Therapy For Anxiety
“In any given moment, we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.” ~ Abraham Maslow
You are not your anxious thoughts.
Anxiety disorders are common but often go unrecognized and untreated. Most people believe that anxiety is the enemy that needs complete elimination in order to live a happy life.
You may feel a sense of guilt, shame, or judge yourself harshly for worrying constantly and not “being able to” overcome your fears. You live with constant self-doubt making it very difficult to see situations clearly.
“Everything you’ve ever wanted is sitting on the other side of fear.”
When living with anxiety, it’s easy to try to suppress it — avoid it, pretend it’s not there, or try to push and rally through it. But eventually… it can build up and feel like too much to handle on your own. Anxiety shows up differently for each of us. However, anxiety is often a messenger if we have the right tools to listen.
Anxiety often accompanies mental worry or emotional pain. As we focus on the worry or the pain we are experiencing, the feelings can become so overwhelming that they hijack our thoughts and senses, preventing us from enjoying the present moment. Anxiety amplifies our fears and makes us more non-trusting or irritable than situations typically warrant.
Behind anxiety are underlying beliefs such as: “I’m not going to be ok, and I’m not feeling safe. The future is something to worry about.”
Anxiety is by far the most prevalent mental illness globally in our modern world. In the U.S. alone, more than 40 million American adults struggle with anxiety of some sort, and it’s one of the main reasons people seek out therapy. Anxiety is part of human nature but if you find that you’re struggling with anxiety most of the time, psychotherapy can help.
Do You Find Yourself:
- Constantly worrying, feeling fearful of the future? Or regretful of the past?
- Dwelling over details that you know are ultimately irrational or inconsequential?
- Wishing your cyclical thoughts didn’t keep you up at night?
- Noticing that excessive fear is interfering with your daily life?
- Struggling when trying to relax or feel “present?”
- Frustrated that stress has taken over your life, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and utterly exhausted?
- Feeling anxious before attending a social gathering?
- Having symptoms of panic or a heightened stress response due to chronic anxiety?
You are not Alone!
Everyone feels anxious from time to time. Stressful situations such as meeting tight deadlines or attending certain social obligations often make us nervous or fearful. Experiencing some mild anxiety can actually help a person become more alert and focused on facing challenging or threatening circumstances.
But if you are experiencing ongoing, or extreme, fear and worry that does not subside, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. The frequency and intensity of anxiety can be overwhelming and interfere with basic daily functioning. Fortunately, the majority of people with an anxiety disorder improve considerably.
Anxiety is when a person is unnecessarily, and consistently, in a fight-or-flight mode. Our body’s fear response is useful at keeping us safe (or alive) in acute life-threatening situations. When we’re in fight-or-flight mode in a true emergency, we’re able to run faster and further, lift heavier, and think faster than we normally ever could.
Many people experience anxiety from their social life, relationships, parenting, demands of school or work, staying on top of finances, etc. We tend to dedicate so much time and energy into our worries, leaving us feeling constantly overwhelmed and depleted. Anxiety can make normal stressors like paying the bills, or managing health concerns, feel life-threatening.
Anxiety makes us feel constantly on edge…Keeping us in that constant fight-or-flight mode, feeling vigilant, alert, and ever watchful for some looming danger right around the corner. We do this in an attempt to avoid feeling blind-sighted, or as an attempt to keep ourselves safe from harm; yet, many of our worries only serve to hijack the present moment. Although the occasional bout of anxiety is quite normal, it is exhausting to stay vigilant and on alert for weeks, months, or even years… Anxiety may keep you from functioning at work or school, or from socializing and making new friends. Long-term anxiety can impact your mood and behavior, typically leading to avoiding situations that increase or trigger your anxiety.
What Does Anxiety Feel Like?
When we’re constantly in fight-or-flight mode, we:
- Have an upset stomach
- Have ongoing headaches
- Experience persistent and excessive fears and worry
- Feel irritable, restless and on edge
- Have racing thoughts
- Get panic attacks
- Have muscle tension
- Are unable to focus or concentrate
- Have trouble sleeping
- Are unable to enjoy day-to-day life
Disproportionate worry, fear, panic, sense of doom, disorganized thoughts, racing thoughts that feel abnormal to your typical thoughts, ruminating obsessive thoughts, persistent or excessive worry, difficulty focusing, paying attention and concentration issues.
Increased heart rate, heart palpitations, sweating, fatigue, feeling on edge, chest pain/panic/anxiety attack, substance abuse, changes in eating or sleeping habits, difficulty swallowing, muscle pain or stiffness, stomach/digestive issues.
Disorganization, negative behavioral changes (irritability, aggression), difficulty feeling settled or relaxed.
How an Anxiety Therapist Can Help:
Anxiety can get in the way of what is important to you. I want to help you overcome the challenges your anxiety brings by helping you discover the root of the problem. I utilize an eclectic approach drawing from various techniques and skill-building tools tailored specifically to each client and situation. We may utilize principles and techniques from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure with Response Prevention (ERP), or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness, etc.
We’ll begin by collaborating to identify and manage the factors that contribute to your anxiety. We’ll focus on your thoughts (beliefs) and behaviors to help you understand what may be contributing factors, provide context for your struggles, and help reduce your anxiety over the long term. You’ll learn new ways of relating to your triggers, symptoms, and to your own body and nervous system.
Therapy will help you develop techniques and skills that allow you not to judge the anxious thoughts but instead work with them. We will further explore the uncertainty underlying your anxiety.
You do not have to stay stuck on the anxiety hamster wheel of constant worry or avoidance. Together, we will figure out where your anxiety is coming from and what it is trying to tell you.
Anxiety therapy will teach you how to use the difficult and uncomfortable things you’re feeling to become a more confident, fulfilled, authentic version of yourself – regardless of what life throws at you.
You will learn to:
- Understand your story
- Think mindfully and introspectively
- Regulate your emotions
- Identify patterns of relationships and behavior
- Discover hidden strengths
- Recognize and address your fears created by anxiety
- Organize and prioritize your needs