Making progress with anxiety

Exercise is hugely beneficial for anxiety. Photo by Gabin Vallet on Unsplash

What do you consider progress?  Many people who come to counselling want their lives to improve, but aren’t necessarily clear in their minds about exactly what would be an improvement.

As a person-centred counsellor, I focus on a person’s individual experience of the universe.  When a client first comes to me, I often ask: “Imagining yourself in six months’ time, what would you like to be different?”

Most often, the answer involves something the client has noticed about their own behaviour or emotional response.  I would say the most common wish is for levels of anxiety to be reduced.  Clients wish for their own responses to the world to be less panicky.

Generalising this, it seems that, for most people coming for psychological help, progress is a reduction in feelings of anxiety.

What is anxiety?  It’s the feeling that something is wrong in a person’s world, plus a felt uncertainty as to what to do about it.  Many anxious clients wake up in the morning and are gripped by a feeling in their throat, chest or stomach, a sense that something is wrong.

Anxiety is too big a subject to solve in one article, but here are three tips for reducing your levels of anxiety, whoever you are:

  1. Find a routine.  The human body gets antsy without routine, and calms down once involved in one.  Do yourself a big favour, and structure your days and your weeks.
  2. Keep active and take exercise.  There is a huge amount of evidence that exercise and activity help the body to stay healthy.  Regular exercise is hugely beneficial to those who suffer from anxiety.
  3. Find some tolerance and compassion for those around you.  Somewhere in anxiety, there is often irritation, which is closely related to anger.  Those who find ways to love, and feel at peace with, those around them, are automatically protected against many aspects of ill-health.

Of course, everyone is different.  Sometimes a client needs to resolve some pretty serious issues concerning relationships, or the past, before they feel they can move on.  Counselling can be a very good way to work that through.

But while self-development is happening, it’s good to take proactive steps towards health.  Routine, exercise, and compassion for others – these, I would strongly recommend.

If you are interested in counselling, do get in touch with me via the contact page.  I’d be happy to have a free chat on the phone, and the first session after that is also always free.