Social Anxiety is one of the most common kinds of anxiety disorders. At any one time about seven percent of the population are affected. Currently, this equates to an approximate 35,000 adults living in Cornwall.
Getting therapy and counselling for anxiety or depression doesn’t always involve having to visit an office or location somewhere to talk to a complete stranger face-to-face. An exciting area of development is that psychological therapy can now be provided online. It is possible to receive therapy for a range of problems, such as stress, anxiety and depression, in the comfort of your own home. The online solutions are delivered through a range of devices, including desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones.
[Guest author - Sarah Counter, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist with Outlook South West]
We all know that exercise is good for us, research shows that physical activity can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing the chances of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. However sometimes it can be hard to engage in mainstream exercise for various reasons such as illness and as such we can find ourselves inactive with reduced mobility which can have a significant impact on mood.
Imagine a medical epidemic, like mumps or flu, which affected one in four people and left the sufferers in distress, discomfort and affected their ability to get on with their day. And now, in this imaginary situation, consider that half of the people affected were reluctant to seek help for their suffering.
Most of us rarely get through a week without feeling angry. It’s part of being human. We can get wound up by the antics of others, by the things that get in our way, by the fact that life isn’t fair, or by people being disrespectful. The feeling of anger isn’t really a problem. It’s what we do with it that sometimes gets us into trouble.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder is the name we give to people who worry too much. Now, everyone worries, but an estimated eight percent of us, or 36,000 adults in Cornwall, worry so much that they lose sleep and feel physically ill with worry.
Nearly everyone has an irrational fear of something. Many fears, such as heights, spiders and snakes, have been hard-wired through evolution. Avoiding these things was good for survival. However, nowadays we also encounter modern phobias, such as, the fear of syringes and flying in an aeroplane.
Mindfulness has been shown to increase our resilience to stress and it can be an effective treatment for depression. So, what is it all about? It sounds mysterious but it is, in fact, very simple. Basically, it involves becoming quiet and focusing on just one thing at a time. You can try the following mindful eating exercise as an example. You just sit down at a table, switch off the TV, and slowly focus on the experience of tasting, smelling and eating a small meal.
Life is a journey with ups and downs. But our brains tend to focus on the downs. That’s because we have evolved to spot potential danger. So we see the downs more quickly and think longer and harder about them.
Interestingly, psychological research tells us that we can develop some habits that train our brains to become better at noticing the positives in our life. Here are three two-minute exercises to practice, as described by Harvard psychologist, Shawn Achor.