The most common issue my clients present with is Anxiety. We have all heard nutritionists talk about the fact that we live in an 'obesogenic society' - meaning that we are living more sedentary lifestyles and are surrounded by unhealthy foods, which are more likely to lead us towards obesity. It is also reasonable to say that we live in an increasingly 'stressogenic society'.
What is a 'Stressogenic Society'?
For 99.99% of human existence, we lived active lives and spent a substantial amount of our time outdoors. We had limited access to fast carbohydrates. We rarely interacted with strangers and our status and role within our social group - or 'tribe' - was clearly defined. This meant that there was a clear meaning and purpose to our existence. Also, as there were clearly defined lines between childhood and adulthood - with initiation ceremonies celebrating this transition.
The differences between what our bodies (and minds) are hard-wired to expect and what we experience in modern society are clear. We live extremely sedentary lifestyles and spend most of our time indoors. We have unlimited access to fast carbs, which trigger a dopamine release in the reward pathway of our brain - a process which is at the core of all addictions. We regularly have to interact with strangers - often in crowded places. Our status is now defined by the number of 'followers' or 'friends' we have on social media - and the number of likes or comments on our posts. Many of us struggle to find meaning in our lives, outside of making enough money to purchase the products that are relentlessly marketed at us. The lines between childhood and adulthood have become blurred in recent history (the term 'teenager' only appeared for the first time in the 1950s). Many of us feel like imposters in the adult world, long after we've turned 18. On top of all of this, we are engaged in an ongoing experiment with digital technology, that will take a very long time for our brains to develop an evolutionary response to.
In short, our stone-age brains are being bombarded with stressors, which they are utterly unprepared for.
How to Manage Anxiety in a Stressful World
The good news is that it is possible to counteract these stressors/triggers and manage our anxiety levels.
Here are few key things to remember:
If you feel that you need further help with managing your anxiety or panic attacks, please feel free to give me a call on 0876714259 for a free telephone consultation or to book an appointment.
Barry Grant, Counsellor