I am feeling anxious about you. So much has happened in the last 12 months that has raised levels of anxiety. First there were all the issues raised around the Brexit referendum. Then there was the American Presidential election. Now we are in the process of another General Election which is stirring up fears around elderly care, the economy and immigration. All of that against a background of terrorist incidents and war in other parts of the world.
I wouldn’t be surprised if you were feeling a bit anxious but do you know what? It isn’t doing you any good and it’s not making the situation any better.
Our human brains formed when we were cave people and the environment around us was dangerous and life threatening. We had to forage and hunt every day just to stay alive. Add to that there were predator animals that wanted to kill us. Our brains became very sticky for bad news as a survival mechanism. That’s why your brain notices negative information far more than it notices positive good news.
When you watch scary stuff on the TV news or read it in newspapers, your brain imagines you having to deal with that scary situation. In response, your brain releases the hormones that prepare you for fight or flight or freeze. Those hormones inflame your system. That’s ok if you only get anxious in short bursts and not too often. Persistent levels of anxiety can lead to physical symptoms such as poor sleep, lack of concentration, weight change, headaches and raised blood pressure.
So what can you do about? Firstly, acknowledge bad stuff happens but it is not personal to you. It’s not the stuff that is happening that causes the anxiety, it is the thoughts that you have about it.
Secondly, stop reading news reports and listening to or watching the news, particularly in the evening and before you go to bed. There is nothing you can do to make those situations better so stop exposing your brain to them. Remind yourself of all the good things that are happening, the millions of people who will go to sleep safely tonight, the beautiful babies that have been born, the things of nature just outside your window.
Thirdly spend a few minutes each day calming your body and your mind by just focusing on your breathing. If you can, make your out breath longer than your in breath for even more relaxation. Even better, go for a walk and breathe deeply.
If you need more help, contact me today so I can find out more about what you are experiencing. You are welcome to book a free 30 minute consultation with no obligation.