Articles of Interest 

Social Anxiety 

Having had personal experience with social anxiety which began at school, for me, I hated any attention, I would freeze and become immobilised when the spot light came on me. This carried on through my teenage years and I would devise elaborate ways out of social situations, feeling the relief 'of getting out of that one' but an underlying dread that another 'one' lay just around the corner.  
Social anxiety often goes undetected for years and we adapt behaviours to cope with the fear. Avoiding these situations and their uncomfortable feelings at all costs made my comfort zone smaller and soon i was thinking and planning ahead situations that could happen so i could avoid them. I know how debilitating this condition is and it took me quite a long time to figure out what i needed to do and what worked and didn't work for me.  
Social anxiety is of course created by thoughts about a situation and not the actual event. These negative thoughts are linked to thinking that other people have a negative opinion about us or we feel we are being judged. When i was in this kind of situation i was not paying attention to anything else in the room other than how terrified i felt and what physical sensations i could feel in my body. I was totally drained by the experience which sometimes took days to get over. 
One thing is for sure, avoiding the situation is a short term solution. In the end it just stops/delays you from learning how to cope. 
Counselling could help you to make sense of the fear and how it makes you feel. To examine and challenge unhelpful thinking styles and replace them with more realistic ones. Give you the tools to re-focus your attention away from your feelings in these situations to help you feel more in control. Learn breathing techniques to help you calm down. Encourage you to face your fears and widen your comfort zone so that you start to experience these situations in a safe/controlled way that will give you the confidence and evidence that you need to cope. To look at stimulants such as caffeine/alcohol and smoking and alcohol and sleep patterns which could increase/contribute anxiety. 

Anxiety..... 

Anxiety can come from a combination of our past and present experiences and our reaction to these experiences whether they are rational or irrational. It is that feeling of dread or butterflies in your stomach that is linked to a past event. It could be described as the 'left overs' or a collection of feelings attached to an event in the past which we connect with current concerns or situations. 
Mostly the main cause of peoples unhappiness is not always the actual situation. Generally life isn't as serious as the mind leads us to believe. Feelings of nervousness and panic can be symptoms of anxiety. Physical symptoms can include, muscular pain - from being tense, butterflies in the stomach, trembling and finding it difficult to concentrate or sleep and eat. 
Many people believe that worrying about many things helps them to be better prepared in case something does happen but this type of thinking takes up so much time and of course worrying about something that may never happen! Many of our fears do not come true and of course all that worrying leads to more anxiety. 
Some people let their anxiety take over to the extent where they avoid certain situations to avoid these feelings. Although all the feelings associated with anxiety are, of course, natural human emotions, they can be very unpleasant so we will naturally do our best to avoid these feelings and any situations associated with them. This can leave many people to feel 'stuck'. Counselling can help to identify any outdated irrational beliefs and begin to replace them with more rational ones that are more appropriate and up to date. 

Creatures of a day by Irvin Yalom 

I have read almost all of Irvin Yaloms books and his latest 'creatures of a day' was inspiring. For anyone who worries about death or even those who get to that time of life when you start to wonder 'whats it all about?' These 10 short stories have something for everyone. 
The story that touched me the most was of Ellie 'get your own damn fatal illness'. Faced with death and anxiety, she did eventually, find acceptance and was able to just 'be' with her fate, even to the extent of finding purpose in, what others would feel a hopeless depressing situation.  
Reading her letters to her psychotherapist, you can hear the struggle that she went through to finally find what we all seek. Peace. 

Relationships...... 

We cant get away from relationships and how we relate to people, either in the workplace, our family, partners, friends or children. Sometimes we can find ourselves in a pattern of behaviour with some people and its very difficult to understand why we relate to some people differently to others. 
Sometimes it feels confusing and we feel uncomfortable around certain people. This could make us feel anxious and exhausted after being in their company or we may feel violated and be left with the feeling that we have 'given away' more information than we wanted to. In some relationships we feel like a child and in others we may feel like a parent.  
How we relate to other people can be so important in our relationships. In the end we all want to feel a 'connection' with somebody but sometimes its hard to be 'ourselves' and be completely real and authentic.  
Counselling could help you understand how you relate to people in relationships and why problems arise.  

Depression doesen't make you sad all the time 

This is an interesting article about Depression. People who are depressed don't wear a label. They are not sad all of the time and if you'reh happy it doesn't mean you can't possibly be depressed! Its important to remember how people who are depressed struggle everyday. If you're feeling depressed you often make an effort to not look/behave/talk in a depressing way, so it can be very difficult to detect. Add to this a feeling that your not being authentic or true to yourself, can cause added stress, anxiety, sleep problems and so on. Counselling could help to talk through some of the things that might be worrying you... 

Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional 

When it comes to how we respond to physical and emotional pain, we have a choice. Depression and anxiety can arise from the way we think. We all have a choice in how we respond to situations. Negative thinking can lead to 
anxiety, fear, depression, guilt, loneliness, low self esteem, feelings of hopelessness and sadness. Its not easy to  
change ingrained patterns of thinking but it it possible! 

SAVOUR THE MOMENT! 5 ways to living mindfully by Susan Krauss 

This is a good article in Psychology today, highlighting the advantages of being mindful and living in the moment and how unwelcome and intrusive thoughts can lead to low mood. Being more in control and finding positive aspects to events and situations you are not looking forward to can bring immediate relief to stressful times. Accepting things as they are without the pressure of high expectations can prevent feelings of disappointment.  

LET IT GO! Psychology Today - Leave 2014 where it belongs 

A good article for the New Year! Leave 2014 where it belongs in the past! Carrying around the baggage of negative thoughts and memories of the past cant be healthy for us. By re-living these bad memories constantly in our mind our sub conscious dutifully delivers all of the feelings associated with those memories; sadness, anger, shame, fear, anxiety, hopelessness and more. 

Spirituality and centering the self by Abigail Henderson 

This is a good article about centering the self, being aware of anxious and worrying thoughts which can cause stress and staying in control of your feelings and finding a way that works for you! 

 

 
 

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