• Irene Campbell

Can Therapy Help Anxiety?

Imagine that you are needing to go to the grocery store. You’ve put it off for several days but you’ve got nothing left to eat except a can of tomato soup and some stale carrots. You’re driving in your car and you start to notice your palms feel a little sweaty. You notice your heart is beating a little faster, and as you pull into a parking spot your stomach starts to flutter. You’ve got to get out of the car but you can’t. You’re frozen. Your mind is blank. What’s going on? You’re thinking to yourself something is wrong, but how can this be? You’ve been to the store before, it’s not a big deal. And yet, you start thinking: it’s too much, you can’t decide what to buy, what if you have to talk to someone, what if you panic in the store and someone sees you?

Does any of this sound familiar? Anxiety is a common feeling that many people experience on a daily basis. While some anxiety and stress is normal, such as test anxiety or before an interview, it becomes problematic when it interferes with your day to day life and keeps you from doing the things you normally do.

Here are some signs that you might be experiencing anxiety:

  • You worry about anything and everything all the time.

  • You find it hard to concentrate or your mind often goes blank.

  • You have trouble falling asleep because your mind won’t stop going.

  • You have trouble eating or you overeat to deal with your feelings

Do any of these sound familiar? Anxiety can be crippling. You may struggle to get through the day. It might be hard for you to be around other people and to just enjoy life. It might keep you from doing your best work. You might even find it hard to do the things you normally enjoy doing.

So, how can therapy help you with your anxiety? Therapists help clients figure out ways of coping with anxious thoughts and feelings. A therapist can help you recognize negative thoughts, challenge them, and replace them with more realistic thoughts. By changing the thoughts you have, you can change the way you feel and lessen your anxiety.

Therapists can also help by identifying health coping skills to deal with anxious thoughts. For example, relaxation techniques have been shown to be helpful in reducing physical symptoms of anxiety, like muscle tension. Mindfulness is another effective tool for dealing with negative and anxious thoughts. Working with a therapist can help you manage your anxiety, find relief, and help you feel more in control of your life.

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