Anxiety and Stress

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is usually used to describe fear of a threat or of something going wrong in the future rather than in the present. Fear is a natural response to an immediate threat, whereas anxiety is usually related to something that is not as tangible.

Fear is a powerful emotion affecting the mind and body so that you react to a state of emergency such as being attacked, and therefore is useful. Anxiety on the other hand can be overwhelming and therefore affect your ability to function on a daily basis and can result in phobias and panic attacks.

What can I do?

Physical health is connected to psychological well being. Exercise, eat well and reduce alcohol or other drugs intake are the simple and immediate things you can do. In addition you can look at gradual exposure to the source of anxiety. In therapy, you can explore the underlying source of your anxiety and also learn grounding techniques that can help you stay calm in those situations.

What is Stress?

Stress is a word used often, especially in relation to work. The common reaction to stress, is to wish it would just "go away" or that other people who have it would "just deal with it". But what is it?

Stress, is an adverse reaction to increasing levels of pressure and is a healthy and natural aspect of life. The reality is that we all experience stress to a certain degree but some respond to it and recover from it more effectively than others.

Pressure is good?

People sometimes dismiss their feeling of stress as they "work better under pressure”. There is of course some truth in this, as some tend to get motivated when under a degree of pressure, but only to a point. At some point we reach our performing optimum, and then, if the pressure increases further, performance usually begins to diminish and we become less effective, especially if the pressure continues.

So what's the strategy?

The secret is to identify and maintain a healthy balance between working too hard and doing too little. If you accept that you will regularly experience some degree of stress, learn to recognise how and when it starts, treat it as a warning sign, and respond to it in a useful manner, you can improve your health, success and well being. By coming to therapy, you can learn to recognise the signs, your thought patterns and develop new behavioural strategies to deal with stress in an effective manner.