Anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues worldwide and it can be hard to admit to ourselves and others that we’re feeling anxious. It can be even harder to ask for support and this is vital in helping us to deal with how we’re feeling.
Statistics indicate that 6.6% of the population are currently suffering with this to the point where they have sought medical help. 20% to 25% of the population will suffer with anxiety during their lifetime and this only includes reported cases. In the UK, we’re very good at avoidance and hoping things will be ok, therefore the figures are very likely to be unrealistically low.
Counselling and psychological support is known to help treat anxiety and this article looks at specifically how this treatment can help. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) are an organisation that does extensive research to be able to make recommendations for the treatment of physical and mental health issues. They recommend Counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for the treatment of anxiety. Please click the following links for definitions – What is Counselling and What is CBT?
Counselling can help with anxiety in many many ways. Here are just some: –
- A space to talk and express ourselves. Talking is an effective coping mechanism as it allows us to express how we’re feeling and in doing we use parts of the mind associated with logical thought and rational thinking. This helps us to reduce our distressing emotions and increase our ability to see things more clearly. When we’re left alone with our thought, we can overthink which activates parts of the mind responsible for anxiety and worry. Talking is central in managing our anxiety.
- Help in understanding anxiety, where it comes from and how it can continue to affect us.
- Developing coping mechanisms – We all have our own coping mechanisms and ways of managing our emotions some of which maybe very healthy and others may make things worse. Utilising CBT techniques can mean you reinforce what works well and find new ways to effectively manage how you feel. This is often a process. Just because a text book or set of studies suggests something should help, it has to fit with the unique individual we are. Sometimes this is trial and error and at other times it takes persistence. Many of your current coping mechanisms will have been with you for years and years and it’s hard to change or to let go of the unhelpful ones.
- Reducing elements that maintain anxieties such as unhelpful thoughts and behaviours or managing negative elements of your life such as stress, relationships and work.
- Being aware of root causes – Our anxieties tend to come from or are built from somewhere within our past experiences. Gaining awareness of this can help us to let go of them
- Challenging limiting beliefs – Our life experiences can create maladaptive/unhealthy beliefs about ourselves or our expectations of others. CBT and counselling can help with this.
- Challenging unhelpful thoughts – Unhelpful thoughts often lead to unhealthy feelings. Altering how we think of ourselves and situations alters how we feel about them.
- Managing anxious feelings in specific situation such as social occasions or speaking in front of others
- Managing panic attacks – Finding ways that fit for You to manage these extreme experiences
- Building confidence and resilience – As we talk in counselling, we become more self-aware which helps us build our confidence. As we find ways to cope with our anxiety and face it, this also builds resilience.
The information above is a general guide and as the unique individual you are, one to one support helps because the interventions and methods of help will be tailored to Your individual needs. Feel free to contact me with any questions or for any enquiries about how counselling may help you with your anxieties.