Therapy for Anxiety
Anxiety can make us feel like the world is spinning around us. Learn how to slow the spin and break the vicious fear-avoidance cycle.
Anxiety That Sends You Spinning
The Roots and the Fruits
It's normal for us humans to experience anxiety from time to time as part of our human experience. However, when anxiety is pervasive across many aspects of life, when it is intense enough to cause you serious distress, when it affects your school or work or relationships, this is sometimes referred to as generalized anxiety.
With generalized anxiety, the anxiety and worry seem to hold you firmly in their grip, and they affect the way you think, feel, behave, interact with others socially, and experience your body. Your thinking may become very worry-oriented and focused on anticipatory anxiety about what's coming up next in the calendar. Your feelings become a wash of less, more, or a lot anxious--sometimes masking your true colors of emotion like happiness, fear, excitement, shame, embarrassment, or sadness. You may notice that your behavior becomes avoidant, meaning you steer clear of situations that provoke your anxiety so that you don't have to face them. This is known as the anxiety-avoidance cycle, and unfortunately it only tends to feed both the anxiety and the avoidance. You may find that you turn to others for reassurance but, no matter what they do or say, they're not able to fully comfort you out of the anxious thoughts. Some of the most distressing symptoms of anxiety are physiological ones: difficulty breathing, chest pain, stomach or digestive discomfort, headaches, pounding heart, difficulty sleeping, muscle tension, fatigue, etc.
How Can Therapy Help?
- Psychoeducation: learning about what anxiety is and how it affects people
- Coping skills training: learning what relaxes you and how to have more positive self-talk (your inner voice)
- CBT triangle: understanding your own patterns of thoughts, feelings, and avoidance behavior
- Cognitive restructuring: recognizing distorted thought patterns and modifying them to so that thoughts are more helpful and accurate
- Problem-solving: learning to identify a specific life problem, generate some solutions, choose one to try as an experiment; then try try again!
- Gradual exposure: helping you face feared situations little by little so that you can gain confidence tackling them
These steps all need to occur in a therapeutic process with someone you can trust. It's not an overnight cure, and the process takes time, but it's totally worth it to reach that light at the end of the tunnel! Imagine being able to ride the waves of life with more peace and stability, rather than feeling tossed around by worry waves regarding every circumstance that seems to come your way.
Some Next Steps
- Check out my blog to learn more about anxiety and its treatment
- Contact me to inquire about therapy for anxiety
- Check out these clinical practice guidelines for generalized anxiety from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America so you know what to look for when searching for anxiety treatment