At some point in our life everyone will feel anxious, if that’s from taking a driving test to waiting for exam results, but for some people anxiety can stay with them for longer, this is when anxiety can start taking over their day to day lives.
Anxiety is the body’s way of saying it’s in danger, adrenaline is rushed in to the bloodstream to help the body fight danger if it’s there or not. It’s the body’s alarm system to danger if it’s real or not. This is known as the fight or flight response to situations. This response gets us through some challenging situations but it can also be the response to things that are not real, the danger can be thoughts rather than real, therefore kicks in unnecessarily. People with anxiety scan their daily lives for danger therefore this response kicks in regularly, they’re constantly on the lookout for danger, hyper-alert to any of the signals, and make it more likely that the alarm system will be activated.
Thoughts that can often occur:
- Ø I’m in danger right now
- Ø Something is wrong with me
- Ø I’m going to die
- Ø The worst scenario is going to happen
- Ø I won’t be able to cope with it
- Ø How long is this episode going to last for
- Ø These feeling will never go away
Living with anxiety feels like you’re a prisoner in your own body. You can suffer from many different physical symptoms which can include: heart palpations, heavy breathing, feeling like you have a lump in your throat, feeling or being sick, muscle aches, sweating, headaches, regular toileting and many more. If you do think you may have anxiety please get a diagnosis first by a health care professional. People with anxiety can behave in certain ways, behaviours might include: avoiding people or places, not going out, going to certain places at certain times to avoid crowed places, escape and leaving places, making excuses so they can stay in their comfort zone, they could talk more or smoke or drink more, avoid eye contact with people they also can be more agitated than normal. There are many conditions which anxiety is the main symptom; these include panic disorders, phobias and post-traumatic stress disorders.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder:-
Generalised anxiety disorder (gad) is a long term disorder which can cause a person to feel anxious about a wide range of things rather than a specific one. People with gad often feel anxious every day and rarely feel relaxed. Gad can cause not only psychological symptoms but also physical symptoms, as aforementioned, people can feel irritable, worried and struggle to concentrate, carry out tasks and struggle to sleep. Gad affects 1 in 20 people in the UK. The disorder is most common in people within their 20’s, and is more common in women than men. It’s very common for people with gad to interpret there symptoms wrongly, thinking they have an illness, however it is very important to consult with you general practitioner first, do not self-diagnose.
A common symptom of anxiety is the feeling of uncertainty. People have to deal with uncertainty, as we cannot be sure what will happen in our lives, research has shown that people have different abilities to cope with uncertainty. People with anxiety are very likely to be intolerant of uncertainty as they have such high levels of worry already. These people will often try to plan for everything and often deliberately avoid some situations, but we cannot be certain “what is around the corner”. It is normal for people to feel uncomfortable with uncertainty as it is built within us to want to know exactly what is going to happen, we like to be organised, however we cannot be certain about everything. However, being very intolerant of uncertainty can lead to us being more anxious and can cause a lot of extra stress.
Common signs of intolerant uncertainty:-
- Ø Seeking reassurance from others,
- Ø Making lists to help eliminate uncertainty to help them be more organised to rule out uncertain situations,
- Ø Double checking everything they do,
- Ø Like to do everything themselves, not delegating tasks, therefore they can be “sure” everything is ok,
- Ø Avoiding certain situations,
- Ø Keeping themselves busy so they don’t think too deeply into things.
How to overcome intolerant uncertainty:-
- Ø Try to go about your day without making a list,
- Ø Go to places that you haven’t been to before,
- Ø Do things without anyone else opinion,
- Ø Delegate tasks to other people,
- Ø Try to be more spontaneous.
It is not easy to overcome this intolerance to uncertainty, we can help you feel less anxious and we can help you if your ill, however we cannot eradicate uncertainty as no one can be certain as to what is going to happen in our lives. Being anxious about uncertainty takes up a lot of energy and time, therefore trying to deal with these feelings will help with your anxiety levels.
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