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ANXIETY & ANXIETY DISORDERS

Anxiety Counselling | Harley St. | Marylebone | Central London

HOLISTIC THERAPY & COUNSELLING APPROACH FOR ANXIETY

Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders can be a debilitating condition that negatively effects your quality of life, health, work and relationships.  Some amount of anxiety is normal and actually beneficial when in response to certain situations. 

 

A ‘fight or flight’ reaction is a natural, innate physiological response to perceived or real danger. It involves activity of the sympathetic nervous system that releases stress hormones - cortisol and adrenaline. This bodily reaction is what causes the feelings of dizziness, butterflies, sweating and shaking when feeling anxious or panicky. It is our bodies way of warning us of danger and prepares to respond accordingly in order to keep us safe. This was obviously vital when man was hunter-gatherer and needing to seek food and shelter thousands of years ago - however with todays overload of stressors the same response can occur in overload.

 

Anxiety is an issue when your daily life and wellbeing is effected by constant worry or apprehension. This heightened stress and anxious reaction can have a huge impact on your ability to work, it effects relationships, health and often stops people from going to places or doing the things they enjoy. 

 

Sometimes people end up using drink or drugs to ease their feelings of anxiety which only makes it worse in the long-run and can lead to problems with alcohol dependence or addiction.

 

Symptoms of anxiety and panic include:

  • excessive or prolonged worry

  • fear or apprehension

  • feeling jumpy and on edge

  • sweating

  • physical tension

  • aches and pain

  • headaches

  • heart palpitations

  • shortness of breath

  • feeling like you are going to faint

  • sickness / diarrhoea 

  • irritability

  • imaging the worst

  • expecting bad things to happen

  • avoidance

  • isolation

  • feeling like you are going mad….

The physical symptoms of anxiety are real and the brain recognises this. Often over-interpreting these physical sensations fuels the anxiety. This can lead to a cycle of continued and escalating anxiety and panic. It also develops to what many anxiety sufferers refer to as a “fear of the fear”. 

Anxiety & Panic can be a crippling and difficult condition to live with and some people also report a low mood, depression or low self-esteem as a result of their problems with anxiety.

Anxiety is common. Help is available for anxiety and panic and counselling and psychotherapy is highly effective in treating anxiety.  As anxiety and panic is related to heightened stress responses, you can find ways to help yourself reduce the level of stress and anxiety by doing a number of natural and holistic practices. 

 

Keeping a diary of when you feel more anxious or panicky can be really helpful in starting to identify any specific triggers. Because the feelings can come on so suddenly it is easy to feel like it is completely random however often, there are triggers. Common triggers to anxiety and panic include: food intolerances, caffeine, alcohol, automatically interpreting bodily sensations and unhelpful thought processes.

Considering your diet and nutrition can be a helpful first step in learning to manage and reduce your feelings of panic or anxiety. What you eat and when you eat can play a huge part in mental health concerns. Reducing or eliminating caffiene, alcohol and sugar may be helpful.

Breath work and any practices or hobbies that help reduce stress and increase relaxation can also be helpful, such as; yoga, tai-chi, pilates, walking in nature, swimming, painting, creative arts, reading, seeing friends, etc. Usually when we feel stressed or anxious we stop doing the things we enjoy or that benefit us. This can lead to a downward spiral of feeling worse and then doing less. It is important to find ways in which to turn this cycle around to help feel better. Yoga asana practice can be very powerful in calming the nervous system and reducing stress and anxiety.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a very effective talking therapy that examines the sorts of anxious thoughts you might have that contribute or maintain feelings of anxiety. By working together with a qualified therapist you can learn how to understand and recognise the link between our thoughts, feelings and behaviour and more importantly learn practical tools in order to break any negative cycles. By changing the the way you think, you can change the way you feel.

Mindfulness is another very helpful tool in which you can learn to relate to your thoughts in a different way. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to something, in a particular, non-judgemental way and the awareness and insight that comes from that. Mindfulness is an important part of many ancient yogic and meditation practices and is also an integral part of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT).

If the anxiety, fear or phobia is in any way trauma-related, then EMDR therapy can be very effective in processing and helping with this. 

Dr. Sarah Davies is a Chartered Counselling Psychologist based in Marylebone Central London. She also offers Online Counselling via Skype or FaceTime. She is highly experienced in treating anxiety and helping people adopt a holistic approach to anxiety and panic disorders, trauma and stress. Her approach aims to address the origins and underlying factors associated with feelings of anxiety in order to support full recovery. 

To find out more about a holistic approach to treating anxiety or to arrange an appointment please do not hesitate to get in touch.