Anxiety is a broad term that derives from a Latin word meaning 'worried' or 'distressed'. Its that general feeling of unease which like most things has a spectrum. Everyone will have experienced normal anxieties from going to a job interview to having a concern about an ailment for example. Unfortunately many people experience anxiety to a point where it interferes with everyday life. For these people, stress, panic and worry can cause physical symptoms such as agitation, sweating, dizziness, palpatation's, insomnia and shortness of breath. Conditions under the anxiety disorder umbrella include: generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) panic disorder, health anxieties, obsessive compulsive disorders, phobias and PTSD.
The NHS.UK website estimate that general anxiety disorder affects up to 5% of the UK population with slightly more woman than men and more common in the age group between 35 to 59.
Considering that it is so prevalent there must be a reason for its existence right? Well yes, if we go back as far as our cave person days, stress and anxiety would have kept us safe from attacks by hungry predators. The relaxed and laid back cave person may not have survived very long! Fight, flight or freeze responses would have kicked in and remained in play until the danger had passed. In a modern day context we generally don't have wild animals chasing us but we may have an irate boss, a confrontation with a colleague or pressing deadlines to meet. Our bodies can't tell the difference and remain on high alert or stuck in survival mode whilst our modern society, packed with endless technology and social media overstimulates us! For some people its hard to identify the origins of the anxiety, its just a constant feeling of being on edge which prevents them from enjoying life and can be quite frightening if associated with physical symptoms.
Talking to your GP frankly is probably the first option. They will discuss access to services in your area, particularly the IAPT service (improving access to psychological therapies) which is a free service, although waiting lists may differ up and down the UK. Your GP may discuss medication with you, perhaps on a short term basis and likely to be an adjunct to a talking therapy. If your anxiety is on the milder end of the spectrum you could opt for meditation, mindfulness, CBT, talking to a close friend or even give hypnosis a try.
Everyone has a different experience of anxiety, different symptoms, duration and triggers. Some people don't seem to have a tangible reason for their anxiety yet others can pin point where and how it started. Hypnosis is a gentle and relaxed way to calm anxiety symptoms. For example if your anxiety is causing you insomnia, hypnosis can help or if your anxiety causes you physical strain or tension and if your mood is generally low, hypnosis can be beneficial.
CBT is another talking therapy which may be useful. My own brand of hypnosis takes a mix of different approaches including basic CBT techniques, NLP and guided imagery which I dip in and out of to suit individual clients needs.
I will be uploading a free audio shortly to help with general anxiety symptoms. Why not try it out?