What is Anxiety? Anxiety Counselling

Anxiety is a normal response of body to alert and prepare one for a stressful situation, potential threat or actual danger. It is often experienced when facing unfamiliar or challenging events such as starting a new job, making an important decision or taking an interview.

However, for some, the worry and distress involved in such situations can be intense, disproportionate or difficult to control.

Following are some markers that might help one identify if one’s distress is unusual and seek help:

When do I need help?

One may decide to seek help for anxiety when:

  • Worrying or apprehension becomes increasingly difficult to control.
  • Anxiety and physical symptoms significantly affect carrying out simple or necessary day to day tasks, activities or responsibilities.
  • Apprehension and intrusive worrisome thoughts are blown out of proportion in response to situations not involving actual danger.

Common red flags include:

  • Excessive apprehension about everyday activities and situations.
  • Worrying that is difficult to control.
  • Distress that seemingly has no cause or reason.
  • Restlessness and rumination over unrealistic or impossible scenarios of something awful happening.
  • Getting annoyed or irritated easily.
  • Constantly anticipating worst possible outcomes of any situation and worrying about it.
  • Managing everyday situations with uncertainty or ambiguity.
  • Being easily fatigued.

One may also notice physical changes such as increased heartbeat, rapid breathing (hyperventilation), sweating, trembling, gastrointestinal problems, muscle tension, headache or discomfort in chest.

What kind of help do I seek?

Cognitive Behavior Therapies (CBT) are helpful for identifying trigger spots and learning healthy coping mechanisms along with relaxation techniques. Dialectal Behavior therapy, a form of CBT, is also found to be effective for anxiety. Further for various particular types of anxiety (eg obsessive compulsive tendencies), different types of psychotherapies have proven effective.

Your Therapist may find that other therapies may be more suitable for your specific circumstances.

In some cases, medication may be necessary to set off the parasympathetic nervous system that is responsible for calming the body down to reduce physical symptoms of anxiety.

How counseling will help in this situation?

  • Counselling provides a supportive and non-judgmental environment to express all your worries and doubts, however much irrational or unrealistic they may appear.
  • It helps uncover underlying causes or mechanisms of these anxieties.
  • It helps us work through issues by introduction to healthy coping mechanisms.
  • It provides management techniques such as tapping and breathing exercises to spontaneously deal with overwhelming anxieties or attack in any moment.
  • Therapeutic approaches such as CBT help deal with anxiety by changing thinking patterns by directing a person’s thought processes from worst case scenario to feasible options. For example, a student who is anxious about failing in examinations is first made to believe in his or her competence by evidence including previous good scores. Secondly, he or she is offered with less frightening but more likely consequences of failing in examinations such as a re-sit, etc rather than worst case outcomes like a doomed career and life.
  • Therapeutic approaches such as DBT also help to equip individuals with emotional regulation skills to deal with anxieties. These skills help individual accept their overwhelmed state as normal and non-threatening state.