“I’m sorry I can’t make it, something’s come up…”

20th July 2020

Is this normal? What causes me to feel this way? Why can’t I turn this feeling off?

If you experience anxiety, these will more than likely be some of the questions you find yourself dwelling on, struggling to pinpoint answers to. You may also be struggling to effectively manage your reactions to events that crop up in day to day life.

Anxiety can be hard to define, manage and eliminate. Symptoms differ from person to person, but if you frequently struggle with any of the symptoms below, chances are you might be experiencing anxiety.

  • A sudden spike in your heart rate
  • Tension in your muscles/headaches
  • Getting clammy/sweating/trembling
  • Feelings of breathlessness/panic

Things that make some of us anxious are actually enjoyable to others – social gatherings, dinner with the in-laws or going to events like weddings and concerts. As a result, those who feel anxious often find themselves reflecting negatively when their symptoms arise; asking why they feel anxious about something that surely should be fun and pleasant, and asking why they can’t shake off the feeling and just enjoy the moment?

This is because anxiety-based reactions are largely due to our individual perceptions and interpretation of events. Whilst some people are social butterflies, others would rather stay at home and get lost in a book or watch a film, and tend to feel anxious in social situations. We are all wired differently and get our ‘kicks’ in our own unique ways.

If you find that anxiety is increasingly controlling your life, and if you can’t change the triggers – the school run, social gatherings, work, exams, public speaking etc. – then what can you do about how all this is making you feel?

YOU CAN control YOU.

That’s right – the way you view things, the time spent thinking/worrying about things, the way you respond and the way you react; you may feel helpless, nervous and lost at the moment, the victim of your symptoms, but it is possible to change what is happening. You just need to learn how and master the techniques when the triggers arise.

Like any new skill, it includes a process of learning – understanding, practising, making mistakes (and learning from them), recognising the successes, maintaining the knowledge and applying it.

We invest time in maintaining lots of areas of our lives without hesitation, like our appearance, our children’s education, the family car, the housework and the garden, so why should our mental health and well-being be any different? It takes time, practice and patience.

Firstly you need to understand more about anxiety; its causes and symptoms, what sustains it and why you are feeling this way. You can then challenge your thoughts and perceptions – are they healthy, realistic, rational, and can they be changed to better serve you? In time you can overcome your anxiety and minimalise or eliminate the knock-on effect anxiety is having on your life and your relationships.

By doing this, you’ll enrich your life and therefore allow yourself to be happier.

Jeniffer Rooks CBT therapist at Crushes Manor clinic

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