Is Anxiety Holding You Back?

People who need stress treatment often find themselves backed into a corner, unable to do the things that they used to love because they are afraid of failing, of going outside, or of living honestly. Most of the time, these anxious beliefs are based on an irrational set of thoughts, built up over time, and then strengthened by behaviours.

If any of this sounds like you, then you might be experiencing a lot of stress or anxiety. While short-term periods of stress are a normal part of life, persistently feeling anxious or being unable to reduce your stress levels is not.

What Does Unhealthy Stress or Anxiety Look Like? 

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between a normal, stressful day and the kind of reactions that indicate a problem. It’s also important to note that there are many types of anxiety disorders that come with a diagnosis, so they don’t always feel the same. That said, it’s important to get help when you’re feeling out of sorts, no matter what. Here are some signs and symptoms, all commonly found across all people dealing with anxiety.

  • Physical reactions like a rise in heart rate and blood pressure, constant stress responses, fast breathing, and even a tight feeling in the chest.
  • Mental reactions like racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating on the task at hand, overthinking, feeling overwhelmed.
  • Behavioural reactions like isolating yourself from potentially stressful situations, suffering from panic attacks, or overanalysing your problems until they become too big to handle.


A Breakdown of Anxiety and Stress Treatment 

Implementing coping strategies, new thought patterns, and developing a robust sense of self is important when dealing with anxiety. Anxiety treatment can consist of a lot of things, and the techniques vary according to the problems the person is experiencing. For example, someone struggling with a phobia might use exposure therapy (gradually getting used to the fear), whereas someone else might create specific strategies for stress management.

At Winchester Counselling, we approach talking about therapy from the perspective of the client, building up their coping mechanisms and uprooting unhealthy thoughts. Most commonly, we use Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help people learn to deal with chronic stress and anxiety.


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) 

ACT is an evidence-based approach to treating anxiety disorders as well as symptoms of stress. It focuses on helping people to open themselves up to unpleasant feelings while learning to cope with them in a rational, calm, and helpful way. Instead of trying to get rid of the feelings entirely, we work with people to create a flexible mindset that can deal with emotional upheaval, which is a much better strategy to deal with stress in the long term.


Talk to someone about your anxiety  

Winchester Counselling is a professional provider of anxiety counselling in Christchurch, and we focus on helping people pave their own way forward. If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, overwhelming stress, or any other kind of mental health problem, it needs to be talked about. Book with us today.




 “Very impressed, extremely easy to talk to, put at ease, very hopeful, thank you so much Andrew” - anon client


Symptoms of Anxiety:

Physical Symptoms:

  • Tightness or pain of the chest
  • Shortness of breath or choking feeling
  • Increased heart rate/pounding of the heart
  • Cold sweats
  • Stomach ache
  • Nausea or diarrhoea
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Numbness and tingling sensations
  • Bright vision
  • Heavy legs and muscle tension
  • Sleep disturbance

Mental Symptoms:

People who are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder commonly experience unwanted thoughts or worries and may not be able to face circumstances they are concerned about.

  • The 'what if?' questions, e.g. what if I miss the meeting, forget parts of presentation
  • Restlessness or feeling tense (keyed up), irritable, nervous, anxious or on edge
  • Fear of losing control or “going crazy"

Behavioural Symptoms: 

  • Being easily fatigued
  • Provide excuses to avoid attending events
  • Significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning