Anxiety can be debilitating and all-consuming and, in some cases turn into full blown panic attacks. The person seeking relief often calls on a psychologist to alleviate the symptoms; some people want to know the cause of their anxiety and others just want life to return to normal.
So what has communication got to do with anxiety? Having worked with hundreds of people, I have learnt that communication is a key component to understanding and alleviating anxiety. This might seem like a strange statement but anxiety is a powerful response and message from within that all is not well? Understanding the language of that anxiety is the key. Often, the sufferer believes that if only they could remove the anxiety then all would be well. If they can learn to communicate with themselves, listen and interpret the message that a part of them is trying to get them to listen to, and then act accordingly, then the anxiety would have done its job. Anxiety is an alert button that something else has to be dealt with it may worry, fear of consequences, anticipation of something bad; whatever it is, anxiety is the symptom and not the cause. Getting to its meaning starts with learning to communicate with yourself and listen carefully to the messages from within.
Anxiety also comes from difficulties in communicating with other people. Many people dread having difficult conversations with other people where they anticipate negative responses, blame or criticism. They then avoid these conversations and anxiety arises again anxiety that the problem has not gone away and anxiety and self-blame that they have short-changed themselves by not standing up for themselves.
People can learn to identify, label and understand their thoughts, feelings and meanings. This, combined with skills to effectively listen and communicate with others, empowers the individual to be the author of their own life and not someone who is pushed around by external events and circumstances.
Written by: Clare Mann