What is Anxiety? How Can Counselling Help?

Nisha Ravishankar

28 Nov 2020
What is Anxiety

Anxiety is having trouble taking a breath.You experience nightmares. You wake up in the middle of the night in cold sweat with palpitations and racy heart beats.You feel like crying or not waking up from the bed. You feel pain in the stomach, nauseous or dizzy. You react to your loved one and wonder from where did the rage come from?

You go into the spiral of thoughts and self doubt those thoughts and chant along  a series of What Ifs? You either self damn yourself or you find a comfort under the I don’t know tag. It is like being stuck in the past and living in resentment for action or inaction.

This is just a sneak preview of a person going through high anxiety. Yes, these are the mind works of a person constantly in mental turmoil and physical drain. This mental condition is very much real in today’s circumstances, where external factors are so uncertain and demanding. And, yes anybody can have anxiety.
With the current health scare due to the pandemic, people are not able to continue meeting their friends, family and relations. With social distancing people are thinking twice to step outside. That is when the anxiety sets in. You are locked in your space shared by your family and each of your boundaries get blurred.

What is anxiety?

As quoted by famous psychologist  Thomas Szasz:

Anxiety is the unwillingness to play even when you know the odds are for you. Courage is the willingness to play even when you know the odds are against you.

Since I am a counsellor, I will be looking at anxiety through the lens of the learnings from psychologist Albert Elis whose technique called Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is very popular today. REBT is an active-directive form of psychotherapy in that therapists are active in directing their clients to identify the philosophical source of their psycho-logical problems and in showing them they can challenge and change their irrational belief and strive for self acceptance in a realistic and unconditional way.

People are disturbed themselves because of the circumstances. The way the people see the circumstance aggravates the symptoms of anxiety. It can be about their health scare, job, relationships, family pressures or raising children. The demands put by the external world, people and organisation tend to compel us to excel or fulfill the expectations. The anxiety sets in when there is discord between your capacity and worldly ideals. The extent the individual is affected ranges from generalized anxiety to chronic panic disorders.

You can understand it better from this example.

It was sunny outside and suddenly you see gray clouds and It is windy.
Have a look at these thoughts
“It is going to rain heavily. The roads are going to get muddy again”
“I should have hung the clothes earlier. Now it is never get dry”
“Damn I cannot go out. I will not want to get wet”
“I am sure to catch a cold.I must  stay indoors”
All because you saw the clouds, you felt anxious and uncertain about the outcome.
Do you have control on the weather?  No...Yet there can be a series of thoughts

You can become aware of the self-defeating thoughts…

The first thought “ It is going to rain heavily. The roads are going to get muddy again” does not seem problematic.
The last thought ““I am sure to catch a cold.I must  stay indoors” can be explored. There can be a perceived phobia.
What happens inside because of this….You feel your heart beating fast, pupils dilated and taking quick breaths. It is like a mini panic attack.
You should also be aware of the self talk. Is it negative or positive?  How much do you beat yourself down?
I could have done this. I did not do that. How stupid I could be?

Then the overthinking happens where you start thinking about the thoughts. It is a matter of time you conclude that the day is awful and you feel miserable.

The self defeating conditions, negative self talk, spiral of thoughts over thoughts and catastrophizing the circumstances are signs that you are suffering from high bouts of anxiety. Research also says that it is linked to depression.

Let's have a look at the physiological symptoms

* Edginess or restlessness
* Tiring easily; more fatigued than usual
* Impaired concentration or feeling as though the mind goes blank
* Irritability (which may or may not be observable to others)
* Increased muscle aches or soreness
* Difficulty sleeping (due to trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, restlessness at night, or unsatisfying sleep)

These are the physiological symptoms when you have a panic attack.

* Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
* Sweating
* Trembling or shaking
* Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
* A feeling of choking
* Chest pain or discomfort
* Nausea or abdominal distress
* Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
* Feelings of unreality (derealization) or being detached from oneself (depersonalization)
* Fear of losing control or going crazy
* Fear of dying
* Numbness or tingling sensations (paresthesias)

How can counselling help?

The extreme conditions may require medication. Counselling has therapeutic benefits. Along with techniques like CBT and REBT the therapist will assist you to understand your core beliefs, values and reframe your thoughts to accept the conditions in a tolerable way. Over time with rational thinking and unconditional self acceptance, you will be equipped with the right tools for self care.They will suggest mindfulness techniques to bring down the physiological symptoms.

In case you are experiencing the above symptoms on a regular basis, or you feel any one from your family is suffering from high anxiety, feel free to contact us.

MY FIT BRAIN with the team of counselors, is providing online counseling services, making it easier for their client, to seek a solution to the problem they are facing in their life.

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    Nisha Ravishankar


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