Theo (29) often felt anxious. He called himself a “worrier as a child” and his anxiety continued into his adulthood, often hampering him from trying new things. He described a racing heart, feeling shaky, hot, and afraid. At times he couldn’t breathe and felt as though he may die. His anxiety often resulted in panic attacks.
In counselling, Theo explored the physiology of anxiety and how it affected his mind and body. Through education, he gained a better understanding of anxiety. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can be an effective therapy for anxiety. Using CBT Theo realised that his thoughts (often referred to as catastrophic thoughts), feelings and actions affected one another. He also understood through counselling that his body let him know when he was feeling anxious and that his mood was often an accurate indicator of anxiety levels. Theo kept a mood diary to learn about his triggers. Eventually, he was able to identify patterns that led to anxious thoughts.
Theo practised training his mind to think differently. Eventually, he was able to control his anxious thinking. He learnt relaxation, meditation and breathing techniques. He also learnt to maintain a balanced life involving plenty of sleep, a healthy diet and exercise. He used self-talk to change old, recurring, unhelpful messages that had previously created anxiety.
Theo worked hard on strategies to make changes to his everyday life. He practised frequently enough to experience positive changes as a result.
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