Has Stress overtaken You?
Do you often feel nervous, worried, or scared?
Is it hard for you to concentrate and be present?
Everyone experiences stress—it’s a normal part of life. A moderate level of stress can be helpful. If you have an exam and are not prepared, stress can motivate you to study. If you have an important presentation, low-level nervousness can increase adrenaline production, which helps to boost energy and improve focus. Anxiety can act as an alarm, alerting us in situations that require us to step up in some way.
But when we overreact internally to life events, anxiety can significantly affect our ability to feel good and function well. Sometimes our alarms go haywire, blaring when really there is nothing so threatening. It’s a sustained false alarm that we can’t find a way to shut off. What was once helpful becomes very unhelpful—and painful.
Excessive fear and worrying, self-doubt, racing thoughts or compulsive behaviors are signs that our internal alarms have veered out of control. Anxiety disorders such as phobias and panic attacks come from anxiety running too high for too long. Anxiety can also manifest physically as muscle tension, sleep problems, changes in appetite, and gastrointestinal problems.
Anxiety Has Many Causes, But Common Themes
We live in an extremely fast-paced world. We’re inundated with information constantly. Our jobs are often very high-pressure. Relationships are complicated. Dating can be grueling and confusing. It’s no wonder a lot of us are very anxious.
Regardless of the source of your anxiety, there are common themes, such as excessive worry, negative self-talk, and irrational fear. You may be overly critical of yourself and others. You may feel like you are losing the part of yourself that you like and respect. Or, you may feel disconnected from the people and world around you. Many people who suffer from anxiety report feeling like “someone else”—someone they don’t like—when they become too stressed.
Hiding your anxiety by putting on a “happy face” can be exhausting. Or, you may have reached the point where you can’t even do that anymore. Perhaps you have noticed yourself being snappish with friends and family. You may not like how you are behaving, but not know what to do about it.
Anxiety Treatment Can Help You Become More Present And Give You the Life You Want
We all have stories that we tell ourselves, especially about negative events that have happened to us. Anxiety comes from the story we tell, not the event itself. The trick to really treating anxiety is to change the story; it’s an inside job. I employ a model of therapy that can go deep and get to the core layers of the story. We’re not just talking about change or what you should be doing—but literally shifting the way you experience the world.
Excessive anxiety is a sign that you’re stuck in negative and uncomfortable thoughts, feelings and body sensations. However, it is possible to free yourself and to feel and think differently. It is important to know that it’s the way you are thinking about things that is causing your anxiety and that you can change the way you think.
Although you may be ready for change, you still may have questions or concerns about anxiety treatment…
I already know what I should be doing. I don’t need someone to tell me.
Anxiety treatment is more of an experience than simply passing along information. There are a lot of emotional experiences and breakthroughs that occur in therapy; it’s not purely intellectual. Also, a trusting and supportive therapeutic relationship brings a lot of comfort. It feels good to know that someone is on your side, working with and supporting you.
I don’t want to talk about something so personal with someone I don’t know.
Working with a therapist is unique and effective because it’s set up to be safe. Therapy is completely confidential, and most people feel it is much easier to talk with a therapist than to friends or family. Anxiety treatment is designed to facilitate talking about deeply personal experiences and promote a safe and trusting place for healing.
Trying to fix yourself often is just digging you deeper and deeper into a hole.
Acknowledging you have an issue and admitting how bad things have gotten is the first step. Reaching for help can be difficult, but once you do, it becomes a lot easier to figure out a workable solution for your anxiety.