What is anxiety?

Anxiety is our body’s physical response to fear and worry. Everyone feels anxious sometimes, and a certain degree of anxiety is normal or even helpful in a lot of situations. Anxiety helps us react quickly to danger; it keeps us safe. Anxiety can also motivate us and help us to concentrate when we need to get things done. However, when anxiety is out of control and you cannot turn it off, you feel anxious all the time rather than as a response to danger, then it gets in the way of you enjoying your life. 

There are many types of anxiety. In Australia, one in four people suffers from anxiety at some point in their life. Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia.


What are the common symptoms of anxiety? 

There are three major types of symptoms, you might experience a mix of them when you suffer from anxiety: 

  • Physical: sweating, stomach aches, hot and cold flushes, light-headedness, racing heart, ‘pins and needles’, and fast breathing.
  • Psychological: feeling worried, scared, nervous, panicky or having obsessive thinking.
  • Behavioural: avoiding any situations that might cause you to feel anxious.


What causes Anxiety? 

A number of things contribute to the cause of anxiety: 

  • Personality: certain personality types are more likely to experience anxiety, such as people who are shy, have low self-esteem, are perfectionists, or who have controlling personalities. 
  • Family history: having the genetic predisposition in the family does increase the chance of someone developing anxiety, however, just because you have close relatives that suffer from anxiety it doesn’t guarantee you will also develop anxiety. 
  • Physical health: some physical illnesses can contribute to anxiety. These include thyroid, heart problems and diabetes. 
  • Substance abuse: people with anxiety sometimes use alcohol and drugs to help ease their suffering, but normally, alcohol and drugs are just going to make the condition worse. 
  • Trauma: events like natural disasters, grief, violence, and sexual abuse could all contribute to anxiety. 
  • Ongoing stress: persistent worries about work, finance, relationship, health, pregnancy or giving birth can all contribute to developing anxiety problems. 

Any of the above, or a combination of these causes can lead to an anxiety condition.


How can Balanced Mind Counselling help you?

We will begin by doing talking therapies. Through the sessions we are hoping to change any negative thinking patterns to reduce your unnecessary worries and keep your anxiety to a rational level. Through research, talking therapies have been proven to be the most effective treatment for anxiety in the long term. The two most effective therapies are: 

  • Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT): based on the theory that changing thoughts and behaviours can change feelings. CBT can help you work out how to talk to yourself rationally, challenging unhelpful worries and discovering the reality of your fears. Also, during the therapy, counsellors can teach you breathing and relaxation techniques to help with your anxiety condition. 
  • Behaviour therapy (exposure therapy): exposure is a big part of behaviour therapy, it involves recognising your fears and worries, and then training yourself to face them. Through multiple steps in behaviour therapy, you can gradually learn how to manage your fears and feel more comfortable to deal with them in life. 

During our therapy sessions we will agree on your goals that we can work towards together. Normally we would take a two-stage approach to improving your wellbeing. Firstly, we would identify the problem and how it is affecting you, so that we can work on skills and behaviours that will provide some immediate improvements to your quality of life. Secondly, we would examine the root causes of any issues to prevent them from affecting you in the longer term. 

At each and every stage, I will treat our discussions as strictly confidential. 

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