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Anxiety is a sense of worry, unease or fear that is a normal part of everyone’s life. People actually need a certain level of anxiety to meet goals, challenge themselves and feel successful in life. Problems arise when people experience too much or too little anxiety. I work with people who experience more anxiety than they can tolerate. When this happens it can evolve into an anxiety disorder.
There are several major kinds of anxiety disorders
Panic Disorder - When anxiety gets so high that people feel like they are having an heart attack. Symptoms include trouble breathing, heart racing, choking, or mind spinning.
Social Phobia - When people worry excessively about what others are thinking of them, what they look like, of being judged or criticized. This can cause people to isolate from social situations.
Specific Phobias - Fear of snakes, heights or flying where the level of fear is not consistent with the risk of the situation. For example someone with a fear of snakes may feel intense anxiety when they see a snake on the TV even though they are perfectly safe.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder - When people feel tense, stressed out or scared frequently throughout the day. This can look like racing thoughts, restlessness, and an inability to control one’s anxiety or worry.
People with anxiety disorders are often consumed by their worries (finances, relationships, school, work, and health). They expend so much energy worrying that it impairs their life, drains them and many describe feeling a sense of “being out of control” or “too worried to engage in life”.
Some common symptoms of anxiety include:
- Racing or unwanted thoughts
- Sweating, racing heart, fatigue, jittery, restless, shaky or trembling
- Lack of concentration
- Dread or fear of impending doom
My first task in anxiety treatment is developing a safe environment. By listening attentively, being consistent and showing genuine concern I develop trust where we can explore the causes and contributors to your anxiety. When people feel safe their bodies can relax. You may need help learning to relax and I can assist with this through various techniques (mindfulness exercises, breathing exercises, thought monitoring, meditation, and more). Once trust has been established and you have learned how to calm your thoughts and body, we will work to identify sources of anxiety and develop more coping skills to manage it. When you have gained stability and some mastery over your anxiety I may encourage you to join a therapy group. Group therapy can be extremely helpful in giving you the opportunity to explore and practice feeling and managing anxiety in the moment while navigating relationships.
Other things that help with anxiety:
- Healthy eating
- Good amount of sleep
- Lowering caffeine intake- less coffee and caffeinated soft drinks
- Prayer, Meditation, Mindfulness, Yoga
- Medication- I can refer you to a psychiatrist if you are interested
- Any relaxing activity- taking a long bath, walking, listening to music