anxiety therapy for improved quality of life
Difficulty breathing, rapid heart rate, racing thoughts, trouble sleeping, difficulty socializing - however anxiety shows up in your life, there’s no question that it’s extremely uncomfortable and an experience you hope to avoid.
You’re not alone.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the United States. An estimated 40 million adults in the U.S. (18%) have an anxiety disorder. Meanwhile, approximately 8% of children and teenagers experience an anxiety disorder. Most people develop symptoms before age 21.”
Change your relationship with anxiety!
We experience anxiety for a reason: it’s here to keep us safe! One of the most important aspects of anxiety therapy is changing the relationship you have with your anxiety. By establishing a friendship of sorts, you will begin to understand your anxiety better and develop a calm awareness of its presence over time. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “name it to tame it!” coined by author and psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Siegel. This is a simplified way of saying, “use your emotions to inform you rather than overwhelm you.”
The next time you notice your anxiety, get a little curious! Ask why it’s here. Ask what it hopes to help you do. Note the thoughts you’re having when it arrives, and ask yourself whether they’re useful in the moment. One of the worst things about being enemies with your anxiety is that it takes control of you, your decisions, and your life. It’s possible to regain a sense of control and empower you to go after what you want, no matter what your anxiety might make you want to avoid. Remember, anxiety therapy doesn’t remove anxiety from your life altogether- we need it!- it helps you manage your anxiety in a way that affords you freedom and peace.
THERAPEUTIC APPROACHES FOR ANXIETY
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Helps through the process of learning and practicing emotional and cognitive skills, then applying them in real life. DBT tackles distressing and overwhelming emotions (like anxiety) and it helps you control your emotions, when you have them, and how you experience them. DBT has been shown to be a highly effective treatment for anxiety, and it works exceptionally well for teens!
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):
Works by addressing negative thinking patterns and behaviors and examining their influence on your reaction to frightening and stressful situations. Over time, you become more aware of these automatic, negative thoughts and this helps you tolerate distressing and anxiety-provoking situations. CBT is also used often for depression, and research has shown that it’s one of the most effective approaches out there.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR):
Works by helping you live in the present instead of thinking far ahead. Mindfulness practice helps you learn to focus on what’s happening in the moment, and as a result, you’ll feel more in control and relaxed during life’s stressful moments.