Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The age of anxiety

An article in today's Independant tells us that one in five Americans suffers from it, and I suspect the stats are not greatly different in the UK. As the article points out, a degree of anxiety is a normal human emotion, but for many the effects can be almost overwhelming.

What's to be done?

There's certainly no quick fix but a few things may be helpful.

1. Try get some exercise everyday. A good walk is fine, but even better would be a slow jog if you're able. The running magazines frequently feature articles by non runners who have found a degree of peace of mind after taking up the sport.
2. There are some excellent self help books. One which I have recommended countless times is Overcoming Anxiety by psychologist Heken Kennerly. You can get it on Kindle as well, so you could download it to your smart phone. It has good descriptions of the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy as well us helpful suggestions on relaxation  exercises.
3. There is a very good self help web site at www.livnglifetothefull.com. It's well worth checking out.
4. For short term crises, the benzodiazepines (like Valium) are still very useful, but of course should be prescribed for very short courses only.
5. It is worth discussing with your GP. He or she may be able to provide the help you need, or could perhaps arrange some suitable counselling.

Anxiety can be horrible and it's really worth getting some help. Don't suffer in silence.
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