The words stress and anxiety are being heard more and more, louder and louder.
We know what is happening right now, or do we? In fact, the fear of the unknown, what we don’t understand, is what frightens us the most.
Stress is our natural reaction to imminent danger. Millions of years ago, this natural reaction (fight or flight), kept us safe from the threat of immediate danger. Stressors have evolved since then thankfully, but as a result, we don’t know how to fight these modern dangers. We don’t feel like we can take flight (certainly not in a literal sense now) and instead, we are being “locked down”. A client said today, “it’s like being locked in a room with your worst fear”.
Our anxiety is our fear of the unknown, and the only certain thing at the moment is uncertainty. None of us truly know what’s coming in these next few months, there are so many blanks. The danger now is that we start to fill in the blanks using our imagination. We use the little data we have to begin to construct possible outcomes based on the limited information on what we have in our minds. We seek similar scenarios and take guesses. We look at end-of-the-world disaster movies and books – knowledge based on fiction we may have read about dystopian futures – and try to apply them. All of this leads to us becoming anxious, worried about this fabricated outcome.
We hear about the percentage of people who will be affected by the issue, but not the percentage that won’t be affected by it. The news tells us how many have died, not how many have survived.
Check for yourself; every news bulletin will leave that one feel-good story right until the end because happy doesn’t sell newspapers, happy doesn’t keep you glued to the screen.
Trauma, real trauma, is a problem that is on the rise. It doesn’t have to be a single significant event as is experienced by servicemen and woman in theatres of war. Trauma can be the result of compounding a number of seemingly small events. In isolation, these might be manageable but added to others, and they can leave us traumatised.
Trauma, real trauma, is a problem that is on the rise. It doesn’t have to be a single significant event as is experienced by servicemen and woman in theatres of war. Trauma can be the result of compounding a number of seemingly small events. In isolation, these might be manageable but added to others, and they can leave us traumatised. Our liberal use of language often detracts from the real meaning of some words. Youngsters feel “stressed” when McDonald’s is out of chocolate milkshake, or the internet connection goes down.
Listen to language; the words others use and the phrases you use. What are people really asking? What are you really asking? Do you want to hear the answer which makes you feel good about yourself or do you want the truth? Listening is something I do for a living, something I love to do. I hear good things, disturbing things, worrying things and scary things. When people talk to me, they are, I believe, giving away some of the fear and worry. That’s why all good therapists have therapy, so we, in turn, can give away what is passed to us, diluting the fear and the worry.
As I have learnt more of how we perceive our world and the way our minds work, I can share this with clients to give them insight into why they may be struggling with stress, anxiety, self-confidence issues, a lack of motivation and a whole range of additional problems. Our view of the world is individually unique, just as you are and therapy can teach you to see how unique and how this forms your viewpoint of life and everything that is happening in the world around you.