Do you find yourself anxious at random times throughout the day? Maybe it comes and goes with no rhyme or reason? Have you ever experienced a panic attack? Is it difficult to even pinpoint what is causing your anxiety? If so, you are not alone.
Anxiety is one of the most common problems that people of our generation experience. It is probably the top issue people seek out my counseling services to help them with. I have even written several blog posts about anxiety because of it being so prevalent in our lives: Anxiety and Self-Worth
If you are experiencing anxiety, please know that regardless of how extreme it is, you deserve help. No one should live with chronic anxiety! It will take a serious toll on you mentally and physically over time if it is not addressed.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Many people think anxiety always presents as a panic attack, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Many individuals suffering from anxiety have never had an "anxiety attack." Here are some of the most common symptoms:
Feeling a loss of control
Inability to "turn off" your thoughts
Thinking worst case scenario
Feeling overwhelmed, even with small tasks
Loss of or increased appetite
Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
Feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or fainting
Numbness or tingling sensations
Increased heart rate
Getting Help For Anxiety
I work with my clients to help resolve anxiety with a two-step process: 1- Address the symptoms. If you are currently experiencing anxiety (daily, weekly, etc) we immediately being working together to learn grounding techniques that help to get you through that moment as quickly and painlessly as possible. We then build up a tool box of coping skills that can be used daily to help prevent symptoms from getting out of hand, minimizing the amount of anxiety you deal with on a daily basis. 2- Address the source. Once we have a foundation to deal with the immediate symptoms of your anxiety, we work to find the source. Often times, people are carrying around negative feelings from the past that have "snowballed" into what is now their current anxiety, and it doesn't even feel like it is related at all! Together, we work to reprocess the source so that it doesn't still have control over your present self.
Coping Skills For Anxiety
You can google "Coping Skills for Anxiety" and get a great list of things that are helpful, however it's really not easy to learn how to implement those ideas on your own. Working with a therapist means learning even more skills to add to your toolbox AND having a place to practice them so that they are effective. Being able to properly use the techniques that you learn and have someone holding you accountable to practicing them regularly will help you to feel immediate relief from at least some of your symptoms of anxiety.
Getting To The Core Of What Causes Anxiety
Some people just want coping skills to help them manage their anxiety. I understand that, but I always encourage people not to discount how getting to the core of the issue can free them from the constant need to "manage" their anxiety. Once some of the symptoms are better controlled, I highly encourage my clients to do the work to find the core issue (because there always is one). If you are curious about what a core issue could be and how it could still be impacting you, I suggest reading this post I wrote about how anxiety snowballs over time.