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  • How Counselling Therapy Can Help For Anxiety

    Millions of people around the world deal with stress and anxiety on a daily basis. Whether it’s a result of depressions, phobias, or post-traumatic stress, anxiety can take a significant toll on your mental and physical health.

    If you deal with anxiety, you have likely looked into ways you can help calm your mind, body, and emotional ups and downs. Perhaps you’ve even tried some self-help techniques in the past but have struggled to learn the techniques on your own. And while these techniques can provide some relief, it’s often temporary.

    To rid yourself of overwhelming anxiety once and for all, you may need to get to the root cause(s) for it–that is, the underlying factors. A trained anxiety therapist can help you identify and eliminate these underlying causes.

    The following are just a few ways therapy can help for anxiety.

    Therapy Can Help You Accept That You Are Anxious

    It’s important to always remember that anxiety is “just a feeling” (zero minimizing intended). And like all feelings, it can go as quickly as it came. You are having an emotional reaction to a string of negative thoughts. Accept your anxiety because trying to pretend it’s not happening will only make matters worse—you will develop a fear about the anxiety which makes it even more difficult to manage the anxiety. The result is that you now have to deal with the initial anxiety AND the anxiety about the anxiety.

    Let’s be clear—by accepting your anxiety, you are not resigning yourself to a life of eternal misery. You are not throwing in the towel and trying to suddenly like your anxiety. That’s not it at all. You are simply living a more mindful existence, being in the moment, and accepting whatever is in this moment with you.

    Therapy Can Help You Change Your Thoughts and Emotions

    A trained anxiety therapist will assist you in accessing your emotional needs so you can study your thoughts and feelings and uncover any patterns. Often, unhealthy beliefs and thoughts lie at the root of the anxiety. Once you’ve identified what is causing the anxiety, your anxiety therapist can begin to create a plan to help you face these underlying struggles confidently and calmly.

    Therapy Can Help You Change Your Behaviours

    We’ve just explored ways in which anxiety therapy can hep you uncover thoughts and beliefs that are causing you anxiety. Those thoughts and beliefs are not only making you feel bad, they’re also causing you to have certain behaviours that may result in negative consequences for you.

    For example, your anxiety may lead to insomnia or denial of intimate social connections. Anxiety therapy will help you make behavioural and  lifestyle changes. You’ll learn how to cope with difficult situations in a calmer and more confident manner. Anxiety therapy will help you to stop avoiding certain people and/or situations and help you develop a calmer and more balanced sense of self.

    Therapy Offers Continued Personalized Support

    It is very common for any change to feel hard. This is also the case for change that’s ultimately good for you. One of the biggest benefits of  anxiety therapy is that it offers continual personalized support. Your therapist wants to see you succeed and will offer encouragement and guidance without judgment.

    Therapy Near You Can Help You Uncover Root Cause(s) for the Anxiety

    In the same that you need to get to the root cause(s) for any physical illnesses in order to build an effective treatment plan, effective therapy treatment can get to the root cause(s) for your mental health struggles. For example, if you have hypertension (high blood pressure), your doctor can either prescribe a medication to try to manage the symptoms of hypertension, or your doctor can request you change your diet and exercise more to address the root cause(s) for the high blood pressure.

    Therapy You Can Help You Learn that Your Emotions Cannot Kill You

    One of the most frightening things about a panic attack is the feeling that you are having a heart attack. It’s important to check your health status in consultation with your family physician, but if your health status has received the thumbs up from your physician then you are likely not having a heart attack. Your brain can and will play tricks on you, trying to get you to believe that you are in physical danger. But the truth is, you are likely not in physical danger. Rather, you are having an episode based on emotions and thoughts. And the anxiety will pass in the same way as you will recall that all previous anxiety attacks also passed. Remind yourself of that as many times as you need to.

    Therapy Can Help You Question Your Thoughts Without Fighting Them

    When your panic attack begins, your mind begins to throw out all sorts of outlandish ideas at you, hoping some of them will stick. These thoughts are intended to keep the panic attack going.

    Before you take any of these thoughts as reality and truth, question them gently without fighting them. For example, if your mind throws things out like, “no one here likes me.” “I probably left the stove on.” “I am for sure going to screw this up.” “I’ll no doubt get stuck in bad traffic on the way home and maybe even get a flat tire so I will then be stranded”. And so on…

    Questioning these ideas gently and mindfully will help you manage your anxiety. Ask yourself questions such as:

    “Am I TRULY not liked by everyone around me?” Most likely not.

    “Am I really going to screw this up?” Probably not.

    Traffic? Well, maybe but a flat tire? Chances are no.

    Always question your thoughts gently and curiously. You will usually find the majority aren’t very realistic or likely to happen.

    Therapy Can Help You Personalize Your Anxiety

    Anxiety therapy can help you normalize, even personalize, your anxiety, which will help you manage your anxiety in new ways.

    Similarly to a person who is in your life whether or not you like them, consider the anxiety as one part of your life. Speak to the anxiety as though it were a person. Tell it that you believe you have a mutual dislike for each other, and that you’re wondering whether you can try to get along. Try saying something like: “I don’t like how you make me feel. I think you also don’t like me, otherwise you wouldn’t make me feel this way. Makes me wonder, can we try to get along? I think that’d be good for both of us.”

    You may even want to give the anxiety a name. A personal name. That way you can occasional ask what it needs from you. As in, “Hey you, I noticed you trying to get my attention just now. Want to chat? Is there something specific I should be paying attention to?”

    Therapy Can Help You Visualize

    Anxiety therapy can help you learn to visualize. Visualizing is another great way to manage anxiety.

    Picture somewhere serene that brings you peace and calm. Maybe this is your grandparents’ old house or a lake you’ve visited in the past. Maybe it’s that fantastic beachfront condo from your last vacation. Just picture it in your mind’s eye and try to really put yourself there. See it, smell it, feel it, sense it, taste it. Notice how calm it feels to be in this space that is perfectly comforting and safe.

    Therapy Can Help You Learn to Breathe Deeply

    The moment you feel a panic attack coming on, the first thing to do to manage your anxiety is to stop and gain control of your breath. Deep, slow breathing sends signals to the brain, indicating that you are safe. Controlled breathing is one of the most powerful ways to activate your body’s natural relaxation response. It will take your mind and body out of “fight, flight, freeze, or fawn” mode and put you into a calmer and more relaxed state.

    If you would like to explore treatment options, please reach out to us today. We would be more than happy to explore with you how we may be able to help.

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