WHAT IS - Anxiety?
Welcome to our new blog series that offers insight into common concerns that we support our clients through both in individual and couples therapy. To kick off the series, we explore the issue of anxiety; and experience that many of us have often!
Do you have trouble overcoming your worries?
Do you find your worries make you feel fatigued or worn out?
Do you avoid places or social situations because of fear?
Do you engage in repetitive behaviors to manage your worry? (For example, double checking if you locked your doors, washing your hands, repeating words.)
Does worrying interfere with falling and/or staying asleep?
These are all common symptoms of anxiety. A more defined term of anxiety according to the American Psychological Association (APA) is “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes…” (Anxiety, 2021) In lay terms, anxiety is a common emotional response to stress and includes underestimating your safety or chance of survival. Many of us experience anxiety in our bodies such as feeling nervous, having a fast heartbeat, sweating, trembling, feeling weak, hyperventilating, etc.
Impact of Anxiety
Anxiety can disrupt a person’s life by impacting their quality of life, their relationships
with others, their self-confidence, and important activities of everyday living. Rumination is a major symptom in anxiety which is when someone overanalyzes their negative feelings or thoughts. This can distract them from their work and cause them mental exhaustion or paranoia. Rumination ultimately makes individuals triple check their words, actions, or relationships with other people which can end up being very mentally draining every day.
Anxiety can put a lot of strain on a person’s interpersonal relationships. Many people with anxiety do not speak about their struggles which can create a lot of distance in the relationship. It can also be tough for partners too as they may feel confused, helpless, or alienated. Anxiety can cause people to engage in behaviors that lead to pushing others away and this can result in preventing their partner(s) needs from being met. If an individual has a fear of intimacy, they may not be honest when it comes to discussions surrounding sex and they may become emotionally distant. Lack of honesty and transparency can confuse their partner and it can end up putting a strain on their sex life.
How Can You Manage Your Anxiety?
There are many strategies in which to manage your anxiety. This can take some time to figure out what works for your body and mind. It is important to remember that this is completely individual and personalized! What works for someone else may not work for you and vice versa.
Grounding techniques – These help people step away from negative thoughts or flashbacks. Grounding helps guide focus to the present environment and to detach from the past. Some examples include taking 10 slow breaths, splashing cold water on your face, counting all the colours or objects in your environment, etc.
Meditation – Focus your mind on your breathing as well as a single thought can help prevent overthinking, catastrophizing, and/or black/white thinking
Take a time-out during the day – Taking a step back from your problems may help you clear your head. You can choose whether you listen to music, stretch, take a nap, or go for a walk. Find what works best for your body.
Practice radical acceptance – This is when you accept things the way they are without resistance. Instead of fighting reality you can choose to accept it by letting things go.
Seek support from a professional – Therapy is always a great option. Speaking to a psychotherapist can help bring you clarity, hope, and guidance as you learn different strategies to help manage your anxiety.
It is important to remember that there is more to a person than their anxiety. Seeking help is a testament of strength and courage. You prove this by opening up and offering yourself the support, guidance, and healing you always deserved. There are many options when treating anxiety. The evidence-based options include, but are not limited to: exposure therapy, narrative therapy, relational/couples therapy, solution focused therapy, emotion focused therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioural theory (CBT), etc. Through your sessions, you will gradually learn how to face these difficult situations and feel prepared to deal with your anxiety effectively.
Our team of therapists at Relationships Matter Therapy Centre strive to help clients identify the roots of their struggles and learn useful strategies to overcome them.
To request an appointment at Relationships Matter Therapy Centre click here.