The dictionary definition is ‘a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome’. People call anxiety all sorts of things: feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, agitated, worried, upset, overwrought.
It doesn’t really matter what we call it, what we do know is that those anxious feelings we can suffer from really don’t care who you are and what you do. The feelings can ruin our day, interfere with everyday life, and trip us up when we least expect it.
Sometimes we can actually wake up in the morning with a sinking feeling – like a weight on our chest, feeling as if we have to be on guard or watch out for something that might go wrong. Those feelings at the beginning of the day can ruin it before we have even started, they are often extremely exhausting too.
Sometimes the feelings can happen out of the blue, completely side lining us, we might receive a message which is a bit odd from a friend, or not receive a reply to a message we sent, someone might make a comment and work or at school, maybe someone gives you a strange look, then it hits you like a tonne of bricks – something is not quite right and you start to imagine all of the things which could go wrong, all the things people may be saying about you, all of the things we have done in the past that have gone wrong, or all of the things which might go wrong in the future. Sometimes the feelings just creep up on us over time.
In this anxious state our brains are on high alert producing lots of brain altering chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol, looking out for potential threats and hazards which might kill us. We have done this for millennia – it is what has ensured our survival. Unfortunately, we have adapted this primitive system to all modern-day symptoms of anxiety, anger, and depression.
The good news is that there are many things we can do to alleviate our negative patterns of behaviour – mainly through the process of neuroplasticity – our brains are truly incredible and reboot every night sorting through information from the day. When we get a good night’s sleep that really helps the process – that’s why we feel we can conquer the world after a great night and we wake up feeling refreshed and energised.
The great news about neuroplasticity is that it happens from the day we are born until the day we die. Not so long ago scientists thought brain didn’t change after childhood that it was fixed and hard wired. But this is not true the brain does change throughout our lives, this is called neuroplasticity.
If you think of your brain as a dynamic power grid lighting up each time you see, think, feel or do something. Some of these roads are well trodden (our habits) our established ways of thinking, feeling or doing. Everytime we think in a particular way feel a specific emotion or act in a particular way we strengthen this road.
If you have ever thought about something differently or taken up a new habit, it could be a sport or art project, cooking, thinking about something differently, being outside in nature you are helping that process – we start carving out a new road – if we keep doing it on a regular basis the old pathway weakens – this process of rewiring your brain and creating new connections is neuro plasticity in action. If you have ever changed a bad habit or thought about something differently – this is neuroplasticity in action.
With psychotherapy and solution focused hypnotherapy we make significant changes to these well-trodden pathways, which can help decrease the anxiety, increase self esteem and confidence to be able to take a solution focused approach to stressful times in our lives. Clients are often surprised how quickly their patterns can shift and they can get back in control of their lives, producing great chemicals which make them feel energised, motivated and happier. For more information on how I can help please email me email@example.com
Written feature on Anxiety for Nailsworth News, November 2022.
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