Are you often restless, edgy, or irritable? Do intrusive thoughts that project into the future cause a sense of dread or apprehension? As much as you try to relax and enjoy life, does it feel like you can’t shut off your brain?
Having anxiety is like living with a nagging inner voice that constantly points out what could go wrong. When thoughts of “What if…” relentlessly churn through your mind, it can make it difficult to concentrate at work or home. Even when things are going relatively well, you might become preoccupied with ruminating over potential worst-case scenarios.
Perhaps you’re not aware of how anxiety manifests in your body. But when unpleasant physical symptoms—like a racing heart, sweaty palms, dry mouth, and pit in your stomach—accompany your racing thoughts, it can be hard to ignore. At its worst, situations that cause high anxiety might lead to panic attacks where it’s hard to breathe and you feel like you might die.
To keep panic attacks at bay, you might avoid anything stressful, such as social gatherings, large crowds, traveling, or driving on highways. Although avoidance offers a temporary solution, it’s at the expense of living freely with no constraints. Being cut off from what you want to be doing could make you feel isolated and frustrated. What’s more, it might also be putting a strain on your relationships.
You only wish you could quiet your mind and find peace. Luckily, anxiety therapy can help you find the answers you seek. Working with a therapist allows you to explore the underlying root of your anxiety and identify better coping skills for managing stress.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that “27.3 percent of American adults—which breaks down to one in four people—have symptoms of an anxiety disorder.” Alongside depression, anxiety is the most prevalent mental health disorder in the world. But despite its prevalence, “only 36.9 percent of sufferers seek treatment for anxiety disorders.”
In our go-go-go society, expectations are set high. For many, we were raised to strive for higher education so we could land a well-paying job. What’s more, social media drives us to present ourselves as living our best life, even when we aren’t. If we have perfectionistic tendencies, these external pressures coupled with how we already push ourselves can lead us to a breaking point. Between people-pleasing behavior and comparing ourselves to others, anxiety takes hold.
Not everyone with anxiety realizes just how much it can impact every facet of life. Rather than gaining perspective about its physical and emotional effects, many of us have gotten used to living with anxiety and never sought therapy. As a result, we’ve never learned good coping skills or considered how much better we could feel if only we understood what contributes to our anxious thoughts.
Counseling offers you helpful guidance to recognize symptoms and reduce anxiety. Whether you struggle with social situations, panic attacks, or intrusive thoughts, anxiety treatment can provide you with effective evidence-based solutions.
Currently, anxiety may be the air that you breathe. Because it’s all you have known, you might not realize what is underlying your anxiety and that there is a better way of feeling. Therapy offers you a safe, supportive, and judgment-free environment to examine and process your emotions. Your therapist aims to build a strong rapport with you so that whatever is on your mind can be expressed freely and without shame.
We want therapy to be a collaborative experience that addresses your priorities and concerns. Your therapist will help you identify what you hope to achieve in anxiety treatment as well as gain an understanding of your symptoms and how they currently affect your life.
Anxiety often stems from deep-rooted issues that may go back to childhood. Perhaps you’ve always been a people-pleaser or struggled with low self-esteem. Or maybe you are a perfectionist and, although anxiety may drive your success, it also hinders you from feeling at peace. Whatever the root cause, your therapist will help you identify what may underlie your anxious behavior, as well as what maintains it, so you can better understand your emotions and what drives you.
Our integrative approach to therapy offers a variety of different modalities that have each been shown to reduce the symptoms of anxiety. In addition to psychodynamic therapy, your counselor might draw from elements of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to address your anxiety.
CBT for anxiety offers helpful coping skills, such as challenging distorted thoughts that project into the future and predict catastrophe. Because behavior follows thoughts, quieting negative self-talk can help you cultivate a more positive attitude which, in turn, will open you up to new possibilities. With DBT you can learn grounding techniques, such as mindfulness, that keep you in the present moment and out of anxious “What if” thinking patterns.
ACT is utilized as a way to connect with the full spectrum of your emotions, rather than avoiding feelings you may find difficult to confront or acknowledge. By accepting that these deeper emotions are appropriate responses to life’s more challenging circumstances, you can experience a broader range of authentic feelings.
When you decide to seek therapy, a whole new way of life becomes possible. You can breathe easier, relax, and just “be.”
If you’ve always been anxious, it may be impossible for you to imagine the type of person you would be if anxiety was no longer a factor. Or perhaps you associate the success you’ve achieved in life with your anxiety and some part of you worries that you won’t thrive without it. But if anxiety makes it hard to relax or sleep, on some level, you probably realize that anxiety is making you suffer.
Even if you’ve had severe anxiety your whole life, treatment can help. Long-held chronic symptoms, like insomnia or nervous stomach, can be addressed.
If you struggle with panic attacks, it can be scary not knowing when the next one will strike. For this reason, learning how to curb panic attacks before they start might be one of the main reasons why you’re seeking anxiety treatment. Fortunately, utilizing the coping tools that CBT and DBT offer can help you recognize the onset of a panic attack and practice self-soothing techniques to keep your symptoms from escalating into a full-blown anxiety attack.
You might have held off on looking into treatment because you’re concerned that once you start anxiety counseling, you will never end therapy. However, working with a therapist can be as short or long-term as you want it to be. If you enter therapy with specific goals and those goals are met, you may decide that you are done. It’s ultimately up to you to determine what feels right to you.
We are ready to partner with you on a path to wellness. If you would like to find out more about anxiety therapy with Whole Health Psychological Center, please visit our contact page or call (561) 721-6400 to schedule a phone consultation.
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Sports Psychology is the use of psychological knowledge and skills to encourage optimal performance and well-being of athletes. It also addresses the developmental, social, and systemic components of sports and the organizations, coaches, and players involved.