Finding the reasons behind anxiety
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues in Britain, with 7.8% of people meeting the criteria for diagnosis. Anxiety can dramatically limit quality of life, as people face symptoms that make interacting with the world difficult. It can lead them to live isolated lives, avoiding triggers that bring on the symptoms they hate whilst struggling to maintain relationships. This can make life unbearable at points, as they may find themselves feeling trapped and left to battle something they don’t fully understand. But, you can understand what causes your anxiety by focusing on what triggers your attacks or symptoms. Once you know what that causes your anxiety, alleviating it can become much easier. Here are some tips that I have learnt and use in my therapy for anxiety, that can help to put you on the path to a better life and improved mental health.
Influence of Stress
If you’re facing anxiety, unaware of its origins, then you should start by examining your external factors. School or work stress affects 526,000 people a year and can have a detrimental effect on your personality and cause anxiety. The first step to understanding your anxiety attacks is to find the root of the problem. Try to discover what aspect of work is making you stressed or nervous and confront it. Speak to your boss about changing some of your workload or limiting the work that causes you stress.
Financial stress can also bring on anxiety and panic attacks. Worrying about how much or how little money you have to live off can trigger anxiety symptoms. Try and focus on finding a more stable job, that provides what you need, or look at ways that you can alter your lifestyle and live within your means. By having a clear plan in place, you can stay focused on improving your situation and in turn reducing your anxiety.
Influence of Abuse or Trauma
People can find themselves facing anxiety when they have been involved in a traumatic incident in their past. Abuse can have a negative effect on the mental health of survivors and can cause anxiety. Anxiety attacks can be caused by a familiar scent, being alone, groups of people or even an environment that brings back bad memories. When your anxiety stems from a certain event it can be harder to go about your daily life. For example, if you were in a car crash driving may cause you to panic, or if you were attacked walking alone could be the trigger. This can cause survivors to feel even more excluded and isolated as their nervousness and fear prevents them from interacting with the world. As survivors of abuse may already be struggling to deal with their experience, the added anxiety can make life very hard and painful.
Family Death and Relationships
Anxiety can present itself after the death of a loved one. When someone close to you dies, you will probably feel a mixture of emotions. It’s very common to feel stressed and upset by the memories, and hurt and confused by the loss that you have experienced. Even the mention of their name can be enough to cause deep upset. This is all part of the normal grieving process but if you find that you are not able to move on from their death you need to be careful as this can lead to depression and anxiety. Therapy for anxiety and depression can help you to come to terms with their death and understand why you can’t move on. This can help you to let go of the negativity and move forward with your life.
Also, strained relationships with your family can cause anxiety. Finding someone impartial to talk to about the issues you are facing that understands your symptoms, can help you to alleviate them for good. You need to learn why there are problems in your relationship in order to eliminate them and reduce your anxiety.
Symptoms of Medical Disorders
As well as external factors, medical disorders can bring on the symptoms of anxiety. Anxiety is sometimes a side effect of panic disorder, causing palpitations, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Panic attacks are symptoms of anxiety, as it is a reaction some people have to stressful situations. Phobic disorders and stress disorders can also emphasise the symptoms of anxiety. If a person comes into contact with something they have a phobia about, they can often feel anxious and if their fear is something they see on a regular basis it can make life unbearable.
Whereas, a person with a stress disorder may gain anxiety as a side effect. Stress over certain situations or people may make daily life difficult, causing symptoms of anxiety. But, visiting a doctor and learning about possible medical conditions behind your anxiety can make facing it easier. Therapy for anxiety can also help to decrease the symptoms of panic, phobic and stress disorders.
Hopefully finding the root of your anxiety will be more clear now. Looking into the external factors or personal issues that may have caused your stress can make understanding your behaviour easier. When you know clearly what it is you need to face, the following methods can make dealing with your anxiety easier. Different methods will work for different people. Make sure that you take the time to focus on your specific issue and find the right way to tackle it to ensure positive results. These are just a few ways to move forward.
Confront the Issue
The best way to battle anxiety symptoms before or during therapy for anxiety is to confront the cause of them. Once you understand your anxiety, defeating it can become much easier. Mentally prepare yourself and when you feel ready to face the specific situations that cause the symptoms, whether it is large crowds, a past event or certain people. Hiding from these will only cause your anxiety to grow and get worse with time. But, by gradually taking steps towards tackling the anxiety you prevent it becoming a lasting issue that decreases your quality of life.
Exercise and Express
Exercise can be a great way to expel your anxiety symptoms, both short term and long term. As well as benefiting your physical health, your mental health can be boosted greatly. Some studies have shown that regular exercise can work as well as medication for people with anxiety. It helps to reduce symptoms like depression and sleep apnea and can have long-lasting effects. One exercise session can help suppress symptoms for hours, so a regular schedule can help to reduce them over time. Verbal expression is another way to battle your anxiety. People who suffer anxiety from large crowds or from speaking in public can battle this head on. You can let your creative side out through spoken poetry, drama performances or even joining a debate team in school. This will help you to overcome any anxiety symptoms and improve your social skills.
Focus on Relaxation
You cannot fight anxiety successfully without letting go of the negative thoughts that surround it. Relaxation exercises can help you to clear your mind of worries. But, relaxation may be unnatural to someone with anxiety and so you will need to work your way through this. Practice exercises such as meditation for a small time every day. This will help you to expel thoughts of your anxiety over time. Don’t expect results quickly, it’s a process that takes time to become second nature and to begin to work.
Try learning some breathing exercises for when you feel your anxiety symptoms coming on. For example, if you are in public or about to make a speech and you can feel an anxiety attack coming on try focusing on regulating your breathing. Most people don’t know this, but you can actually alter the way you breathe. People with anxiety tend to take faster breaths and take in more oxygen than they need. This is called ‘hyperventilation’ which can be a sign of an anxiety attack. But, you can retrain your body to breathe in a healthier way and help prevent the symptoms of anxiety. Take time each day to force yourself to breathe slowly. It will be hard but taking full breaths and breathing out slowly can make this become a habit for your body.
Therapy for Anxiety
If you struggle to manage your anxiety, or can’t recognise its source, therapy for anxiety can be very helpful. In therapy, you will get personal help and advice, suited to the specific symptoms and triggers you are facing. As well as being private, therapists provide no judgement, making it easier for you both to work out the source of your anxiety. As well as starting you on the road to recovery, therapy provides the support and assistance you need throughout your journey.
Therapy for anxiety may be what you need to gain the confidence to face your fears and tackle your symptoms. By being honest and open with your therapist, they can provide the advice that no one else can. Even if speaking to strangers causes your anxiety, contacting a therapist is a great first step. Making a decision like this can change your life.