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  • Daniel Pedley

We Are The Self Preservation Anxiety

How anxiety can come from a place of caring, and how it can be recognised and used for one's benefits.


Anxiety is rife right now. Recognising it can help yourself and others.


The factual bit

Anxiety. It is a word almost everyone has heard, and most people will have experienced at some stage in their lives. It can keep you up, it can put you down and at times it can feel utterly paralysing. Rest assured though, if you have experienced it at any stage in life, you're far from alone. It is important to be able to distinguish between anxiety that we all experience, and generalised anxiety disorder which is actually diagnoseable if someone's anxiety is widespread and recurring regarding multiple facets of their life. Over 8 million people, or over 1 in 10 in the UK are experiencing an anxiety disorder at any given time (Mental Health UK, 2022). Now, if we suppose that generalised anxiety disorder is the stronger end of the spectrum, this means that there are far more people in the UK who have experienced anxiety or it's related disorders, and the chances are most people will have been anxious about something at some stage of their lives. As we continue to live in times that are tough for many people for a variety of reasons that aren't necessary to list, this will only increase as people are feeling the strain. Hence, an estimated 822,000 workers are feeling the weight of work related anxiety, stress or subsequent depression every year (HSE, 2022). Ultimately, it is everywhere.



The advice bit

Well, statistics are only good if they actually make a point. Anxiety truly is widespread and in many forms. The biggest issue that many people have is that often they feel anxious, but they can't describe or understand why. In order to combat anxiety, it is vital to be able to actually derive where it comes from, otherwise it becomes a downhill battle in the dark, wearing ear defenders, with your arms and legs tied, and you're duct-taped to a skateboard. As I've mentioned, it is often coming from the fact that you really care about something. On some occasions, this can be justified but on other occasions it really can't be, and so your anxiety which is often a bi-product of self-preservation needs to be understood. Assuming that you can figure out the origins of your anxiety, then it is possible to tackle it using CBT techniques, continued awareness, and hypnotherapy alongside other more basic strategies. Ultimately, since everyone is an individual I will not teach you to suck eggs because different techniques work better for some than others, but what I can do is give some recommendations. Also worth noting is that often, people are anxious because of how much they care about something, irrational or not and so if you are anxious about something, the first step for you to take is to step back and determine how important it is for you, because after all it is obviously something you seriously care about.



The 'Keep a thought diary' bit

In order to help you recogise what makes you feel anxious on a deeper level, it may be beneficial for you to keep a thought diary. That is, every time you feel anxious you should write down the time and date, some thoughts that you are having as well as what you are doing to be able to begin to determine if your anxiety is more generalised, or it has a specific trigger if you can notice patterns. A benefit of this is that it helps you to understand how you 'do the problem' which isn't like understanding what the problem is. Instead, it will help you to view your anxiety in depth and really have a full picture of what the trigger is, how it makes you feel, what it makes you think and overall how it impacts you which is far more conducive to tackling both the symptoms and causes of your anxiety at the same time, as opposed to some Freudian ideas about your mother. The longer that you do this for, the more data you have and so scientists will tell you that you will be able to notice more specific and significant potential triggers. As you continue to do this, you may even want to begin to write down some thoughts to counter or challenge your anxious ones. By introducing self-affirmations that challenge anxious thoughts, such as "That man could have just been having a crappy day and I happened to meet his eyes" as opposed to "He must have shouted at me because I did something wrong and it's my fault" you can begin to train yourself to challenge any negative or anxious thoughts that you have until it becomes a force of habit, and you become a thought slaying beast. Contrary to other therapists, I will not attempt to tell you to "Distract yourself" because as my previous blog post explained, that is entirely counterproductive and just gets you to think about it more.



Noting down some information when you feel anxious can be vital in helping your self-awareness.



The obvious bit - Addressing what makes you anxious

For some, if you can discover the origin of your anxiety and it is something that can be solved simply, here is entirely your sign to do so. Often, people become anxious because they have something that they feel they cannot talk to others about, so talk it out with someone you trust. On the other hand, some are anxious because they feel something has got out about them that they did not want people to know, in which case it can be worth entirely owning it. After all, if something has come out and people have changed their opinion on you because of it, they aren't worth having around anyway, in which case you were never the problem in the first place. Ultimately, if you can see that the anxiety causing event can be tackled head on, it can be really beneficial to do so to reduce or eliminate something that can really have been putting you off doing something for a while.



The bit where you can't tackle your anxiety causing event

"But Dan," I hear you say, "The thing that makes me anxious won't just go away". It is equally common that if you're anxious, it will be either something that cannot just be tackled head-on like a battering ram since it is ongoing, or it will be something more personal and internal. In which case, there are still alternatives. Finding ways to get more sleep, relax more via meditation or just by investing more time in a hobby or passion can begin to reduce symptoms of anxiety and can be useful to begin to chip away at it. Alternatively, seeing a hypnotherapist or other practitioner who can use techniques from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) could be entirely beneficial for you. By helping you to begin to change how you think and behave, CBT will help to challenge your anxiety by changing the way that you act and perceive your anxious triggers and anything surrounding them. Such restructuring can be like a sharp sword to the cycle of worry and distorted thinking that often will cause anxiety by zipping around the anxious mind like a squirrel on some seriously strong stimulants. Consequently, it is a fantastic idea to talk to a therapist about how they can help you to begin to change the way you think and become a less anxious person who has far more time and energy to devote to yourself, and what makes you happy.


The 'See me' bit

Overall, regardless of how anxious you are, what is causing your anxiety and what you have tried in the past, it is of course worth contacting me to see if I can use my hypnotherapy skills to try and help you. By employing a service that is as bespoke as I can make it, at Piper Therapy Services we can try to fit our sessions around you, from your location, availability and by really getting to know you in the consultation process, you know that every session we have will be specific to you, personalised to your needs, and so will be as efficacious as it can possibly be at helping you to tackle your anxiety in an open, supportive and when necessary entirely fun way. What are you waiting for? Contact us today.


References:

HSE: Information about health and safety at work. (2022, November 23). Retrieved February 6, 2023, from https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/stress.pdf


What is anxiety? (2022, January 07). Retrieved February 6, 2023, from https://mentalhealth-uk.org/help-and-information/conditions/anxiety-disorders/what-is-anxiety/







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