Anxiety is a word we use to describe feelings of unease, worry and fear. It incorporates both the emotions and the physical sensations we might experience when we are worried or nervous about something. Although we usually find it unpleasant, anxiety is related to the ‘fight or flight’ response – our normal biological reaction to feeling threatened.
We all know what it’s like to feel anxious from time to time. It’s common to feel tense, nervous and perhaps fearful at the thought of a stressful event or decision you’re facing – especially if it could have a big impact on your life. For a short time you might even find it hard to sleep, eat or concentrate. Then usually, after a short while or when the situation has passed, the feelings of worry stop.
Because anxiety is a normal human experience, it’s sometimes hard to know when it’s becoming a problem for you – but if your feelings of anxiety are very strong, or last for a long time, it can be overwhelming.
One of the best ways in which you can start to address Stress and/or Anxiety is through ‘Talking Treatments’ (also known as counselling or therapy). These Talking Treatments are a process in which you work with a trained therapist to understand the causes of your stress/anxiety, and to find strategies to manage it.
There are lots of different types of talking treatments available, but the most commonly prescribed talking treatment for anxiety is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), because there is reliable evidence that it can be effective.
There’s no medical definition of stress, and health care professionals often disagree over whether stress is the cause of problems or the result of them. This can make it difficult for you to work out what causes your feelings of stress, or how to deal with them.
Being under pressure is a normal part of life. It can be a useful drive that helps you take action, feel more energised and get results. But if you often become overwhelmed by stress, these feelings could start to be a problem for you.
Stress isn’t a psychiatric diagnosis, but it’s closely linked to your mental health in two important ways:
- Stress can cause mental health problems,and make existing problems worse. For example, if you often struggle to manage feelings of stress, you might develop a mental health problem like anxiety or depression.
- Mental health problems can cause stress. You might find coping with the day-to-day symptoms of your mental health problem, as well as potentially needing to manage medication, heath care appointments or treatments, can become extra sources of stress.
This can start to feel like a vicious circle, and it might be hard to see where stress ends and your mental health problem begins.
Talking with a trained professional can help you learn to deal with your stress/anxiety and become more aware of your own thoughts and feelings, and here at Dads Unlimited we know only too well how important this is. Which is why, should you need it, we can refer you to our very own Dads Unlimited Counsellor.
*Information courtesy of Mind