Dealing with Anxiety
Anxiety is a very common symptom of the stressful environment we live in today. Often when we are anxious we become fearful, ashamed, weak and try to suppress or avoid our anxious feelings. We are even self-critical for feeling overly anxious. Unfortunately we live in a society where we often feel blamed and shamed if we seem to be struggling with our emotions. Anxiety does not only affect our mood and emotions, but we can become overwhelmed with physical sensations as well: extreme tenseness, shaking, raised heart rate, high blood pressure, loss or increase of appetite, increased sugar levels. All of which can have a negative impact on our physical health, as well as our mental health.
So why are we susceptible to anxiety and why is it increasing? Many of our emotions are a result of a very long evolutionary history, our emotions were originally developed to deal with fast approaching threats in the jungle and the savannah and are not well adapted to the modern environment. Humans are the only animals that have the ability to worry about tomorrow, catastrophise about the past and get so wrapped up in thoughts about things that have never happened and may never happen. Our advanced brains with the great capacity for thinking and ruminating can have a very negative impact on our levels of anxiety. A key message of compassionate mind training is understanding how tricky our brains are and that they are not very well put together for living in a modern society. Once we recognise how difficult our brains can be, we can stand back from them and feel compassion for the difficult emotions we experience. In therapy, I will help you understand the nature of your anxiety, the best ways of dealing with it and how your mind can help you cope with it.
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