Notice this is about overcoming anxiety and not eliminating anxiety entirely.
The reason for that is anxiety is completely normal and keeps us safe. It is our relationship with anxiety that is often the problem, when we are triggered by events in our past or our future, and often we are unable to understand why this happens.
If we go to our doctors because we are feeling out of sorts, stressed, anxious, depressed or burnt out, we are all too often put on medication. This is frequently the first point of call but medication can not address the underlying issues. Time and again, we are advised to take pills for a prolonged period of time so it is really important you have a full understanding of your anxiety prior to agreeing to this, and you must be fully aware of the potential side effects.
The most common medication is called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and these drugs work by increasing the chemical serotonin in your brain. According to the NHS website, common side effects of SSRIs include:
- feeling agitated
- feeling or being sick
- diarrhoea or constipation
- loss of appetite and weight loss
- blurred vision
- dry mouth
- excessive sweating
- problems sleeping (insomnia) or drowsiness
- low sex drive
- difficulty achieving orgasm during sex or masturbation
- in men, difficulty obtaining or maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction)
Whilst these side effects should improve over time, some, such as sexual problems can persist. Furthermore, if and when your doctor decides it is the right time to stop taking medication (usually due to the side effects) we will have to come off them slowly, to reduce the risk of withdrawal. The main problem here is then we are left with the very same triggers and underlying problems that caused us to have the anxiety in the first place. So sadly, the majority of times, we are left back where we started.
There Are Other Alternatives to Medication when Anxious
An appropriate mental health specialist can offer alternatives to medication that address the root cause of fear and anxiety. They will also be able to teach you tools and techniques for managing anxiety when it does occur. And it will because, like I said, it is totally normal for all of us to feel anxious at certain times, such as a job interview or speaking in public. We can often find it easier to accept that we are anxious during those times, even when we are not comfortable with it.
The problem with anxiety arises when we feel anxious all, or the majority, of the time and it interferes with our daily lives. An experienced anxiety specialist will be able to get an understanding of the root cause of your fears, and therefore work together with you to overcome such triggers. They will be able to help you see that a situation that happened many years ago does not need to hold you back in life today or influence how you feel about a future event.
We Are Born With Only Two Fears
Anxiety is an emotion linked to fear. It is a feeling, and feelings are not facts. We are given labels, such as “I am anxious” and we behave accordingly.
We are born with only 2 fears: falling and loud noises. Every other fear is learnt, and many times over, it does not even need to be our own personal experiences; or we have learnt a way to respond to this fear when we were, say, 5 years old, and we are still behaving in the same way decades later.
I imagine we all know someone who has inherited their own parents’ mannerisms, behaviours and gestures through simply copying them! We can see the same among peer groups both at school and in the office. So these learnt behaviours can both help and hinder us, depending on who we are surrounded by. As such, anxious thoughts and behaviours often run through families.
Each of the following therapies can be used independently, or can be used in conjunction with each other or alongside medication. Anxiety therapy gives you an opportunity to discuss what is on your mind, and question your way of thinking, in a totally non-judgemental way.
Controlled trials have indicated that “Talking Therapy” can be as effective as medication, without the side effects, and longer lasting.
Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) bases its methodology on modelling outstanding human behaviour and is the practice of understanding how we organise our thoughts, language, feelings and behaviours. NLP recognises that everyone has got the answers within them, and once these have been identified, provides a learning and methodology to model the new desired behaviour.
Emotional Charge Therapy (ECT) builds on NLP and takes a heart centred approach to therapy. This is based on research identifying our heart sends 9 times more messages to our brain, than your brain sends to your heart.
Self Hypnotherapy induces a deep state of relaxation where the client is fully in control at all times. It enables the client to tap into their own subconscious mind for the answers and uses scripts for the alleviation of anxious thoughts and behaviours.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is best described as emotional acupressure without the needles. EFT utilises your own bodies natural meridian points by tapping on them with your hand, to stimulate your bodies own natural energy and healing.
Cognitive Behaviour Techniques helps us to recognise that anxious feelings come from repeated distorted thoughts. Once we are able to recognise our thoughts and limiting beliefs, you are able to readdress negative thinking and behaviour patterns, which allows you relief from anxiety, alongside increased happiness and productivity.
Relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, mindfulness, yoga and practicing gratitude can offer calmness, while refocussing your thoughts away from your fears. This in turn boosts the happy hormones, and the cycle of anxiety diminishes over time.
What works best for one person may not be the solution for another, so it is beneficial to combine multiple techniques and tailor a solution that will be unique and long lasting.
Please note that this article is intended for information purposes only, and does not substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice when seeking treatment.
If anxiety is something you or your loved ones struggle with regularly, then please get in touch to discuss how I can help you overcome the underlying cause of your anxiety. You can book a FREE 45 minute discovery call here
Other resources you may be interested in: