Experiencing some level of anxiety is common in our fast-paced world, but living with heightened anxiety can be tormenting.
Is anxiety getting in the way of living the life you want?
Are you consumed by worries or fears in different areas of your life?
Do you feel like you are under intense pressure all of the time?
Is it difficult to relax?
Are you exhausted a lot of the time?
Is anxiety impacting your relationships with important people in your life?
Do you want to regain balance and vitality?
Heightened anxiety is overwhelming and frustrating. You have probably tried to control your anxiety on your own only to find that the worries, fears, and physical signs of anxiety come back again and again (often even more intensely than before).
Many people try to numb anxiety through food, alcohol, or drugs (prescription or otherwise); avoid situations and activities that make the anxiety worse; or become controlling and rigid to manage the overwhelm. These strategies, although well-intentioned, often lead to even more anxiety as well as a host of other issues including lower self-esteem, addiction, depression, guilt, self-judgement, relationship problems, physical health issues, and many more.
Trying to cope with heightened anxiety on your own can be so disheartening, and the high demands society places on us can make it especially hard to talk to others about struggles. If you feel alone, overwhelmed, and stuck-I understand, and I may be able to help.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural physical reaction to life’s stressors. This reaction shows up as an uncomfortable physical feeling that you may sense in your chest or upper abdomen. Anxiety shows up as fear, apprehension, or dread related to real or possible future situations situations. Anxiety is usually accompanied by many physical symptoms, including:
Feeling nervous, tense, or restless
Feeling drained, tired, or weak
Trouble falling or staying asleep
Physical pain in different parts of the body; including head, chest, back and abdomen
Increased heart rate
Rapid and shallow breathing
Anxiety alerts us of difficulties and encourages us to handle them appropriately. For example, it is completely normal and healthy to feel anxiety before speaking in public, when a work-related deadline is approaching, in a room full of strangers, or while walking alone through a park late at night. However, anxiety can become disproportionate to actual life stressors and even show up without any external causes. It can turn into chronic heightened anxiety. This transition from normal situation-dependent anxiety to heightened anxiety happens when our mind goes into overdrive.
What is worry?
We begin to engage in worry, which is a type of thinking that focuses on imagining stressful scenarios in the past or future. This type of thinking triggers the feeling of anxiety. Worry functions as a way to help us solve problems in our life by allowing us to look at all possible outcomes of a given situation. However, worry thoughts often become habitual, repetitive, and circular which leads to heightened anxiety.
The two types of worry:
There are two types of worry; one is helpful to us and the other is not. Helpful worry is focused on solving concrete problems that you are currently facing in your life. It allows you to manage circumstances that you have some control over. For example, you worry about completing a work project on time and decide to ask your team for help to make sure you meet the deadline; you feel empowered and supported.
Meanwhile, unhelpful worry is overly focused on ‘what-if’ and ‘worst-case’ scenarios and is related to circumstances that you have little or no control over. It is excessive, habitual, repetitive, and frightening. This type of worry actually reduces your ability to problem solve effectively because it takes up your mental and physical capacities. Excessive worry leads to the anxiety response, and often keeps us feeling anxious throughout the day and night, which wears down our system. For example, you worry about completing a work project on time. You worry that if you ask your team for help, they will judge you as needy, incompetent, and stupid. You worry that you will lose your job if you do not complete projects on time. These worries make it hard to concentrate and get work done; your body is tense, your mind is clouded, you feel fear, dread, and shame as the deadline approaches.
You may be engaging in unhelpful worry if you:
Worry frequently or for long periods of time
Find yourself worrying about small things that you know most people do not worry about
Find it difficult to stop worrying
Rarely come up with a solution when worrying about a problem
Believe that if you didn’t worry, something bad would happen
Worry when things are going ‘too well’ in your life
Have difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly
Excessive worry quickly becomes a habit that we rely on all the time. Most things that we worry about never end up happening, which can lead our mind to form a false connection. We may come to believe that if we worry long enough about a possible problem, it will not happen.
Often times, we use worry and anxiety to distract us from deeper things that bother us. We may avoid painful emotions, beliefs, deep fears, yearnings, or memories which seem too overwhelming or unacceptable to face. We do so by keeping our mind busy with problems; especially ones that we have little control over. Anxiety is often a symptom; it calls our attention and asks us to take a closer look at ourselves and what is and is not working in our lives.
One of the most common reasons that motivates people to come to therapy is heightened anxiety. I believe that working through heightened anxiety in therapy is a great opportunity to rediscover yourself and revive your innate capacities, allowing you to regain balance and vitality in all areas of your life.
If you have heightened anxiety:
You may not be living life in accordance with your goals, values, and dreams.
You may feel disconnected from yourself and misunderstood by others.
You may feel tremendous pressure to do, to achieve, to move forward; without being able to enjoy the process.
Your sense of self-worth may be tied up in what you do rather than who you are.
You may have unrealistically high expectations for yourself and for others.
You may believe that if others really knew you, they would not accept you.
It may be hard to know what you really need and want.
You may have a gnawing sense that this is not how life is supposed to be.
You may wonder if you will ever be truly happy and fulfilled.
I have helped many people untangle the root causes of heightened anxiety; allowing them to achieve lasting change and find real joy and meaning in their lives. I show up authentically and offer a warm and supportive environment in which you can look inward and restore balance. During the process, I also teach the skills needed to manage anxiety in daily life. This combination of deep healing with essential skills is the formula for lasting change.
You may be interested in therapy, but you may still have some concerns...
“Isn’t therapy expensive?”
Therapy certainly isn’t cheap, but good quality therapy is an investment in your well-being for your entire life. I offer my clients lasting relief from anxiety by teaching them skills to manage anxiety levels in day-to-day life, as well as helping them to untangle the underlying causes of heightened anxiety to bring them back into natural balance. Working through unresolved issues from the past in therapy can allow you to be truly free to fully experience the present without being overwhelmed by worries, fears, and ‘what-if’ scenarios.
“Won’t talking about all of this make me more anxious?”
It is not uncommon to experience some level of anxiety during the healing process. Which is why I begin my work with clients by establishing a safe and supportive relationship which we use as a foundation throughout our work. I also start by teaching my clients skills and strategies to manage anxiety and overwhelm, which they can rely on as the healing process unfolds in and outside of therapy.
“Isn’t therapy for crazy people?”
There is certainly still some stigma associated with therapy. However, this stigma doesn’t stop many high functioning people from coming to work with me to make their lives more balanced and fulfilling through deep healing. All people, myself included, experience difficulties at some points in our lives and we are also all innately oriented towards growth and healing. Therapy can help you tap into your internal resources to overcome life difficulties such as heightened anxiety; allowing you to regain balance in your life.
It is hard to take the first step towards healing heightened anxiety, especially when you are plagued by worries and fears much of the time. I understand and work to establish a safe, supportive, and authentic connection from the very start. I have helped many people bring their life back into balance by helping them heal the underlying causes of their heightened anxiety with innovative approaches, and I may be able to help you.
Start on a path towards freedom, call me today for a free phone consultation. You can ask me any questions that you have about anxiety treatment, my practice, and my unique approach to helping clients heal once and for all.