What is Healthy Stress vs Anxiety?
We all feel stressed from time to time and this is completely normal and healthy. Indeed, we all need a certain level of stress to get things done. Healthy stress, also called “eustress” motivates us and helps us achieve our goals, which leads to creating more happiness, success, or fulfilment in our lives. Eustress usually involves a short burst of stress that helps us to overcome an obstacle or motivates us to get something done.
What is Unhealthy Stress or Anxiety?
Stress that sticks around for weeks or months isn’t generally helpful or healthy. Unhealthy stress is therefore long-term and it tends to wear you down and impact on your general health and mental health. Long-term stress can weaken the immune system, cause high blood pressure, fatigue, depression, anxiety and even heart disease.
What is Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)?
Anxiety comprises a number of experiences and symptoms:
- Generalised Anxiety usually involves a presence of excessive anxiety and worry about a variety of topics, events, or activities. The worry occurs more often than not for at least 6 months and is clearly excessive. Excessive worry means worrying even when there is nothing wrong or in a manner that is disproportionate to the actual risk. This typically involves spending a high percentage of waking hours worrying about something. The worry may be accompanied by reassurance-seeking from others.
- The worry is experienced as very challenging to control.
- The anxiety and worry are associated with at least three of the following physical or cognitive symptoms:
- Edginess or restlessness
- Feeling more fatigued than usual
- Impaired concentration or feeling as though your mind is going blank
- Increased muscle aches or soreness
- Difficulty sleeping (due to trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, restlessness at night, or unsatisfying sleep)
Many individuals with GAD also experience symptoms such as sweating, nausea, or diarrhea.
The anxiety, worry, or associated symptoms also make it hard to carry out day-to-day activities and responsibilities. They may cause problems in relationships, at work, or in other important areas.
What is Panic Disorder?
Panic disorder is characterised by:
- The presence of recurrent and unpredictable panic attacks.
- Worrying that you will have another one.
- Worrying about the implications of a panic attack (such as thinking that the panic attack is a sign of an undiagnosed medical problem).
- Significant changes in behaviour that relate to the panic attacks (such as avoiding activities that increase the heart rate, like exercise).
Panic attacks reach a peak within about 10 minutes and usually last for up to half an hour, leaving you feeling tired or exhausted. They can occur several times a day or may happen only once every few years. They can even occur while people are asleep, waking them up during the attack. Many people will experience a panic attack at some point in their lives; this is common and is not a panic disorder.
What counselling interventions are available to reduce Stress, Anxiety and Panic?
Kerry offers a number of different evidence-based anxiety counselling interventions to reduce Stress, Anxiety and Panic. These include, but are not limited to: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness (including mindfulness meditation), Relaxation Training and Breathing Exercises for Panic.
If you are interested in learning more about anxiety or seeking counselling for an issue related to anxiety, please contact Kerry to discuss your individual support needs and arrange a consultation.