Becoming Friends With Anxiety

Anxiety is the body and minds’ natural reaction to threat or danger, often referred to as the ‘Fight or Flight’ response.

The body releases hormones such as adrenaline, which result in a number of physiological reactions in the body.
There are many different types of anxiety, including general anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It’s normal to experience anxiety from time to time but when it becomes debilitating it is time to get help.

Some of the common symptoms of anxiety

  • Sense of dread
  • Racing thoughts
  • Butterflies and or tight sensation which can begin in your stomach and work its way up to your chest and throat
  • Palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • A real fear you will die
  • Fear you will lose control
  • Hyperventilate

So what would it be like to become friends with this part of ourselves?

Have you ever found yourself wishing you just didn’t feel this way, or trying to escape the sensations your anxiety can bring. Do you acknowledge your anxiety when it strikes or do you resist any engagement with it and simply try to survive the sensations by ignoring them?

Is it a familiar scenario to let your anxiety dictate your day, a night out or holiday planning or how you would like to live your life?

Have you ever experienced sitting having a coffee with friends but struggling to engage or concentrate because you’re so consumed by anxious feelings or fearful anxious thoughts.

Or is it familiar to go to bed at night for your mind to become very active with a variety of negative thoughts preventing you from sleeping. Perhaps you fear being judged by others, what will they think of me? Will they think I’m weak?

Is it difficult for you to know the difference between excitement and anxiety? Can they sometimes feel similar, like butterflies in your stomach? Does this prevent you from feeling excitement?bigstock_hands_coffee_20516

Often alcohol is consumed as a way to try and cope with anxiety, but once the alcohol wears off is your anxiety at its peak? Or does alcohol fuel your anxiety?

When we experience anxiety it can be terrifying, so why would we want to befriend something so frightening?

When we begin to explore our anxiety in a safe way we can begin to bring it down to size, we can then become bigger than it.

Can you imagine willingly bringing your anxiety for a coffee with you? Asking it what it wants to tell you. Getting to know what it feels like, being able to withstand the sensations. What do you think your anxiety might be telling you? Could it be saying slow down? What would your life be like if you were to accept it as being a part of you rather than reject or run from it?

Self Help Tips

  • Question your thoughts, are they really true?
  • Check in with yourself regularly by simply asking yourself how you are?
  • Realise your brain is playing tricks with you
  • Use positive Talk such as I am safe, I am ok, I’ll be ok
  • Physical Exercise
  • Mindfulness
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Slow deep breathing
  • Talk to a friend about your anxiety
  • Let go of any shame
  • Acknowledge that a part of you is anxious, but also that it’s just a part of you it is not all of you.
  • Be kind to yourself, ask yourself what do I need right now to help me
  • Slow down
  • Let the adult part of you speak for the child inside of you that’s terrified and reassure it.
  • Accept yourself as you are, we are not perfect, we never will be.

How can psychotherapy / counselling help

Sometimes anxiety can just feel too powerful to manage on our own, it may not feel safe to begin to explore or to even acknowledge. Psychotherapy can provide a safe, confidential, non-judgemental space to explore your relationship with anxiety. In a safe space you can begin to explore the triggers and responses to your anxiety. Through therapy it’s possible to gain insight into how to move forward in life with anxiety.

‘’ Every time we choose safety we reinforce fear’’

To book an appointment with Fran or any of our clinics therapists please call 01 677 9859 or email

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