I’ve worked with many people around anxiety and have seen first hand how limiting this condition can become in some people. I’m also interested in the correlation of mobile devices and the increase in anxiety and depression cases in the UK and am convinced that with the increase of social media and other modern day technology, so we see increases in the numbers of anxiety and depression in UK men.
Anxiety is more than having sweaty palms and butterflies in your stomach – there are 5 known areas which typically cause anxiety including environmental factors, genetics, medical factors, brain chemistry and use of or withdrawal from illicit drugs. The causes of anxiety are complex and different men will suffer differently based on the above factors. What is know however are the symptoms which include feelings of worry, fear and impending doom that are so severe they interfere with your ability to work, maintain relationships and get a decent night’s sleep.
In itself, anxiety is actually not a bad thing – it is our basic ‘fight or flight’ mechanism that is designed to protect us in times of danger. The problems arise when this response is wildly out of proportion to the actual danger of the situation, or indeed is completely made up when there is no danger present.
Physical signs of anxiety may include:
- pounding or racing heart
- excessive sweating
- muscle tension
- restlessness or agitation
- dizziness and vertigo
- shortness of breath or choking sensations
- insomnia panic attacks.
Emotional signs of anxiety may include:
- constant worry about what could go wrong
- feelings of dread
- concentration problems
- catastrophic thinking
- irritability or edginess
- being overly vigilant
- towards danger
- fear of losing control
- increased tiredness
Anxiety is on the rise in the UK – with 8.2 million cases being reported in 2016 alone, this has increased to 15.5million working days being lost per year due to anxiety and depression. So, what can be done about this?
As anxiety is a ‘normal’ physiological response, we wouldn’t be looking to ‘fix’ anxiety but more to understand the triggers of anxiety and discuss these along with techniques to reduce the anxiety levels.
There are no medical interventions that can stop anxiety happening and most people I work with, when they realise this, starts the recovery process internally.
My own story goes beyond anxiety into phobia – a phobia is an extreme version of anxiety and was around wasps and bees. I was utterly terrified of them. Over 30 years I have struggled to even walk into a room if I knew there was a wasp in it and when at work, if a wasps was to fly in through the window, I could not continue with my work. The usual response would be to freeze and with laser like vision, track the wasp to ensure it came now-where near me. Now, don’t get me wrong – it wasn’t the wasp I was afraid of. No, it was the effect that I thought would occur should I get stung. I believed that I would go into anaphylactic shock, stop breathing and clearly be admitted to hospital.
Can you imagine how crazy this must have looked to people! The realisation came to me while on holiday in Menorca when I randomly picked up a top in a shop that had a bee in it – I got stung! And the world didn’t stop spinning, no hospitals and no anaphylactic shock. But a bloody sore thumb for about 5 minutes – that was it.
I should add that this phobia was what is called a specific phobia (not a complex one) and came from a very specific incident that happened to me when I was a boy cub back in 1985! As such, I have come to realise that most anxiety does indeed come from a specific event in your life that has such a profound effect on you. I’m just so glad I got stung.
I’m still not a fan of bees and wasps – but I can tolerate them now and don’t panic anywhere like I used to. Like most things, we have to face up to our challenges before we can start to work on them.
So, what terrifies you that you’d like to overcome? Why not call me for a free, no commitment chat?