat being present. However, in the case of anxiety, it might be useful to view this threat as a false-alarm, akin to when a toaster sets off a smoke detector.
Anxiety can lead to an emotional state of internal disturbance, which is often accompanied by a feeling of anticipated dread, an expectation of being inadequate or mocked with belittlement; this is otherwise known as Social Anxiety.
Physical symptoms may include an increased heartbeat, excessive sweating, dry mouth, chest tightness, irritability, restlessness, trembling and panic attacks. The feeling of anxiety and the causes thereof are unique to each individual person.
Persistent anxiety can have a negative impact on your daily life. It might prevent you from doing certain things; participating in work meetings or going to social events, leaving you feeling alone, isolated, low in mood, and lacking energy.
What Causes Anxiety?
Anxiety is a stress response, which signals to you that something isn’t quite right. But what causes anxiety, what is that ‘something not quite right’ signal? The truth is, anxiety can be caused by many different things; work stress, financial worries, health concerns, difficulties in your personal relationships, for instance family disputes, tension in your friendships or romantic relationship.
Anxiety can also be a response to trauma; there may have been a time in your past when you didn’t feel safe, that unsafe feeling state can stay with you for many years, and this may be the cause of you feeling anxious in your everyday life.
There isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to managing anxiety. Symptoms and causations remain complex. You may want to try some grounding and distraction techniques. Breathing exercises, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, physical and self-care activities may help you feel less anxious, and should you need further support, contact a qualified counsellor who can help you with anxiety.