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Understanding Anxiety

What is anxiety? Why is it so hard to manage? When we’re anxious, we can have intense feelings of worry or distress that are not easily controlled. For people dealing with anxiety, these feelings often result in physical and mental discomfort, and can get in the way of living our everyday lives.

While it’s important to note that everyone experiences some degree of anxiety, worry and concern in their lives, when anxiety becomes an obstacle to your happiness, it’s time to seek some help.

In Australia and worldwide, anxiety has become the most common mental health challenge, with estimates that one third of women and one fifth of men will experience anxiety in their lives. Anxiety can present itself in many different conditions, including phobias, social anxiety, post-traumatic stress and generalised anxiety disorder. It can help to know that it’s probably more common than you may have realised, and there are treatment options that are open to you.

We can gain a better understanding of anxiety by considering it a chronic fear of the unknown, a fear of uncertainty and discomfort dealing with ambiguity. We develop our fears as part of our body’s processes to help keep us safe. For example, a fear of heights is a normal reaction designed to keep us alert and focussed when we’re operating at height. These fears are intended to help protect us in the moment, but when they affect us outside of the particular circumstances, they can easily become anxiety and stress.

Experiencing anxiety and stress on a long-term basis can begin to have serious consequences for your health. Ranging from nausea, trembling and shallow breathing through to longer term impacts on sleep, blood pressure and the immune system, ongoing anxiety can cause physical damage to the body in ways that are commonly underestimated, as we focus on the feelings of discomfort.

At Powerful Perspectives, we understand that anxiety can easily become a learned and automatic response to situations in our lives. In the same way that we learn to drive, where the movements quickly become unconscious and automatic, we can learn to respond to thoughts and situations with anxiety. As our response has become automatic, we no longer feel in control and we can struggle to identify an approach that can help. We can feel that nobody really understands what we’re going through, and advice from family, friends and medical professionals can be overwhelming.

Working with the unconscious mind, we can help you to unlearn troublesome patterns of thinking, feeling and reacting. We can guide you through the process of learning how to better assess risks and see the possibilities that can emerge from our uncertain future. If you are currently avoiding situations due to your anxiety, we can help you overcome these challenges and return to living a fuller, more satisfying life.

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