Experiencing Stress, Anxiety and Panic Attacks?
Modern life can be extremely tough at times but I can teach you techniques that help you to manage anxiety, stress and panic attacks so that the symptoms can be completely eliminated. If you are suffering from intrusive or obsessive thoughts, phobias or OCD, again similar techniques can be extremely effective in enabling you to get back control in your life.
Stress in our personal lives
The most common causes of stress in our personal lives are relationship difficulties (with partners, families and friends),serious illness in the family, caring for dependants such as children or elderly relatives, loss and bereavement and money worries. Even without major challenges currently going on in our lives, we can stress ourselves out just by worrying about things – especially during times of uncertainty and change.
Stress in our working lives
A recent Irish Times article said that Irish workers are among the most stressed in the EU. A recent Europe-wide survey conducted by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work shows that 22 per cent of Irish workers experience stress at work either “always” or “most of the time”. A 2016 ESRI study also found anxiety, stress and depression were the second highest causes of work-related illness in Ireland. People are being asked to work more hours, take on extra work, bullying is commonplace and juggling work and family life can take its toll on our well-being.
How I work with Stress, Anxiety and Panic Attacks
The symptoms of stress, anxiety and panic can be completely terrifying and can take over our lives. A priority of my anxiety counselling sessions is to show you how to relax using the techniques of mindfulness and breathing which you can use regularly to help yourself. I can give you a whole range of relaxation and visualisation CDs/downloadable mp3s that you can listen to in your own time. We will also talk about what is actually happening in the body, and what is not. I work with you to gain insights into your fears, get a sense of control over what’s happening to you, raise your self-esteem, learn to set boundaries and prioritise your own needs. I can help you to deal with negative thinking that and to think more positively, to use your imagination to rehearse successful outcomes instead of bad ones. None of this needs to take a long time – most people see results after only a couple of sessions of counselling.
What are Stress, Anxiety and Panic Attacks?
Strictly speaking stress is a response something that’s happening right now in our lives – a situation that requires some kind of physical, mental or emotional response. This might be a situation in the workplace or it could be a family or relationship issue. Anxiety is a feeling of fear, unease and worry often related to situations that we see as uncontrollable or unavoidable – often something in the future. We often use the two words to mean the same thing however, and both can severely affect our ability to carry on our daily lives.
Why do we get stressed and anxious? Well, in order to help us survive, humans have an in-built mechanism known as the ‘fight or flight’ response. Our distant ancestors might have been under threat of attack from a ferocious lion and so when the ‘fight or flight’ was fired off it caused a whole range of physiological responses: tense muscles, soaring blood pressure, racing heart, shallow and rapid breathing, perspiration and trembling – all they needed to gear up to run for it or to fight for their lives. Once they had taken action, and survived, all the physiological arousal would quickly subside.
In modern times, although the stressors that fire off the ‘fight or flight’ are different, the physiological changes are the same. It may be a bullying boss, worries about whether you will be able to pay your bills this month or family demands. If the stress is continuous, the physiological effects don’t have a chance to subside. That’s why we get physical symptoms from severe stress, such as disturbed sleep and ailments such as migraines, backache, stomach or high blood pressure. We often feel highly anxious or depressed. Our minds are a constant whirl of negative thoughts – the “worry button” is permanently on.
These high levels of anxiety can sometimes build up into panic attacks. These are sudden intense feelings of fear or apprehension even though there is no actual danger. Symptoms can include shortness of breath or hyperventilation, heart palpitations or racing heart, chest discomfort, trembling, choking sensations, feeling unreal or light-headed, sweating, nausea or upset stomach, generally having a feeling of fear of losing control and a strong urge to escape from the situation as quickly as possible. Although not physically harmful they are extremely unpleasant and what can happen is that the next time that you are in a situation where a panic attack previously occurred (or a situation resembling it), another one can be triggered by the emotional memory. Again, in our counselling sessions, I can show you how to get a sense of control back into your life and to manage your symptoms so that you are panic-free.
What are Phobias?
Common phobias include fear of flying, of certain animals and insects such as dogs or spiders, of being in an enclosed space (claustrophobia), or fear of leaving the safety of home (agoraphobia). The Rewind technique also works very well for people whose lives are made difficult due to phobias. For more information about the Rewind technique, click here.
What is Obsessive Compulsive disorder (OCD)?
OCD is a disorder of the brain and behavior and causes severe anxiety in those affected. The condition involves either or both obsessions and compulsions that take a lot of time and get in the way of important activities the person values. Again it is now something that you have to live with – there are powerful new ways to make OCD a thing of the past. For more information about OCD, click here
Stress related illness
Chronic stress can have a devastating effect on our physical health too – for more information, go to my Stress Related Illness page.
For more information on anxiety go to my anxiety counselling Cork page
For more information on stress go to my stress counselling Cork page
For more information on stress go to my panic attack counselling Cork page