Fed up with anxiety ruling your life? Anxiety Therapy teaches you how to rest your mind and handle fear more effectively
Everyone feels scared and anxious. But when you feel it all the time, and you can’t sleep, you know that it’s a problem that needs addressing. Anxiety Therapy is a powerful way to tackle these difficulties and stop them from taking over your life forever.
Why do I feel worried nearly all the time?
It’s natural to feel worried because there is a lot in life that you cannot control. Even when you can control some things a little, you can’t control them completely. For example:
• Even though you eat healthily and exercise, it doesn’t guarantee you won’t get unwell.
• You can do everything in your power to protect the people you care about, but something bad might still happen to them.
• You can take every precaution to ensure you don’t feel panicky, but you might still feel overwhelmed.
The difficult truth is that none of us is especially effective in controlling what we think or feel, or what happens in the world. And, yet it doesn’t stop us trying!
Our team of Counsellors, Psychotherapists and Psychologists in Birmingham are here to help you work through your anxieties so that you can rest your mind and starting focusing on the life you want to live.
Are you ready to speak to a therapist or book in for a consultation?
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural human experience. You can define it as feeling on edge, because you’re faced with something uncomfortable or threatening. Not only that, you don’t feel very confident about handling the situation very well.
Anxiety is a natural human experience. Many anxious people say that that they feel on edge, restless or agitated. It’s because you’re thinking about something uncomfortable or threatening and you don’t feel very confident that you’ll handle the situation very well.
When THREATS LOOK BIG, and your ability to deal with it looks small, naturally anxiety starts to simmer. Unfortunately, once anxiety shows up, it acts like a magnet. You don’t just worry about one thing, every other possible thing that could go wrong floods into your mind.
What happens in your mind when you feel anxious?
When you were little, you often got told off my grown-ups to concentrate and pay attention. However, what they didn’t realise is that you were paying attention, just to something else that seemed more interesting.
An anxious mind finds it challenging to rest its attention on one thing. Instead, it bounces all over the place. It can make problem-solving tricky, and your worries can run away with themselves. Before you know it, you feel like your mind won’t stop racing and that you’re going ‘mad’.
What happens in your body when you feel anxious?
When your feelings change, the sensations in your body change too. Anxiety triggers a survival response commonly known as fight, flight and freeze. This fear response helps you to escape, defend yourself or give-in. These reactions aren’t thought-out; they’re fast and furious. They come from an old part of your brain called your limbic system. All animals have this feature to their system. We need it to stay alive, which is why trying to get rid of anxiety is a futile endeavour.
Although you can’t get rid of anxiety, you can significantly reduce the negative effects it has on your life. Chronic or long-term anxiety sufferers often report a lot of uncomfortable physical sensations including muscle tension, tight chest, breathlessness, nausea, dizziness, dry mouth, blurred vision, bloating, irritable bowel, racing heart, sweating, tingling, tight throat, loss of appetite, urges to go to toilet or shaking hands or legs.
It isn’t true for everyone, so don’t dismiss your anxiety if you don’t get these physical sensations. Many people describe their anxiety as more thought-based than physical. We, humans, are different from each other, and the most important thing is to know that however, your anxiety presents itself, there are some powerful ways we can help you.
Many people come to see us for help because they desperately want to be rid of their anxiety. They want to stop feeling scared, and they want to get rid of the horrible intrusive thoughts and worries that fill-up their brains.
If you’re looking to change the way anxiety rules your life, then the therapy we offer can help you in ways you haven’t yet imagined.
How we can help
Our Birmingham-based CBT and Counselling Services teach you simple and effective ways to stop anxiety ruling your life. You may have tried relaxation techniques before, which have had mixed success. What we offer includes simple exercises to help reduce your anxiety, but that is just the start. Our therapists, counsellors and psychologists will teach you how to take power out of the anxiety and your intrusive thoughts so that you focus on what matters.
We use a combination of evidence-based psychological approaches including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness, Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT), and Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR) for past traumas.
What happens when you see a Therapist?
When you work with a therapist, counsellor or psychologist, you’ll learn a variety of exercises that help you develop important psychological skills. In a session you can expect to learn:
- Attention exercises to help you slow-down your mind and increase your focus and concentration.
- Different creative methods for dealing with thoughts more effectively.
- About emotions, what they’re for, what they mean and how to use them as sign-posts to what you might need.
- How to develop an encouraging mind to replace any unhelpful self-criticism that makes you feel worse.
We aim is to help you get to the root of the problem quickly. We focus less on why this has happened to you and more on targeting what is going to help you break free of the anxiety.
What different types of anxiety are there?
One can categorise anxiety into specific problem types such as:
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Social Phobia
- Generalised Anxiety /Excessive Worry
- Travel phobia/Agoraphobia
There are several other types of anxiety, but these tend to be the most common and the focus of therapy is very similar.
What is OCD?
OCD is a serious anxiety problem that can take over your life. Its stands for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. An obsession is a thought that you don’t like having, which is why it’s often called an intrusive thought.
Typical intrusive thoughts include themes of cleanliness or contamination, violent imagery, sexualised imagery, criminal or harmful thinking, and religious imagery. Many OCD sufferers are frightened that they will lose control or that if they don’t control their thoughts, then something terrible will happen. These intrusive thoughts take on an obsessive-like quality, which is where the name originates.
A compulsion is a response to the obsessive thoughts. It can be an overt behaviour that other people can observe or something private that you do in your mind. For example, it might be excessive cleaning, reassurance-seeking, avoidance of people or places, getting rid of objects that can be used as weapons, checking appliances, doors and windows, touching objects multiple times, counting, silently repeating words or phrases, or telling yourself ‘it will be ok’.
The intention behind these compulsions is to neutralise the anxiety and stop ‘bad thing’s from happening. The sad reality is that these compulsions rarely make people feel soothed or safe. Instead, they have the opposite effect; people become chronically anxious, and their lives shrink.
While it can seem impossible to get past your OCD, the truth is that many people learn to get past these fears and improve their lives in amazing ways. If you would like to get some help for your OCD, then one of our CBT therapists or psychologists will be happy to help.
What is Panic?
Panic is an intense anxiety state that can be very distressing. We all feel panic from time to time. Did you ever not know where your child had gone? Did you go away doubting you’d turned the cooker off? Panic can leave you feeling powerless to stop the disaster you imagine is about to take place.
While it is common to feel panic, some people experience panic ‘attacks’that interfere with their lives. When this happens, you go to extreme lengths to control or avoid having panic. You might avoid going places, or you might take many precautions, e.g. keep medications or water in your bag, ensure you are with someone when you go out, stay close to the exits when inside or go to the toilet before you leave home.
Panic is a frightening experience, especially when you don’t understand what is happening. However, once you know, it doesn’t necessarily become less scary. It is uncomfortable to feel panic because it feels like you aren’t in control. Typically, people report that are having a heart attack, fainting, suffocating or unable to breathe, losing their mind or having a stroke.
The reason people report these fears is that physical sensations can confuse people. Many of the physical sensations you experience during panic are similar to what you get when you are having these medical emergencies. However, once you learn more about anxiety and panic, you can start to tell the differences more easily.
If you are struggling with panic, one of our counsellors, therapist or psychologists in Birmingham will be happy to help. Get in touch to book a consultation.
What is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety or social phobiais anxiety that people experience when in social situations. Humans are social beings, and we all care about what other people think about us. However, socially anxious people tend to be overly concerned with what others think, and they often assume that people think the worst.
Many shy people are also socially anxious. Social situations can be stressful for all of us. Large groups can feel overly stimulating, or one-on-one contexts can feel threatening because you feel more exposed.
When social anxiety interferes with your life, it’s because of several factors. Firstly, you over-identify with a negative view of who you are, e.g. that you are boring or unlikeable. Secondly, you have a perception that other people also see you in this way. Thirdly, you take lots of precautions to avoid or prevent people from thinking about this. Typical responses include: avoiding eye contact or starting conversations, rehearsing before you go out, trying too hard to be funny or clever, over-analysing things you’ve said or seeking reassurance from your friends.
Underneath this fear of rejection is a deep longing to be closer to people. In therapy, we help you to build up the ways you connect with people, develop self-compassion and abandon strategies that get in the way of relationships.
If you would like to work with one of our counsellors, therapists or psychologists in Birmingham, please get in touch to book a consultation.
What is Generalised Anxiety?
Generalised Anxiety or GAD is a term to describe the problem of uncontrollable worry. Anyone with a mind will worry because worrying is a natural reaction to life. There are many things that you cannot completely control, e.g. your health, people’s welfare and safety, money, and what other people think about you. Worrying is an automatic response that is both natural and problematic.
Many people overly rely on worry to copewith these uncertainties. The downside is that worry can lead to more worry, and then more worry. If you don’t get a handle on it, you can lose hours, days or months lost in your mind worrying about things you will never be able to control.
Although worry is something that happens in your mind, it is a behaviour that you have learned. If you describe yourself as a ‘worrier’, the probability is that you can spot the same tendency in one of your parents. Worrying is a learned way of navigating the world, its risks, and it’s potential. However, it is a poor strategy because it stops you from living life to the full.
If you would like to learn how to reduce your worry and build up other more effective coping strategies, then one of our Birmingham-based counsellors, therapists or psychologists will be happy to help. As soon as you are ready, get in touch to book an appointment.
What is travel phobia or agoraphobia?
Travel anxiety/phobia or agoraphobia are similar to panic. Unlike the experience of panic, which can come out of the blue, travel anxiety is triggered by being in a car, on a bus or train or aeroplane.
Agoraphobia is the fear of feeling panic while being outside and away from home. For many people whose lives feel restricted by anxiety, your home can feel like your refuge. It’s the place you want to get to when you feel overwhelmed. However, typically, the truth is that travelling or being outside is no less safe than being at home; your mind convinces you that it is safer.
Getting home can make you feel relieved, which is why it can seem safer. However, when you often retreat to your home to seek safety, it can leave you feeling sad, frustrated and lonely. Thus, staying at home doesn’t make your life better; it just eases your anxiety a little in the short-term.
Many people suffering travel anxiety or agoraphobia miss out on what life has to offer. You lose your independence and freedom. Your hopes and dreams become unlikely fantasies, and you run the risk of resigning yourself to a small life. While that is a choice, it needn’t be the only one. Our therapists will be happy to help and show you how you can learn to feel safe wherever you go.
If you are ready to work closely with a therapist, counsellor or psychologist, get in touch and we’ll book you in for an appointment.
Facing your fears so you can live life to the full
An important feature of anxiety therapy is building-up exposure to your fears. It is an essential step to take. Overcoming anxiety problems involves learning to get better at experiencing anxiety and fear. You can’t avoid this, but we will be with you to show you how to cope with it. We’ll show you what to do, how to apply the skills that help you relax more easily and support you to keep taking tiny steps outside your comfort zone. It is called Deliberate Practice, and it aims to ensure you get to improve and build both your skills and your confidence.
Would you like to speak to a therapist?
Send us a message and one of our Birmingham team of therapists, counsellors and psychologists will get in touch. Simply tell us what’s happening and we’ll get back to you in 24 hours.