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Generalised Anxiety Disorder

Updated: Oct 1, 2023

What is it?

We all experience a sense of fear or worry at times. We may feel anxious about an exam, interview or public performance of some kind. There have been times when we’ve all found ourselves worrying about a sick friend or relative or an overdue bill that needs paying. It is normal to feel anxious under certain circumstances and these feelings are useful as they encourage us to take the situation seriously and think about what sort of action we need to take. However, if you find that you are constantly feeling worried or anxious over everyday situations then you may have Generalised Anxiety Disorder or GAD.

What are the Psychological Symptoms?

  • Restlessness

  • Feeling “on edge”

  • Feeling irritable and often losing your temper

  • Lack of concentration

  • Feeling tense

  • A sense of dread

  • Insomnia or disturbed sleep

You may stop socialising or doing things you used to enjoy as the anxiety becomes too overwhelming. You might have difficulty going to work or even getting out of bed. GAD is often accompanied by depression, so if you are feeling this way, it is very important that you see your doctor. You will likely be diagnosed with GAD if you have been feeling anxious and worrying excessively for the majority of the time over the last six months.

Physical Symptoms

  • Tiredness

  • Dizziness or feeling faint

  • Muscle Pains

  • Trembling or shaking

  • Excessive sweating

  • Feeling breathless

  • Fast or irregular heartbeat

  • Upset stomach

  • Nausea

  • Headaches

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Pins and needles

Causes of GAD

Sometimes there is no obvious cause and it just develops over time. However, there are several factors that can contribute to the development of GAD. These are…

  • Biological Factors

  • Inherited genes

  • A long-term health condition

  • Drugs or alcohol abuse

  • Long-term stress

  • A history of abuse

  • PTSD

Overcoming GAD

If you have been suffering from anxiety and feelings of worry, there are things you can do to help yourself feel better.


You should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week. This should raise your heart rate and make you breathe faster. Regular exercise can release muscle tension and naturally raises the serotonin levels in your brain which gives your mood a boost and helps you to feel better.

Avoid Smoking and Drinking

Although you may feel that smoking relaxes you, it is actually a stimulant and only ends up making you feel more on-edge. The same is true for alcohol. If you would like help to stop smoking or drinking, please get in touch for a chat.


It is important to take some time out each day to practise relaxation. You might find something like Yoga or Pilates useful. You could try a daily meditation or some self-hypnosis. I often give away free audio sessions so sign up to my email list of you'd like one.

Change the Properties

Some people see their anxiety as an actual object and can imagine something causing that feeling. Sometimes it is very still and heavy, other times it is something that moves or vibrates. For example, some clients have described anxiety as a tight feeling in the throat as though they have a tight band around their neck. Others say it feels like a large, tight knot in the tummy that just sits there. Some feel it as a movement, such as a drop in their chest or tummy or a spinning or swirling feeling. I have even worked with a client who described it as a kick in the stomach. She felt this kick whenever she thought of an impending event or a memory that caused her anxiety.

If you imagine anxiety in this way, try this technique.

  • Close your eyes and focus on the physical feeling of anxiety.

  • What do you imagine?

  • How can you change this particular object to begin to release that anxious feeling?

  • If it is a tight band or a knot, can you imagine loosening it and then letting it go?

  • If it’s moving, can you change the direction? Turn a clockwise swirl anti-clockwise.

  • Change the colour into something you would find more calming. For example, if the anxiety appears red, can you begin to change the colour into a calming blue or green?

  • Does the anxiety have a shape? Can you begin to change that? If it has sharp corners, begin to soften it and smooth it out.

  • If it is a drop or a kick, how can you make it less severe?

You really have to use your imagination for this one! Just do whatever feels right for you but we are aiming to remove the anxiety by creating the opposite sensation.

If you'd like some help, please book an initial consultation to find out how hypnotherapy could reduce that anxiety for good.

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