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Anxiety is a part of life. Indeed, the mechanisms of anxiety are essential for our survival. We all come from a long line of human beings who possessed a successfully operating fear/anxiety linked Fight/Flight/Freeze reflex, which saved them from dangerous situations.

Problems can arise, however, because this very efficient system does not discriminate between what is a real threat and what is merely a perceived threat. Sometimes our minds can think they perceive threat when no real danger is there – this can be perception of physical threat, but also of perceived emotional or psychological threat. Persistently high levels of anxiety can interfere with how people live and how they enjoy their lives.

There are a number of factors that can make a person more vulnerable to high levels of anxiety such as genetic factors, having other highly anxious close family members, having a very sensitive and reactive nervous system, experience of danger or traumatic events at a young age. People who are very sensitive to others also tend to be more susceptible to anxiety.

People who are highly anxious tend to overestimate the chance of something bad happening, over estimate how bad it will be and also tend to under estimate how well they will cope with an adverse event.

Learning to Manage Anxiety

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is one of the “new wave” of cognitive therapies which has been shown to be very effective in helping people to manage their anxiety so that it no longer gets in the way of them living a fulfilling life. In this therapy, clients are taught skills which help then to handle anxious thoughts and feelings. These skills are taught in session and clients are asked to practice them between sessions in their daily lives. The second part of this therapy aims to help clients reconnect with living a rich and meaningful life. This involves getting clients to consider what is most important to them and to begin to take steps towards living a life that reflects their important values.

Therapists at Christine Phillips Psychology Gold Coast, are trained in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and it is one of the main therapeutic approaches used.

 
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