The thing about anxiety is that a person feels fear but has no idea why they are feeling panic; it's like your breathing increases and your heart rate goes up, you can go hot or cold and tremble, its like something is happening to you right now and you are helpless to prevent it. A debilitating feeling that can leave you confused and upset, over time this can lead to depression and isolation, changes in behaviours, an increase in alcohol or drug consumption or eating and nail biting. People can feel that there is something inherently wrong with them. They can't explain it away, like when someone has a phobia; these people can say its because of this or that and only when they come into an experience that is fearful for them, do they feel this anxiety.
But the nameless fear known as anxiety that changes a persons state is something you cannot make sense of. There is a part of you, however, that knows that there is nothing to fear, right now, but the other part of you doesn't know this. Now, the part of you that knows that everything is actually ok, generally gives the rest of you a hard time, a critical time. This inner voice can make you feel dreadful, even worse; making it impossible to think in a rational, calm manner. This is because panic shuts down the frontal cortex in the brain (the thinking, conscious part) and you just react instead.
My advice to anyone with anxiety is to first become kind to yourself, speak to yourself as you would a very good friend. For example, you may say, 'hey it's ok, don't worry, I'm here' (literally as if there are two of you). Next, don't make yourself do things for a while, there is always a choice and if you really don't feel like doing something then don't do it, ask yourself what you would like to do instead (it's important here that this is a short term approach, not a life long outlook). By doing this, you are actually integrating parts of your brain while you focus attention with your mind, diminishing the anxiety. Over time, as you do more things like going to the shops, speaking to someone new, helping someone out, make sure that you process these things and acknowledge your own strength, your own compassion, your own courage (again it's simply talking to yourself in a nice way).
Gradually, you can build your inner strength and gain understanding of your own self and begin to do more with your life.
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About Johanna Rogers
Jo Rogers is a hypnotherapist and psychotherapist based in Helston, Cornwall. A former teacher and nursery nurse she is skilled with the treatment of children's issues as well as adults behavioural, emotional and physical problems.