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  • Sara

How Therapy Can Help You Manage Your Anxiety

Do you experience anxiety? Do you find yourself feeling tense, nervous, or on edge? If so, you're not alone. Anxiety is a common emotion that we all experience at times.

For some people, anxiety can be a chronic, overwhelming feeling that interferes with daily life. If you're struggling with anxiety, you may feel like you can't control your fears, or you may even avoid certain situations or activities.

Symptoms of anxiety can vary from person to person, but there are some common signs to look out for. If you're experiencing any of the following, it may be time to seek help from a professional:

• Feeling tense, nervous, or on edge

• Avoiding certain situations or activities

• Difficulty sleeping

• Difficulty concentrating

• Irritability

• Restlessness

• Sweating

• Trembling or shaking

• Shortness of breath

• Increase in heart rate

There are different types of anxiety disorders, too, and each one has its own set of symptoms. Here are some of the most common anxiety disorders:

Generalized anxiety disorder: This disorder is characterized by excessive worry and anxiety that is not linked to any specific situation or trigger.

Panic disorder: This disorder is characterized by sudden and intense periods of fear or anxiety, often accompanied by physical symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, and dizziness.

Agoraphobia: This disorder is characterized by a fear of situations or places where escape might be difficult, such as being in a crowd or being in an enclosed space.

Social anxiety disorder: This disorder is characterized by intense anxiety or fear of social situations, such as public speaking or meeting new people.

Specific phobias: These are characterized by a fear of a specific object or situation, such as heights, snakes, or flying.

For many, the idea of finding a therapist and going to therapy daunting. You may ask yourself, “How can I open up to this stranger?” or “What can they even do to help?” And while these are valid questions, a therapist is trained to listen to you in a safe space and help you develop coping mechanisms to heal.

There are many different ways to cope with anxiety. Self-care measures may be suggested such as relaxation techniques, exercise, or journaling. Or exposure therapy may also be employed which helps ease social anxiety and phobias. This involves exposing a person to their fears. Many therapists will teach you different breathing techniques, ways to distract yourself, mindfulness, and how to change your perspective and thought patterns, etc.

If you are worried about being judged by your therapist, don’t be. Your therapist is only there to help you. Discussing your symptoms is in a safe space is such an invaluable tool. It will help you regain self-confidence and eliminate thoughts and behaviors that are keeping you from living your best life.

After finding a therapist that best fits your needs, this professoinal will get to know you and your struggles. As your therapist gets to know you and your anxiety, they will better understand how they can help you. Remember, your therapist can only help you if you are honest with them. Hopefully, after a few sessions you will start feeling more comfortable opening up and talking about coping strategies. If you’re unable to open up, your therapist will have to work with what limited information they’re given and therapy will take more time.

Despite the fact that anxiety can't be cured, therapists can help you cope with its symptoms as long as you are honest and practice the coping mechanisms they teach you. If you expect change overnight you will be disappointed. Progress takes time and your individual progress will depend on the amount of effort you put in. Therapists are trained to get you to lead in your own mental health healing journey. If they lead for you, progress will be limited. However, if you learn and begin to employ the techniques discussed, these will have staying power.

Another huge part of therapy is getting a better understanding of your anxiety. Therapists will not only teach you how to manage your anxiety, but also educate you on what is causing your symptoms. Many people with anxiety like to be able to predict change and understand what is happening to them or around them. Having anxiety makes control feel comforting because you know what is going to happen and why. Therapists can help you understand your actions and thoughts better by putting them into a different perspective. By helping you understand why you may be thinking or acting a certain way it can help you learn how to handle your thoughts and actions.

Therapists are there to help you and teach you how to cope. Therapy should always be a safe place for you to express yourself and learn how to live with your anxiety. Finding and starting therapy may seem scary, but once you do, you can truly start learning how to live a healthy life.


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