"The greatest weapon against stress is our ability
to choose one thought over another."
Do You Feel Overwhelmed by Fear or Worry?
Do you find yourself frequently worrying and having difficulty controlling your anxious thoughts? Do you have a persistent sense that something is going to go wrong and you won’t be able to handle it? Are you having a hard time focusing and often feel distracted by your fears? Perhaps you believe people around you are judging you, and you worry about criticism and rejection. Maybe you fear a particular type of experience or situation, such as attending a crowded event, meeting new people or going to an unfamiliar place. You might often be physically uncomfortable and self-conscious in stressful situations, resulting in feeling jittery, on edge and sweaty. It may be that you’ve experienced a panic attack, with a racing heart, shortness of breath, upset stomach, numbness and a belief that you are having a heart attack or even dying. Are you withdrawing from friends and family, shunning responsibilities, procrastinating or avoiding certain situations because you feel consumed by self-doubt, worry and dread? Do you feel your decisions are dictated by fear? Do you wish you could be more at peace, confident and better equipped to engage in a more fulfilling and meaningful life as your authentic self?
Living with anxiety can be draining, frustrating, isolating and painful. Perhaps a life transition has provoked a sense of emotional shock, and you feel helpless and out-of-control. Concerns regarding your family, career, health, finances or life purpose might be uncontrollably looping through your mind. You might worry that something is terribly wrong with you and that relief isn’t possible. Perhaps your fears are interrupting your ability to complete basic tasks, such as going to the grocery store, attending an event or leaving your residence. As your mind surges with anxious thoughts, making sleep elusive, you may experience fatigue, fogginess, irritability and an inability to focus. You may be trying to cope by numbing your distressing feelings and sensations through drinking, substance use or other unhealthy distractions. Maybe you are doing all that you think you can on your own to reduce your anxiety but to no avail, finding that you continue to struggle, and it is becoming even more difficult to cope. This constant state of worry and distress may be making you feel sick, physically and emotionally exhausted and unable to live the authentic life that you desire.
Anxiety Is A Normal Part of Life
If you feel consumed by anxious thoughts, feelings and sensations, you are not alone. Anxiety is the most common mental health issue in the United States. According to the National Institutes of Health Informatics, 18 percent of Americans will struggle with an anxiety disorder in their lifetimes. Even more will experience anxiety symptoms. While anxiety is common across all cultures and all socioeconomic backgrounds, it is particularly prevalent in the United States. In our fast-paced society, we often feel compelled to “keep up with the Joneses” and measure our happiness by our wealth and external accomplishments. So many of us feel empty and insecure even as we push ourselves to excel.
Struggling with anxiety doesn’t mean you are broken or flawed. In fact, anxiety can be a healthy tool. Anxiety serves us by motivating us to follow through on our commitments, such as paying the bills on time. It also protects us by ensuring, for example, we look both ways before we cross the street. Anxiety is a normal response to stress or danger. We are hard-wired to find anxiety unpleasant. After all, if we weren’t, we might gravitate toward dangerous situations. When we feel threatened, the brain and body go into flight/fight/freeze mode, which is linked to our instinct for self-preservation. Back when we were cave people, anxiety helped us anticipate the tiger and run away before it pounced. Still, today—even though it is unlikely that a tiger is lurking around the corner—we have this emergency response system encoded in our brains. The problem, however, is that when anxiety sets in, the brain can’t distinguish between a real threat and a perceived threat. We experience all of the sensations of danger—elevated pulse, tense muscles, shortness of breath—even when we are perfectly safe.
Although worry and stress are normal, if you feel like the tiger is always chasing you, you may be struggling with an anxiety disorder, such as a specific phobia, panic disorder, social anxiety, performance anxiety, generalized anxiety or a combination of these. If so, there is help and hope for relief. As a trained and skilled anxiety therapist, I have helped many clients learn how to effectively manage their anxious symptoms. By gaining an understanding of how anxiety functions in the body and in the mind and learning realistic tools for coping with stress, you can begin living with authenticity and peace.
Anxiety Treatment Can Help You Live a Happy, Healthy, and Productive Life
I have helped many people learn new ways to manage anxiety, build confidence and discover their true selves. In my practice, I utilize effective, evidence-based approaches, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy ACT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. I understand that anxiety affects everyone differently, which is why I draw from these various modalities, among others, to create an approach that best fits your unique situation, personality, needs and therapy goals. I do not believe that one size fits all in anxiety therapy. I am a solution-focused anxiety therapist who creates a safe, nonjudgmental, empathic space for you to speak openly and honestly about your concerns, fears and hopes so that, together, we can achieve your goals.
During anxiety treatment sessions, I will guide you through a protocol that will allow you to find immediate relief, along with the comfort of knowing that you are not alone. I use the “Three Cs” of anxiety management: Calming your body, Correcting your thinking and Confronting your fears.
First, you will learn the skills to help you Calm your body. I will help you better understand and recognize physical anxiety symptoms before they become overwhelming. I often hear from my clients that they have anxiety about their anxiety. Once clients learn that what is happening in their bodies is normal, and that their bodies are not betraying them, they no longer fear as greatly their sensations of anxiety. My clients learn specific relaxation skills to help them effectively regulate their bodies’ automatic responses to stressful situations. By learning how to stabilize yourself, through mindfulness and an increased awareness of your body in the moment, you can learn how to deactivate the fight/flight/freeze response and activate the relaxation response.
We will also work on the second “C” of anxiety management, learning to Correct your thinking. When we are highly anxious, we are likely too focused on dangers and threats, while not noticing information that might be reassuring or encouraging. In session, you will learn to recognize negative, harmful thoughts that do not serve you. You can learn specific skills to help you challenge those thoughts and question their validity. For example, if you believe that your work presentation is going to be a disaster, we can explore why you believe that. Is your prediction of failure based on evidence or the fear of the unknown? By challenging your negative thoughts, you can begin to replace them with healthier, more realistic ways of thinking, including acknowledgment of your capability, strengths and skills. You will learn to speak to yourself with self-compassion and self-respect.
The final “C” is learning to Confront your fears and make positive changes in your behaviors. Most people experiencing anxiety tend to avoid situations that may increase fear and trigger anxious symptoms. However, that is often not a very helpful strategy. Avoidance only serves to make us more fearful of the situation and may keep us from doing things we value and enjoy. When you believe you are ready, I will support you in taking those crucial steps necessary to face your fears and move forward with greater resiliency and self-assurance.
Stressful things are always going to happen. However, you can develop tools and strategies to effectively manage negative thoughts and uncomfortable sensations. Additionally, you will learn coping skills that you can implement in moments of emotional and physical distress. You don’t have to suffer or let worry and fear continue to limit your life. With support and guidance, you can learn to relax your body, quiet your mind, embrace possibility and create an authentic, fulfilling life.
You may believe that anxiety therapy can help you calm your body and mind, but still have questions or concerns…
How long will anxiety treatment take...
Often, when people think about therapy, they think it will take years. My therapeutic approach is to work together to give you the skills you need, as quickly as possible, to relieve your anxiety. I use techniques that get results. In a gentle and respectful way, I help people get to the root of their issues quickly, using specific tools to decrease stress levels and foster stability. Many clients report that they feel relief soon after learning more about how anxiety functions in the brain and body. What you are experiencing is perfectly normal, and it is possible to quickly break the cycle of negative thoughts, create calm in your body and cope with stress in positive, productive ways.
Talking about my worries will just make them worse...
I know that taking the first step toward relief can be overwhelming, especially with the anxiety that you are already experiencing. It takes courage to face your fears. I have helped, and continue to help, many clients by creating a safe space that allows you to feel vulnerable, understood and heard. While it can be uncomfortable, talking about your worries is the first step toward relief. Avoidance only buries the issue, which allows it to take root and grow even larger. Many clients report that their anxiety decreases very shortly after beginning to talk about their issues with a skilled, highly trained, nonjudgmental professional such as myself.
If everyone struggles with anxiety from time to time, maybe I don’t need help...
While it’s true that anxiety is a normal part of the human experience, it can sometimes develop to an unmanageable level. And, severe anxiety can have a significant impact on your physical health, including heart and digestive issues. If you are avoiding opportunities, withdrawing from relationships or isolating yourself at home because you fear the worst-case scenario, it may be time to seek help.
You Don’t Have to Suffer Alone
I invite you to call me for a free, 15-30 minute phone consultation at 480-427-3553 or contact me here. We can discuss your specific needs, and I can answer questions you have about anxiety treatment, social anxiety treatment, phobia counseling, panic attack treatment, performance anxiety counseling and my practice.