All About Anxiety

What is anxiety?

Do you feel on-edge, tense, or agitated? Are your thoughts constantly circling around future fears or stressors? Have you spent late nights lying awake in your bed and unable to quiet your mind?

You might struggle with symptoms of anxiety – and you are not alone!

Anxiety is a complex response to stress. Similar to fear, which is an intense reaction to a clear and present danger, anxiety can manifest psychologically, emotionally, and physically to future threats.

Each of these are inseparable and connected, which is why I offer treatment that addresses all three. Read on to learn more!

Psychological Symptoms

When we have anxiety, our mind tends to race. We think about future consequences – what will happen to me, what if that person doesn’t like me, what if I am not good enough? We think about things that make us afraid, like social situations, and how we can avoid them. We doubt, we fret, and we run through the same cycle of worry over and over. Although these thoughts can sometimes help us plan ahead and prepare for the future, they often end up making us miserable.

Some of the most common psychological symptoms of anxiety include constant worry about the future, difficulty controlling worry, worrying too much about things, having racing thoughts, confusion, and/or “circular thinking”:

Rather than continue the cycle, you can learn to reframe your thinking in a way that changes your emotional reaction to the stress – and I can help you do that.

To help with these symptoms, I offer holistic talk-therapy using a Cognitive-Behavioral and trauma-focused approach. This allows clients to fully express themselves and identify the root cause of their anxiety.

Emotional Symptoms

In addition to the thoughts, anxiety also causes strong emotional reactions. We feel a sense of unease, dread, or panic, as if something terrible is about to happen. The feeling of anxiety reminds us of previous experiences of fear or embarrassment, sometimes making us feel like we have gone back to those moments.

The emotional process of anxiety also acts as motivation for some sort of action. For example, if you feel anxious about being fired from your job for showing up late, you will feel motivated to wake up early and leave on time.

However, many people struggle with too much anxious motivation, or unhealthy anxiety. Some examples of this might include overachieving to the point of burnout or exhaustion, unfounded feelings of mistrust in a relationship, difficulty feeling accomplished or “good enough,” and/or low self-esteem or self-worth.

Sometimes our anxiety is deeper than the thoughts, which is why I offer expressive arts therapy. Clients are given the opportunity to be creative via guided imagery, visualization, and a sand tray technique that offers clients with an entirely new way to tap into the emotions that may be difficult to put into words.

Physical Symptoms

I strongly believe that every psychological and emotional problem is rooted in the body, and anxiety is no exception. When anxiety strikes, the body responds by readying us for the oncoming threat. Our heart beats faster, our blood vessels dilate, and our digestive system slows down so that energy can be used to keep other essential organs on high alert.

Our bodies are primed to freeze, flee, or fight when danger is near. When this happens, people tend to report physical symptoms of anxiety such as nausea or queasiness, racing heart, panic attacks, shaking, nail-biting, restlessness, aches and pains, and digestive issues

In addition to talk and expressive arts therapy, I also offer body-based approaches to directly confront these more physical manifestations of anxiety. To learn more about how each of these treatment options are used in therapy, contact me today!

How can I cope with anxiety?

Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time.

This is good, because anxiety serves an important purpose in keeping you safe and motivated. In other words, if you never felt anxious, you wouldn’t think to look both ways when crossing the street or pay your bills on time.

However, long-lasting and exaggerated anxiety has been found to cause medical problems, such as disease, obesity, diabetes, and other issues, and so it is important to learn how to cope.

The most effective way to deal with anxiety is psychotherapy (Carpenter et al, 2018), which allows you to identify the root of the problem and break the cycle. I always encourage people who struggle with anxiety to connect with a counselor, but there are some things you can do to cope with anxiety on your own.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Be physically active for at least 15 minutes each day. Even a short walk before school or work can make a significant difference with your mood. Give your body a chance to expend some of that anxious energy in a productive, healthy manner.
  2. Decrease caffeine intake. Caffeine can sometimes worsen symptoms of anxiety, as it can increase heartrate and speed up your thoughts. Try replacing your afternoon soda or coffee with warm broth, chamomile tea, or good old-fashioned water.
  3. Keep a thought journal. Anxiety tends to scatter our thoughts and make us feel disorganized. Try using a journal to put some of those thoughts down on paper, and do not worry about keeping it tidy or well-written. A thought journal is all about downloading some of your mental space to make room for more important things.

How will therapy help my anxiety?

You do not have to do this alone.

As a counselor who practices psychotherapy for anxiety as well as expressive arts therapy and body-based techniques, my approach to treatment is uniquely tailored to you. We will meet one-on-one in my Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina office to provide you with a safe, completely confidential space to work through your anxiety.

My treatment is designed to help people learn to:

  • Relax the mind and body
  • Sleep better
  • Be well and feel healthy
  • Think positively and use self-compassion
  • Cope with stress in healthy ways
  • Be curious and self-reflective
  • Be authentic and present in relationships

I know that, with the right support, you have the power to overcome your struggles. Let me be that support. Together, we can help you live the happier, healthier life that you deserve.

To learn more about how I can help, Contact Me today! 603-852-2009

222 W Coleman Blvd
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

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