Anxiety Today – Is it us or is it them?

Picked up a Daily Mail this morning, and there was the headline ‘7m worry in the anxious generation’

Apparently there are more than 7 million of us here in the UK living with anxiety problems. This is an increase of over one million during the last decade. The vast majority of these people report that it is the financial downturn that has caused their anxiety; but crucially, they say that their condition is being fuelled by a 24-hour news service, and politicians talking about ‘worst case’ scenarios. The article goes on to tell us that mental health experts believe that increased fear and anxiety could actually make the economic crisis worse and might cause a longer and deeper recession!

The article goes on to quote all a report by the Mental Health Foundation entitled ‘In the Face of Fear’. This reveals that we are currently living within a ‘culture of fear’. With anxiety being caused by anything from the economic crisis to knife crime to hospital superbugs and bird flu; let alone terrorism. Strangely, even the measures that have been taken in order to protect us, such as CCTV cameras may also be counter-productive, as they tend to intensify fear, and even more importantly, the perception of fear.

It is now becoming abundantly clear to those of us working within this sector that the media have contributed greatly to this heightened feeling of anxiety that pervades our entire country.

I listened earlier to a lively debate on LBC on this very topic, where James O’Brien conceded that this may well be the case. My own practice is seeing an increasing flow of people seeking hypnotherapy and stress management treatment for all manner of anxiety-driven issues and problems. Thankfully, most will quickly learn new coping mechanisms and techniques through hypnotherapy and applied C.B.T. that will enable them to reduce the anxiety-response that so debilitates them now.

Returning to the Daily Mail article; it tells us that “research shows people with anxiety are at increased risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. Anxiety has also been linked to increased incidence of gastrointestinal problems, arthritis, migraine, allergies, thyroid-disease and chronic respiratory disorders such as asthma.” The chief executive of the mental health foundation, Dr Andrew McCulloch, is quoted as saying ‘This report shows that fear is having a serious negative impact on the mental and physical health of the nation. The modern world will test our resilience again and again, and people need to know how to process their emotions better to prevent harm to their mental and physical health. Prevention campaigns about physical illnesses like heart disease and cancer are often mounted, but less than 0.1% of adult mental health investment is allocated to mental health promotion”.

A further important point is made regarding prevention, and recognizing early on – as soon as anxiety starts becoming increasingly difficult to manage – is the time to seek help. It is relatively easy to learn self-hypnosis techniques which are brilliantly effective in reducing anxiety. These skills can be applied at any time throughout life to help minimise the impact of any stressful situation. Well worth the investment of a few hours of anybody’s time – what price peace of mind!