Coping with Anxiety

There are still many uncertainties as we enter 2021. I am not surprised if you are feeling anxious. Let's take action.

Symptoms of Mind and Body

If you’re experiencing anxiety you may be plagued with constant feelings of dread, be hyper-vigilant to danger and always anticipating the worst, have difficulty in concentrating, or be feeling tense and jumpy.

These upsetting emotions of feeling scared or fearful can be accompanied by uncomfortable physical sensations, such as a pounding heart, sweating, headaches, upset stomach, dizziness, shallow breathing, shakiness and insomnia.

All these feelings of anxiety are designed to prompt us into taking action – and it’s important to realise this is a normal human response. Because anxiety is your body’s hard-wired survival mechanism that seeks to protect you from a perceived threat.

Under Pressure

I’m sure you’ll agree that 2020 has been more than notable for events capable of triggering feelings of anxiety.

We’ve been exposed to a worldwide pandemic, social isolation, financial hardship, job losses, bushfires and droughts. And throughout it all, we’ve been bombarded by constant messages of doom and gloom in the media.

When threats are prolonged - as has been the case for most of us this year - we become fatigued and our usual abilities to cope can be forgotten as we continue to function as best we can in “survival mode.”

And if our usual social connections and daily routines have been disrupted, it’s easy to forget the things that bring joy and help us to relax.

As a result, we can easily find ourselves working hard to avoid experiences that cause us pain and distress – this is normal human behaviour.

However, although avoidance may bring short term relief, it can also tend to make the problem worse in the long run.

Simple Life Changes

But the good news is that often just introducing small changes into your life can make a huge difference to the impact of anxiety.

These can be simple things - like taking a daily walk, spending time outdoors, attending a gym class, practicing muscle relaxation, managing stress, and cutting down on stimulants such as alcohol and caffeine.

Counselling can also be helpful in identifying troublesome thoughts that may be getting in the way, and in teaching useful strategies and tools that can help.

In my counselling, among other things, I teach people with anxiety how to:

  • Quieten the negative inner voice

  • Calm the nervous system

  • Soothe the tension in the body

  • Practice mindfulness

  • Pay more attention to the things that matter

  • Practice self-compassion

Of course, if you suffer from anxiety it’s also important to talk to your doctor about your symptoms.

Help is here

But sometimes it can be more helpful to speak to someone who is empathic, non-judgmental and not directly involved in your life.

Speak with Linda

If you're concerned that you will be overwhelmed by anxiety, have a chat or make an appointment with Linda Mitten. Linda offers In-Person Individual Adult Counselling in Port Macquarie and Tele-Counselling via Zoom.