- Do you find yourself worrying about things that do not matter?
- Do you avoid activities due to distress?
- Do you wake up in the morning fearful of how you will handle the day?
- Do you second-guess yourself and struggle to make simple decisions?
Healthy Anxiety Vs. Unhealthy Anxiety
We have all felt anxiety at some point of our lives. A certain level of anxiety is healthy; It is designed to alert your brain when something is not quite right, helping you identify danger. You may become anxious prior to a big exam, starting a new job, going out on a first date, meeting people, or taking on other new challenges. Healthy anxiety and stress can at times serve as a signpost pointing to issues you may need to focus on and address. Healthy anxiety serves a purpose, but when this naturally occurring safety mechanism starts to malfunction, anxiety therapy can help.
Why Am I Feeling Stressed For No Reason?
When faced with stressors, our minds and bodies kick into an involuntary physical and psychological response mode called the “fight or flight response.” This response allows us to avoid what we perceive to be a threat to our safety, keeping us safe. This has helped humanity to avoid physical danger throughout our evolution.
Today, we are not faced with as much potential peril as our distant ancestors were. Despite that, we still sometimes respond emotionally and physically to minor stressors such as a stranger cutting in front of us in line as if we were battling for our lives. Many medical and mental health professional believe that a contributing factor to many people’s anxiety is our fight or flight responses being repeatedly or inappropriately triggered.
Do I Need Therapy For Anxiety?
If your anxiety warrants clinical attention, you might experience a horrible feeling that tends to creep up at the worst possible time. You could be at a restaurant with your friends, at a social gathering with your partner, or giving an important speech at your school or job, and when you least expect it, your heart starts pounding out of your chest. You find yourself dizzy and disoriented, sweating profusely, and feeling like you can barely breathe.
You might ask yourself: “Am I having a heart attack? Should I go to the emergency room? Am I dying?” You might manage to calm yourself down and go about your tasks, only to later reflect on what had happened. Upon reflection, you might question yourself: “Was I just nervous? Did I have too much coffee? Were people around me doing something to make me nervous?” You might continue to rationalize, all while avoiding asking yourself an even more important question: “Did I just have a panic attack?”
You might reassure yourself that “I know what I will do next time to make sure this never happens again.” This can start a cycle of avoidance.
Life with anxiety involves a lot of physical symptoms that you might not realize you even have. This often results in a very common-sense response: “I know I didn’t feel well today, so until I know exactly what caused my physical feelings, I will avoid anything that may have caused this.” The problem with this approach, though, is that you are not identifying the psychological cause of your anxiety—only a trigger.
By eliminating behaviors, events, and places that trigger you, you will miss out on precious life events. The result is more isolation, increased depression, and because the entire process of avoidance tends to be unsuccessful, more anxiety.
Does Therapy Work for Anxiety?
There are several effective options for anxiety treatment. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable with various forms of talk therapy. A therapist specializing in anxiety might use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, or reality-testing-based psychotherapy as front-line forms of treatment.
CBT typically explores the relationships between your thoughts, your beliefs, and your behaviors. Exposure therapy can supports you as you gradually confront and address any debilitating anxiety you may be experiencing. Reality testing can help you explore your reactions to events and different interpretations of reality to restore a healthy balance. Mindfulness and meditation exercises are often also included in anxiety therapy as a means of reducing and managing your anxiety symptoms.
Medications are sometimes prescribed by a psychiatrist for persistent and overwhelming symptoms. In addition, many turn to alternative measures for assistance such as acupuncture, massage therapy, yoga, or meditation. However, it is highly recommended that you speak with a primary physician and/or mental health provider before selecting any alternative treatments.
How Anxiety Therapy Can Help
At HJK Therapy Services, we know that people who struggle with anxiety work very hard to avoid their triggers in an attempt to avoid anxiety. A person who struggles with anxiety must constantly manipulate their environment to assure they are staying one step ahead of their triggers. Why? Anxiety can pop up anywhere at any time. For so many, it becomes difficult to be honest with themselves and others as they struggle to manage life. Their anxiety starts to affect their relationships, their work, their academic endeavors, and their overall happiness.
Our psychotherapists understand how difficult it is to manage anxiety, so we appreciate and respect the efforts you’ve made to work through the process. We can teach you ways to feel comfortable with your emotions and not have to constantly adapt your environment. Anxiety therapy can even help you to reduce or eliminate panic attacks by teaching you to recognize and better understand the triggers in your environment and how best to respond to them.
There are many benefits of therapy for anxiety. Anxiety treatment will help you become comfortable with your emotions and develop healthy coping techniques that allow you to participate in life events that are important to you.
If you experience anxiety, you are not alone. Anxiety does not have to disrupt your life. Schedule an appointment online via the button below. Or, if you’re still wondering if our therapy center is the right option for you, call 312-778-5115 now for a free, 15-minute consultation.