Stress, Anxiety & Panic Attacks

The symptoms of stress, anxiety and panic range from slightly disruptive to completely terrifying and can have a detrimental impact on our lives. We work together to explore and remove the symptoms enabling you to take back control of your life.

Broadly speaking stress is a response to something that is happening right now in our lives situation that requires some kind of physical, mental or emotional response. This could be a situation at work or relationship issue. Anxiety is a feeling of fear, unease and worry often related to situations that we see as outside of our control or unavoidable–often something in the future.Anxiety can sometimes build up into panic attacks.These are sudden intense feelings of fear or apprehension even though there is no actual danger. Symptoms can include shortness of breath or hyperventilation, heart palpitations or racing heart, chest discomfort, trembling, choking sensations, feeling disorientated or light-headed, sweating, nausea or upset stomach, fear of losing control, feelings of dying or slipping out of consciousness or a strong urge to escape from the situation as quickly as possible .Whilst not physically harmful they are enormously unpleasant and additional attacks can be triggered by the emotional memory of a previous one.All three can relentlessly affect our well being and daily lives.

Anxiety is natural function that alerts us to potential threats allowing us to evaluate and respond to them in appropriate ways. Humans have an in-built survival mechanism known as the ‘fight or flight’ response.Technically, a physiological state should activate in response to perceived threat and quickly subside once action is taken to protect and survive.The survival response can include tense muscles, soaring blood pressure, racing heart, shallow and rapid breathing, perspiration and trembling. This is controlled by the primitive part of the brain and can get stuck in chronic activation from perceived stressors.It may be a bullying boss,worries about whether you will be able to pay your bills this month or family demands. When the stress becomes chronic and we remain in this sympathetic arousal for extended periods, we use more oxygen and nutrients, secrete more stress hormones, inhibit other functions such as digestion, sleep and the immune response sending a physiological message that we are fighting for our lives. This is very taxing on the body and we pay the price in wear and tear on our bodies. The good news is that we can teach our mind and body to have a healthier response to threat and return our bodies to a balanced state.

Life Coaching

Firstly, coaching is a co-creative space and you will have an objective, positive supporter;someone to whom you are making yourself willingly accountable! Secondly, you gain a sense of structure about your life and your goals and dreams. Left to our own devices, we start out with the best intentions and then, we hit a block and it can derail us completely or cause a long delay. Coaching can help you quickly break through blocks understanding the interference so that more is accomplished with fewer struggles and less effort. Coaching can help you take more effective and focused action and to create momentum so that it is easier to get results.

The overarching role of the coach is to bring you towards a more reflective mode helping to increase your awareness and differentiate events and your reactions to them in the hope of creating a space where more agency is created. The emergence from automatic pilot essentially.

Adlerian psychology takes a teleological stance; that we can change, as opposed to Freudianaetiology; that one searches for cause in the past(Kishimi & Koga, 2019). Coaching Psychology is very much in line with this viewpoint. Adler proposes that nothing is determined by past influences; rather we determine our lives according to the meaning we give to past experiences. This is a very promising notion of regaining authority over one’s life experiences.

Mindfulness & Meditation

Ajaan Pannavaddho speaks of training ourselves to have a sharp mind, developing ourselves to control our actions and stop the restless wanderings of our mind(Silaratano, 2014). Mindfulness is derived from the ancient art of Buddhist Vipassansa Meditation. A growing number of studies have now implicated particular regions of the brain, including the mirror neuron system and related circuits that participate in attunement. Research posits that “mindful awareness may involve the social neural circuitry of the brain as mindfulness is promoted by a form of internal attunement”(Siegel, 2007) I have taken a deep interest in this idea of internal attunement as it is possibly a progressive stepping stone from an unhealthy development of exteroception, where one might have distorted perceptions of the environment; scanning for potential threats rather than enjoying a sense of pleasure(Kain & Terrell, 2018).

In mindfulness one is welcomed to become an active participant in observing oneself in a non-judgemental manner; allowing the moment by moment reality to unfold. It is apparent how this can translate into the complexity of day to day challenges. The act of returning to the present moment awareness through the breath allows the conditioned lens of anxiety or other lenses to cease and the current moment to unfold. This can bring about great relief and exuberance in fact!The most reliable and useful constructs in considering an operational definition of mindfulness includes a study regarding mindfulness (Baer, Smith, Hopkins, Krietemeyer &Toney) in which five factors were acknowledged. (1) non-reactivity to internal experience; (2)noticing perceptions, thoughts, feelings and sensations; in a manner of staying with feelings,whether comfortable or uncomfortable; (3) sublimating from automatic pilot; (4) labelling with words; (5) nonjudgement of experience. This observation is considered a learnable skill(Siegel,2007).

Addiction

We will work collaboratively to support you if you have chosen to abstain, or are considering abstinence from any type of addictive behaviors (substances or activities)by teaching you how to change self-defeating thinking and actions, emotional regulation and to work towards long-term contentment and a better quality of life.

There are many theories to try to explain addictions; genetic, cultural and social influences merge with chemical and emotional factors. Environmental influences and personal experiences also appear to affect the susceptibility of different people.For many people the need to escape from their present reality and engage in some form of delusional activity gives them a quick high or false sense of freedom which traps them into a destructive pattern of behavior which can become chaotic.

Addiction can be beaten by many people without necessarily becoming dependent on a recovery group and without having to consider yourself as an ‘addict’ for the rest of your life