Anxiety and Stress

Still in the Storm
A guide to stress and anxiety management

by Ann Williamson

Published by Crown House Publishing Limited, Wales
ISBN 1 – 8998364-1-1

“Why use this particular book to beat stress? Simple. This guide has been designed to be totally user friendly and approachable, while presenting a programme of exercises that will offer long term stress solutions.

Fun to use, friendly and filled with delightful cartoons “Still – in the storm” will enable you to understand why you feel and act the way you do and to do something about it!”

Chapter 1:       Are you a born worrier? Anxiety is learnt – so it can be unlearnt!

Chapter 2:       Stress overload? Know what stresses YOU? Learn ways to help – with time management, saying ‘No’ etc.

Chapter 3:       Half empty or half full? The worry wheel and your perceptions of anxiety and panic.

Chapter 4:       Dealing with the stress response. Exercise, breathing and self-hypnosis., utilising positive suggestion.

Chapter 5:       Increasing your self-confidence and how you see yourself. Confidence at your fingertips – anchoring techniques.

Chapter 6:       Where do you want to go? Taking control of your future – goal setting and mental rehearsal.

Anxiety and Panic attacks

When you start to feel panicky, do you know why you feel this way, heart pounding, chest tightening, lightheaded etc? Our primitive ancestors, when threatened, maybe by a sabre-toothed tiger, had to run or turn and fight. Their bodies developed a survival reflex that produced a belt of adrenalin when they were threatened to help them move more quickly or fight more strongly. Unfortunately we still have that reflex and what our minds perceive as ‘threats’ are not only truly dangerous situations but also anxious thoughts. So when an anxious thought comes along we produce adrenalin but we don’t use it because we are not engaging in a physically active response. The adrenalin causes the physical feelings of increased heart rate, increased breathing rate and the blood tends to preferentially flow to our limb muscles (so we have less going to our brain and may feel faint or nauseous). We then get another anxious thought about how we feel “I’m going to faint” or “I’m feeling really ill” which produces more adrenalin and so the feelings increase and the whole thing begins to spiral into what we call a panic attack. The self-same chemical gives the same feelings when someone goes on the “Big One” at Blackpool but then they call it excitement or an “adrenalin burn”. It is the interpretation that you put on the original feelings that changes things. If you can acknowledge the feeling when you get it as ” The adrenalin is here again” and tell yourself, maybe as you physically let your muscles relax a little as you breathe out, “It will soon pass” you will find that it doesn’t build up into panic.

You can begin to recognise what you are saying to yourself in thoughts or images in your mind as you begin to feel anxious so that you can interrupt the cycle. If you wait until you have a lot of adrenalin on board then really the only way to help yourself is to do something physical – run up and down stairs or do some physical jerks! Our feelings may seem to arise very quickly but with practice you can begin to catch the thoughts and images that fuel them and so start to change them.

We are usually very good at playing the worst possible scenarios through our heads over and over again, especially if we feel low or worried. What is this doing? Each time we play the possible negative outcome our mind perceives a threat and produces adrenalin, and off we go again! We need to look at possibilities in case there is anything we need to do about it but then we need to put it in a box and turn our minds to something else. Sometimes writing our worries down can help – is it still going to be important in a year’s time, in ten years? Is it your problem, or really someone else’s? If you are thinking of negative outcomes to situations can you also think of some positive possibilities?

Because I am committed to spreading these ideas you have my permission to reproduce this with my name and contact information, for colleagues, friends and clients.

This file is not for reproduction for commercial purposes without the express permission of the author.

Reviews

Still – in the storm

How to manage your stress and achieve balance in life
Dr Ann Williamson               ISBN 978-184590118-9

This is definitely the first choice reading for self-help stress management.

Dr Williamson’s book blends humour and fact with style, and the cartoons scattered within its pages bring tasteful fun and amusement to what is a serious subject. Giving comprehensive, yet simple and straightforward advice on a multitude of stress management techniques the reader has the opportunity to develop a tailored program that’s right for him or her.

The entire book flows easily with a simplicity that makes it difficult to put down. Explanations of different topics and how to utilise techniques such as hypnosis, visualisation, positive imagery and building a confidence trigger, amongst others, are clearly and simply described for all to use.

It is one of the most readable books on managing stress that I have ever read and I believe that everyone will find benefits within its pages.

Terri Bodell FNACHP (which is Fellow of the National Association of Counsellors, Hypnotherapists & Psychotherapists). Deputy Chair of the NACHP

Still – In The Storm by Dr Ann Williamson. Published by Crown House Publishing. ISBN. 978-184590118-9

At last! a self help book on how to manage your stress and achieve balance in life, written by someone who, in my mind has the right credentials to do so.
Dr Ann Williamson, a GP of over twenty five years experience in practice has come up trumps here. Still – In The Storm is one of those books that every What’s Happening Magazine reader should have in their possession, not just to read from cover to cover but to refer to as a useful dip in and out book when the needs must.

With only six chapters though I would suggest reading it from cover to cover, absorbing the positive information and useful exercises Dr Williamson suggests and explains in a reader friendly way that is both easy to understand and follow. Quite lucky really, as the last thing you want when looking for ways to manage that stress is to become frustrated with jargon, be bamboozled by complicated exercises or worse, be patronised and humoured as so many books in this genre can tend to do. Happy to say this is one of those that does not do any of the aforementioned. Rather, it takes the reader on a journey to discover the levels of stress being experienced, the individual responses to it through to increasing self-confidence and helping you to figure out where you want to go in your life.

One chapter that I particularly found interesting, containing an exercise I just love is Chapter 4 on the subject of dealing with the stress response. The visualisation exercise aptly titled ‘A Special Place’ is just out of this world and I find myself retreating to my place when it feels just right to do so, then returning to the present refreshed and calmer than when I ‘left’.

On the subject of visualisations, I would suggest that each reader when beginning to read Still – In The Storm remains open minded to the visualisation exercises Dr Williamson suggests as they do work. Honest.
So my verdict, as if you didn’t have an idea already. Still – In The Storm is one of those that you should have on your book case, read from cover to cover at least once and refer to when you feel you need some balance back in your life.

Well Dr Williamson, what can I say? I wish my GP was as forward thinking as you appear to be in your practice with regard to complementing mainstream medicine with the methods you have written about. As one of your chapters asks Half Empty or Half Full? With this gem in my possession I would definitely say that my glass is over flowing! Even the dedication instils a sense of calm. Thank you.

David Feakes