You are not alone.
Wrestling with anxiety? Know from the beginning of this blog that you are not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 31.1% or almost 1 out of 3 Americans have struggled with some kind of anxiety disorder. If you are considering seeing a counselor to help deal with your anxiety, you may be wondering exactly how it could help you. Here are three ways a counselor can help ease your anxiety:
A counselor can help provide more information about anxiety.
While anxiety is a pretty common experience among many individuals, few fully understand the function of anxiety. As a counselor, one of the best ways I can help ease your anxiety is increasing your understanding of what anxiety is and why it’s present in your body. Anxiety is actually a healthy part of our lives. If you ever find yourself in a dark alley in the middle of the night and you hear footsteps behind you, you want your body to respond appropriately. Your heart rate will need to increase in order to pump blood to your organs if you need to run. Your mind will need to eliminate needless distractions and hone in on the sounds around you. Anxiety is meant to help us deal with real or perceived danger. We cannot completely turn off our body’s own alarm system.
However, if you’re at a well-lit grocery store in the middle of the day, yet your body’s “alarm” system is going off, then not only is this response inconvenient, it’s utilizing resources in an ineffective way. The goal of therapy is not to completely eliminate anxiety from your life, but to help you understand why you have anxiety in the first place and help you manage it in a healthy way.
A counselor can help you explore the sources of your anxiety in a safe place.
Think about something. If you had a cough, that cough could be because of a myriad of sources. It could be some spicy food from your favorite Mexican restaurant or it could be the flu. Taking the time to determine the appropriate source of the symptom can help us manage our symptoms more efficiently. Therapists are trained to be strategic in understanding your unique experience with anxiety.
Consider Cindy and Jessica. Two women, mid-30s who have a mild form of social anxiety, becoming increasingly uncomfortable in crowds. Both women struggle with the anxiety symptoms of increased heart rate, sweaty palms, and racing thoughts. Upon further investigation, you figure out that Cindy’s anxiety comes from a specific negative experience where she was embarrassed during a middle school play. Jessica’s social anxiety came from her mother drilling into her head that crowds are unsafe and she could get trampled to death. A licensed counselor, like those at SEVN Therapy Co., can help you get specific about exactly what is fueling your anxiety. Clearly understanding the source can help you appropriately deal with the symptoms.
Learn healthy tools to cope with anxiety.
I want to share hope concerning anxiety. I know some anxiety symptoms may feel debilitating and overwhelming. If you’ve had a panic attack, some clients have described the feeling as having a full-on heart attack. Therapy itself can be a powerful tool to help you manage those symptoms. Through cognitive behavioral methods, you can learn to slow down your brain to assess the thoughts that are fueling the anxiety in your body. Anxiety does not have to have the final say in your life.
Some therapy tools we use in session include:
- Identifying Cognitive Distortions
- Cognitive Restructuring
- Strategic Relaxation Training
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Now, these may sound complicated but the reality is, all of these tools (and more) are meant to help arm you with useful weapons to attack anxiety head on. A counselor will also teach you not only what tools to use but how to use each tool to help alleviate the inconvenience of your anxiety symptoms and put your anxiety in its proper place.
Schedule an intake session
Therapy can be a huge step, so it is okay to have questions and concerns. Whether you’ve been struggling with anxiety for a day or a decade, know that there is help available for you. At SEVN Therapy Co., I would be honored to walk alongside you as you learn more about your anxiety, pinpoint where it comes from, and become equipped with tools to manage your anxiety more effectively. Feel free to use this link to schedule a session with me at SEVN Therapy Co. in Colleyville, Texas or call our office at 817-778-0522.