Anxiety is a natural response to threat and lets you know there is a danger you need to attend to. However sometimes anxiety is a habitual state of mind and being, and then it is not an informative feeling, but something unpleasant and harmful to the person’s life. Long term anxiety can have powerful effects on a person’s life and relationships, limiting development and opportunities considerably.
Anxiety is experienced in the whole self, body and mind, in symptoms such as racing thoughts, poor concentration, shallow breathing, tightening of the muscles, restlessness, and anger. Because of the marked physical component in anxiety I sometimes start by exploring with my client what they are experiencing in their body. By bringing awareness to the body there can be a grounding and relaxing which allows underlying issues to emerge and to be brought into dialogue. Sometimes the body speaks, and holds a coded message about the origins of the anxiety and this is very helpful in the exploration.
For each individual the causes of anxiety are different, and we undertake a process of exploration to find out what they are. If you perceive the world as an unsafe place, for example, it is understandable that you will tense up in the face of it. For some people anxiety arises in a close relationship after a certain length of time. The individual starts to connect with previous painful experiences in close relationships and fears the same happening again. It is important to attend to the underlying causes of a person’s anxiety or it will return despite temporary relief.
For immediate help with panic attacks and anxiety I can offer breathing techniques which will relax you and quieten your mind. I can also teach you simple movement sequences which will help you to free your breath and relax your muscles. For this we push back the chairs and put on some gentle music. You can learn how to do this for yourself at home, but initially it is often helpful to have someone to guide you through it. I do it together with you so that you do not feel watched. If you are very tense or self conscious about your body we go one step at a time and respecting your current limitations. If you have a poor relationship to your body it is particularly helpful to do this sort of work despite the difficulty. We can talk together about how you feel about your body and work at your pace.