Stress & Anxiety Part 1. What are stress and anxiety?

February 7th, 2015

Stress and anxiety are your body’s natural response to frightening situations. They are both perfectly normal survival instincts, designed to protect you from danger. However, when you have a heightened or prolonged response to a stressful situation, stress and anxiety can manifest in your thoughts, feelings and in physical symptoms.

While everyone experiences stress and anxiety, the factors influencing them vary from person to person.

For some the thought of an exam or job interview may bring on feelings of worry or nervousness, for others having a baby or simply losing house keys might trigger apprehension and fear. Stress and anxiety can also be caused by more irrational thoughts and feelings, for example encountering a spider.

Depending on which research you read, a person’s predisposition to stress and anxiety can be both inherited and learnt. It may also develop from a trauma that has not been properly processed in our minds.

Whatever the cause, the feeling of being overwhelmed or out of control can lead to symptoms – and counselling for stress and anxiety could help alleviate these.

There are a number of recognised stress and anxiety disorders, which can be diagnosed by your GP, including Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Panic Disorder. Yet many of us suffer from the symptoms of stress and anxiety on a daily basis without a medical diagnosis.

Panic attacks are one of the most common ways that stress and anxiety can become obvious. However, there are a whole host of other symptoms including restlessness, irritability, confusion, difficulty concentrating, frustration, despair and a constant fear that something terrible is going to happen. These feelings can lead to physical symptoms such as trembling, sweating, dizziness, nausea, headaches, insomnia and problems with your digestive system.

Stress and anxiety counselling can help you to deal with resulting feelings of tension or depression and give you ways to cope when you have these feelings in the future.