What is anxiety?
Anxiety takes many forms. Whilst some are obvious, others are kept under the radar. We will all have feelings of anxiety at some time in our lives, but for many of us it’s inconsequential and short-lived. When anxiety escalates, slowly or quickly, it can become severe and take over your life, leading to negative thinking, lack of self-worth or the inability to cope.
Anxiety can take many forms such as generalised anxiety, social anxiety, phobias, OCD, or IBS and each individual can have a very different experience. Anxiety can display through a wide variety of different physical symptoms, some of the most common symptoms my clients have come for help with are:
- Always thinking the worst
- Overwhelming sense of dread or fear
- Racing heart
- Tight chest
- Panic attacks
- Withdrawal and isolation
- Feeling sick
- Upset tummy’s or tummy cramps
- Uncontrollable need to go to the toilet without the real need to have a wee
- Hot and cold sweats
- Ringing in ears
- Skin picking
- Hair pulling
- Nail biting
- Rechecking things
- Excessive hand washing
Is anxiety common?
Yes, you are not alone. In relation to those I have helped at The Life of Riley around 80% of my clients seek help because they are suffering with anxiety. This ranges from anxiety in children as young as 6 years old right the way through teenagers with anxiety and adults both male and female. Unfortunately, the number of parents bringing their children and teenagers for help to control and overcome anxiety is on the increase at The Life of Riley, the positive that can be taken from this is that they are being equip with the necessary skills to control their mental strength ready for adult life.
Statistics gathered across Great Britain suggest, at the time of the study 1 in 6 adults had experienced some form anxiety or depression in the previous week. It is also concerning that findings suggest more than 1 in 10 people are likely to have a ‘disabling anxiety disorder’ at some stage in their life. An estimated 13% of the adult population will develop a specific form of anxiety known as a phobia and around 2.5% are likely to experience OCD at some point in their life. (1) Although everyone is susceptible to anxiety it is proposed that women are twice as likely to be diagnosed. (2)
Is anxiety different in children?
Common symptoms of anxiety in children include:
- Waking up during the night, often with bad dreams
- Tummy aches or feeling sick
- Quick to get angry or irritable and often uncontrollable outbursts
- Being very emotional, crying often
- Difficulty concentrating
- Eating habits affected, not eating properly
- Using the toiler often
- Being clingy often to parents or caregivers
What causes anxiety?
During my initial consultation with clients I am able to give a detailed yet easy to understand explanation about the brain which helps us to understand why we suffer in the way that we do, but most importantly what we can do about it. But to give a quick explanation everything we experience and every thought we have on a daily basis has to be processed by the brain and this is done when we are daydreaming or while we are asleep. Until the brain gets chance to process this information it is stored, and we say it is stored in our stress bucket.
When our stress bucket becomes a little too full, we have too many stress chemicals flowing within our bodies and this activates the emotional, primitive part of the brain. This part of the brain is for survival purposes and operates using anxiety depression or anger, or a combination of all three! For survival purposes this is great, if we were a warthog in the wild our emotional brain would give us anxiety to make us hyper sensitive to our environment in case a lion is prowling around wanting us for dinner. If we were a wart hog and woke up one morning to a storm, we would hibernate and disengage from our environment until the weather had passed and it was safe to come back out. Finally, if we were in the wild faced with a lion that primitive survival brain would give us anger and adrenaline so that we could run faster and hopefully get to safety before the lion ate us for dinner.
So, this primitive mind is great for survival but unfortunately the primitive mind hasn’t adapted to keep up with human intelligence and the modern way we live. Therefore, because we are not an animal that spends many hours a day daydreaming and often as humans our sleep is a last priority the brain can begin to struggle with the amount of information and thoughts it needs to process and get control of. This overload of information and internal chemical imbalance can result in the primitive mind being on high alert most of the time- what recognize as anxiety. The primitive mind is on high alert ready to face that big scary lion, all the time! So, we find ourselves overthinking, worrying, catastrophizing, panicking and developing physical symptoms such as the ones listed above as a way of the brain saying, “I cannot cope”, often these physical symptoms prompt us humans to seek help and support because we have a second area of the brain our positive, intellectual mind that knows we can live a happier and more peaceful life.
Why is anxiety worse in the mornings?
Why is anxiety worse at night?
These are two very common questions by my clients. For some, anxiety is worse first thing in the morning whereas for others when they get into bed at night this is the most difficult time. Waking up and filled with dread for the day, finding it difficult to get up and get going for the day, feeling more exhausted than when you went to bed the night before. Or, settling down in an evening and PING the brain all of a sudden works at 100mph with racing thoughts, over thinking, worrying, lots of “what if” questions, unable to get to sleep yet you are exhausted. These are all very common concerns that my clients come for help with.
Everyone’s brain responds differently to the buildup of anxiety and the imbalance of internal chemicals. However, if in our daily lives we are experiencing anxiety the brain will sometimes try and protect us from this, the primitive mind will want us to overthink the negative possibilities of the day and encourage us to stay in bed and hibernate away from the world as a coping mechanism to avoid any more stress going in that stress bucket. On the other hand, when we get into bed at night this can often be the first time of the day someone has stopped and rested. This is therefore the first real opportunity the brain has had to process and work through all of the things we have experienced and thought throughout that day. We want to switch off and sleep, but our poor brain is working at 100 mph to catch up and keep up with our busy lives, resulting in racing thoughts and difficulty getting to sleep.
Is anxiety treatable?
Yes, there are lots of different therapy’s and medications to help with anxiety. Here at The Life of Riley we use modern psychotherapy and hypnotherapy. I guide you to focus on what and where you want to be. We don’t talk about problems or past experiences, we find solutions that create positivity and self-confidence.
By making small changes to the way we live our lives we are able to change how to brain works and rewire it to become more positive and rational. Every client receives a sleep audio that helps maximise the brains ability to empty that stress bucket and often quickly improve sleeping habits. Clients are also encouraged to make small adjustments such as focusing on “What’s been good” and recognising when the primitive mind is on high alert trying to focus and overthink the negatives. Through the use of hypnosis and trance work in a positive and relaxed environment the subconscious mind becomes more receptive to positive changes and making the necessary steps towards reducing anxiety and any accompanying symptoms. Through understanding about how our brain functions clients are able to take back control and maximise their own production of ‘feel good’ chemicals that enable us to feel happy, energised, motivated and most importantly in control of our thoughts and feelings. This is an enjoyable and relaxing experience leaving clients feeling positive and uplifted form day one.
Help for anxiety to reduce and eliminate symptoms is available, please get in contact for a no obligation telephone call to find out more about how we can help you, 01704 601010, firstname.lastname@example.org