Anxiety disorders are now the most common mental health illness in the US and the UK.
So, if you are struggling with anxiety, you are most certainly not alone.
One of the reasons that anxiety levels are so high is that often people don’t really understand what causes it or how to reduce it.
In fact, the very things we often do to try and reduce anxiety – actually make it worse.
And while medication can be helpful to a degree – it doesn’t tackle the root cause.
To really understand how to manage anxiety, you need to understand a little of how the brain works.
Anxiety is generated by a little brain structure called the AMYGDALA (we actually have two).
It’s a tiny thumb sized structure found in the emotional (subconscious) part of the brain just behind each ear.
You can think of the amygdala as the brain’s alarm system.
Its job is to constantly scan our external and internal environments looking for anything that might be a threat to us.
The problem with the amygdala is that it has quite fuzzy vision. That stick that you see out of the corner of your eye looks very much like a snake to your amygdala and so it sets off the alarm.
Your heart starts racing, your head pounds, your breathing gets faster, you get a surge of adrenaline – and you jump away without a second’s thought.
It is only when the logical part of the brain kicks in ( a few micro-seconds later) that you say – “Phew, it’s just a stick”
This logical part of the brain- called the PRE-FRONTAL CORTEX is KEY to overcoming anxiety.
It is the only part of the brain that can over-ride the amygdala and turn off the anxiety response.
And this is where the problems with anxiety arise.
The quality of our childhood experiences influences how sensitive the amygdala is and also how effective the Pre-frontal cortex is.
So, some of us are far more susceptible to anxiety than others.
Even if you had a good childhood, a prolonged period of stress in your life can make the amygdala more reactive and the Pre-frontal cortex less effective. So paradoxically, the more stressed you are, the less effective the brain becomes at managing it.
Treatment for anxiety needs to be done on three levels
- Working directly to calm down and de-sensitise the amygdala
- Building up the effectiveness of the pre-frontal cortex
- Identifying and changing unhelpful thoughts that are activating the amygdala
Our anxiety counselling programme will cover all of this.
- Help you to understand where exactly your anxiety is coming from
- Teach you strategies to calm down the amygdala
- Show you how to make your pre-frontal cortex more effective
- Restructure your thought processes to replace unhelpful thoughts with more helpful ones
- Identify behaviour patterns that you engage in which are making your anxiety worse
- Guide and support you through the process of change – to an anxiety free life
If you think this programme will be of help to you, why not schedule a FREE no obligation 45 minute consult
All sessions have the option of being recorded.
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