Do you feel overwhelmed?
Are you finding yourself feeling anxious more and more often?
Does anxiety stop you from doing the things you want to do?
Is anxiety affecting your relationships?
Do you find yourself avoiding things due to nervousness or worry?
Do you feel like everything’s out of control?
Anxiety is one of the most common things that brings people into counseling, with somewhere around 18% of the adult population experiencing high levels of anxiety in any given year. People often talk about anxiety “disorders,” but anxiety itself is a normal part of being alive. It’s an important survival response in humans that lets us know that something might be dangerous. We should get anxious in the face of danger - like a car coming too close to us or a person acting aggressively towards us. Anxiety tells us, “You aren’t safe! Something needs to change right away!”
The difficulty comes when this anxiety response starts to get out of control, maybe even show up when you’re not in actual danger. There are lots of reasons people are struggling more and more with anxiety these days, not least of which because we all have to juggle so much more. The pace of life keeps getting faster and the demands on our time greater. Think about how many ways people can get in touch with you now - phone, text, email, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram… Think about how often a new notification pops up on your phone, something that might be urgent, but might just be a distraction. Think about the demands of your job or school, of keeping up with friends, of staying in touch with family, of trying to find or build a healthy relationship. How do you keep track of it all?
Humans weren’t built for living this way. Our brains haven’t changed significantly since we built the first civilizations, and they’re certainly not adapted for the loud, fast, beeping, flashing, busy world we live in today. This means we often start to feel anxious to the point of being overwhelmed and out of control. The good news is, we actually know quite a bit about how to lower anxiety levels and live a calmer life, and I teach people how to do this every day.
Therapy Helps You Take Charge of Your Life Again
Therapy is an effective way to lower your anxiety levels and get back to living your life. When you work with me to address your anxiety, we approach the problem as a team. I create a warm, nonjudgmental space where we can start to explore the issue from all sides in order to find the best way forward for you. Some of the things we might discuss include:
•What things tend to make you feel especially anxious
•What physical things happen when you’re anxious, such as racing heart or difficulty breathing
•How the people around you respond to your anxiety and how this affects you
•What ways you’ve tried to manage your anxiety in the past
Once we have a good picture of what your experience with anxiety looks like, we can start to dig into solutions. Some things I often help clients to do are:
•Learning to reframe the way you think about things in order to challenge your anxiety
•Practicing grounding and relaxation techniques that help slow down the anxiety response
•Learning about how the brain works and how biology shapes your experience
•Finding ways to help put you back in the driver’s seat in your life
Everything we do together is personalized to fit your experience and needs. To do that, I use techniques from a few different kinds of counseling, checking in with you along the way to see what’s working and how you’re doing. I especially emphasize the mind-body connection and the ways in which caring for ourselves on all levels - mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical - helps us to manage anxiety and find peace.
I bring my warmth, compassion, and sense of humor to my work, creating a down-to-earth setting for you to dig deep. My clients leave my office with a better understanding of themselves, more compassion for themselves as they face life’s challenges, and increased confidence in their ability to weather life’s twists and turns.
But Do I Really Need Therapy?
There are lots of ways people have dealt with anxiety and stress throughout the ages. If you’re looking for information about anxiety, that probably means whatever you’ve been doing isn’t working so well for you these days and you need a new approach. You might find some relief using a meditation app or starting a yoga practice - in fact, I often encourage my clients to do these things! - but therapy is an effective, personalized way to hone in on what will work best for you. It’s a chance for you to really invest in your own wellbeing and build a foundation that will help you with life’s inevitable stressors.
But Doesn’t Going to Therapy Mean There’s Something Wrong With Me?
Nope! Remember those statistics up top about how prevalent anxiety is? That 18% of adults who experience high anxiety is nearly 1 in 5. That’s a whole lot of people who struggle with this. They are the people you meet every day - businesspeople, artists, writers, students, teachers, doctors, pretty much anyone you can think of. People who go to therapy for anxiety are taking a positive step to take care of themselves in a busy, demanding world. If you’d like to know more, read my blog post on why going to therapy doesn't mean you're weak or broken.
But Shouldn’t I Be Able to Handle This on My Own?
In my experience, people who are smart, thoughtful, and motivated often struggle the most with anxiety precisely because they are so hard on themselves about it. Chances are, you’ve already figured out some ways of handling anxiety - after all, you’ve been living with it for quite awhile. But when you’re feeling stuck, an objective outside perspective can help you to see things more clearly or consider things in a new, helpful way. When you go to therapy for anxiety, you’re adding more tools to your toolkit, something all of us can use once in awhile.
But Isn’t Therapy Expensive?
Therapy is an investment! The money you spend on counseling is money you’re spending on your wellbeing, your future, and your peace of mind. The right therapist is an invaluable guide and resource in your journey to a better life. Choosing to invest in therapy is one way to create the kind of life you want to live.
You Can Have A Better Life
If you’d like to know more, contact me to schedule your free 20 minute phone consultation. I’m looking forward to seeing how I can help you live a less anxious, more peaceful life!
Header and second body image copyright ©2017 Brennan C. Mallonee. All rights reserved
Additional images courtesy of Pixabay