Anxiety and those wriggly worms in your tummy

We all have times in our life where we get that familiar feeling known as ‘Anxiety’ creeping in. Job interviews, driving tests, big life changes and sometimes the smaller details in life can leave you feeling jittery, fearful, your heart pounding and your head swimming with fearful thoughts.

So how can you better handle times like this? I like to think of that feeling as prompting a question within me. Rather than allow it to take over me I acknowledge it’s there, press pause, step back and consider the feelings as a question ‘Do I NEED to be anxious about this’?

Of course sometimes the answer is yes. Anxiety is our body’s inbuilt alarm, there to alert us of potential danger and it is important to consider if there is danger in the situation whether it is physical, emotional or circumstantial.

When I see a spider suddenly crawl across the floor, my body freezes and I am filled with an instant anxious feeling. When I stop, press pause and look at the spider I can see it’s actually pretty harmless. It’s not going to hurt me, there is no danger. By using that anxious feeling as a question, I ask ‘do I need to be afraid’? and discover that in this situation the answer is no. In a different situation, if I was in the Amazon rainforest surrounded by bird eating tarantulas, the answer and my response would be very different!

For some people Anxiety takes over and becomes overwhelming and debilitating. This is known as an ‘Anxiety disorder’. If you identify with several of the statements below, it may be that you are suffering from an ‘Anxiety Disorder’ and It’s really important that you visit your GP or local counselling service for help and advice.

  • I constantly feel worried, stressed and tense
  • I am unable to take part in some daily activities because I am so anxious
  • I avoid everyday situations because I am afraid
  • I think bad things will happen if I don’t do things in a set way
  • I am fearful of bad things happening all the time

My top tips for times when you feel anxious:

  • When you get that jittery feeling – Stop, Press Pause and ask ‘Do I need to be Anxious’?
  • Take control -Stop, Press Pause and ask yourself what you can control and change in the situation to alleviate the fear.
  • View that anxious feeling as your friend – it can protect you from harm when you have control of it

If you feel like Anxiety is controlling you and you can’t take hold of it yourself then don’t be afraid to ask for help. Friends, relatives, your GP or local counselling service can all work with you to help you take back your power and to put Anxiety in its rightful place in your life.

Take care of yourself and others


Do you feel the need to justify your choices to others?

I bought a lovely shiny new television the other day! I had been saving as I knew my old one had been deteriorating in quality for a while and when the day came when it finally gave up after 12 years of dedicated service, I did my research and made my purchase.


I was really pleased with my new TV, the quality was far superior to my 12 year old set, but I noticed something strange when I told people. Each time I found I didn’t simply share my good news; I backed it up with an explanation.  I needed a new TV as mine was broken. It was a really good deal in the sale. I had been saving for it for a while and the other one was really broken. I was really surprised at how uncomfortable I felt telling people and that I needed to give a reason for the purchase without them even asking for an explanation.

The truth of it is I bought this item with my own money that I had worked hard to earn. I am careful with the money I have…but then even if I wasn’t, why do I feel I need to be accountable to others for how I spend my money? I’m even justifying it to you now aren’t I?!

We all want to belong and be accepted by our peer groups and people in our lives that we value.  I wondered if for me this justification is part of that. Was I making sure that people knew It was a thought out purchase and that I was not splurging on something I didn’t need or could not afford? I come from a family who save for new things rather than buy them on credit cards – was I making sure people knew that I had adhered to this inherited way of saving and spending, that I value and view as a responsible way of living?

When it comes to your own purchases and even the bigger stuff in life, choices about jobs, relationships, childcare, do you feel a need to justify your decisions? Should you? Do you look for others to justify their choices to you?

I also recognised as I reflected that sometimes justifying other choices in my life could be because I have doubts myself in the decisions that I have made. If you find yourself justifying your own choices, purchases and lifestyle it may be a good time to pause check within yourself as to why. Are you actually unsure and justifying it to yourself as well as them as you speak? Or are you looking for approval?

I am off now to enjoy watching a film on my new TV, and by the way, I don’t feel the need to justify the use of my time doing so!

Take care of yourself and others!


Making Good decisions

A close friend shared with me some wonderful news yesterday and whilst I was filled with joy for her, I also paused to look in admiration at her life.

I’m not suggesting her life is perfect (who’s is?) but when I began to reflect further I recognised that I respected her way of living and the values she holds that have been the foundation for her in creating her life. I saw she had made good and measured decisions and at the times when I had known her to go through difficult situations, she had faced them head on, not hiding away, even when things were very hard.

I make hundreds of small decisions each day; Beans or egg on toast for lunch? Should I wear the blue or purple scarf? These have little impact on my life in the long term, but there are other decisions such as whom to marry, where to live, and where to work which have a big impact and I need to take these seriously and approach them with purpose and intent.

If we let things just happen in order to avoid having to make a decision, will we end up where we want to and can we complain about where we end up?

Decision making is personal and sometimes feels very messy, but ultimately to avoid these decisions and to not treat them with respect risks not being in control of or happy with the results.

To face situations head on and to take time to consider our choices can be daunting, but to recognise we do have choices can also be a privilege and empowering.

It’s so important to recognise the massive amount of power we do already have to change how our life looks and stop acting and living like we don’t!

Are you facing a difficult decision? Why not talk things through with an On-line therapist using instant message/email or video chat?

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