ANXIETY AND STRESS
“I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right; but it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation may be on the Lord’s side.”
Lincoln is, of course, known as a foresighted and wise politician. However, in this quote, he falls into a trap not uncommon with those who suffer from anxiety, namely the belief that the anxiety from which they suffer serves some kind of purpose in their life, that it benefits them in some way. For most people, it does not, it is nothing but a hindrance and something which holds them back in life and which prevents them from doing what they want to do.
Although anxiety and stress are often mentioned in the same breath, they are two different conditions. Anxiety is often characterised by rumination (excessive over thinking) accompanied by a nervous feeling of inner turmoil and fear. It can be caused by something specific, by a specific set of circumstances or may also be what is known as General Anxiety Disorder, which is a more generalised nervous feeling which can be both mild or severe.
Stress, on the other hand, is a biological or psychological response to an external stress factor. These factors can be environmental factors or events in one’s life that disrupt the pattern of living with which we are comfortable (for example job changes, moving house, chronic illness or injury, the death of a loved one or an increase in financial obligations).
Like depression, anxiety may have both psychological symptoms (such as restlessness, a sense of dread or feeling constantly on edge, irritability) and physical symptoms (a dry mouth, increased heart rate, excessive sweating, dizziness). Stress has similar symptoms, which is why the two are often linked and can also be indicated by symptoms such as eating too much or too little, feeling tired all the time and a difficulty making decisions.
Some people will have only one or two symptoms, others more. But if your worry and distress has become uncontrollable, with your own determination to change, we can work together to find ways to help you to come to your own conclusions about what is the best way to combat this unhelpful worry and to remove the obstacles it places in your way to getting the best out of your life.