It’s no secret that the past few years have been mentally challenging. The pandemic was a difficult time for almost everyone, although one study found that levels of anxiety and depression decreased in April 2020 due to resilience and coping mechanisms.
However, the study also found that other groups saw continuous distress or a decline in mental health. If things couldn’t get any worse, we are now in the middle of a cost of living crisis which isn’t making things any easier.
A recent survey by BACP revealed that two-thirds (66%) of therapists said the cost of living crisis was causing a decline in their patient’s mental health.
As there’s been an increase in people dealing with mental health issues, conversations around anxiety and coping strategies have started to become the norm.
Most people with anxiety feel very aware of their diagnosis but they might not know about this one aspect of the condition called ‘anxiety sensitivity.’ Anxiety sensitivity describes the worry that people with anxiety have in relation to their anxiety symptoms, specifically the reactions your body has when you feel anxious.
People with anxiety sensitivity are concerned that those symptoms will make their feelings of anxiety obvious or and that it could be a sign of a bigger physical or mental illness.
Noam Shpancer previously wrote an article for Psychology Today saying: “Many of those who deal with mental health issues, and anxiety disorders in particular, are not in fact concerned chiefly with objects, events, or issues in the world.”
“Rather, they are afraid of the very bodily sensations of anxiety itself,” he adds.
Symptoms of anxiety such as irregular breathing, heart palpitations, trembling, and sweating (which are the common signs of anxiety) could trigger anxiety sensitivity. Though these symptoms are common, they could make people with anxiety sensitivity even more anxious which in turn could create a negative cycle for the sufferer.
Though this condition is usually experienced by people who have anxiety, anyone is susceptible to experiencing it. But it’s not all doom and gloom, being aware that this condition exists can allow you to understand it and create the tools to overcome it.
Psychotherapists who teach their clients about their conditions, in terms of their physical effects and the impact anxiety has on the body can help them recognise their bodily sensations and what they actually mean. This allows them to understand their body instead of worrying if this could be a bigger health issue.
So, if you catch yourself feeling anxious about having shaky hands, try to calm yourself down and acknowledge that these are the usual signs of anxiety sensitivity.