One of the most common reasons people seek counseling is for anxiety. It may manifest as self-doubt, crippling worry, or a steady unease. It may cause stomach pain, headaches, or knots in the shoulders. However you experience it, anxiety can adversely affect your overall wellness and decrease your day-to-day functioning.
Part of the suffering you are experiencing with anxiety comes from the fact that you don’t want to be anxious. Some argue that it’s the main thing that’s causing discomfort. If you stopped trying not to be anxious, you’d suffer less. This same logic works for most uncomfortable feelings; much of the discomfort comes from not wanting to feel that way. But anxiety in particular seems to easily suck you into the downward spiral. You feel anxious. >> You are anxious about feeling anxious. >> You get more anxious. >> You feel more anxious about your increasing anxiety level. >> And on and on.
What can you do? There are many things you can try to do to find relief. If you suffer from anxiety, you have probably tried many of them. Think back about which strategies work for you. Taking 10 slow breaths. Watching your favorite cartoon. Singing a song. Going for a swim or a walk. Painting. Focusing on your breathing. Spending time with supportive friends. Add this one to your list: allow yourself to be anxious. Call it out, give yourself permission to take a minute and experience it. It isn’t comfortable. But it’s a part of life, a part of your life.
You don’t usually experience anxiety when it’s a convenient time to take a break and do some yoga. Typically, you’re in the middle of a stressful situation, and now you have to figure out how to take some time for yourself and your anxiety in the midst of everything else going on.
How do you know if counseling will help or when it’s time to try? If you have tried a variety of strategies to help with your anxiety and it’s still affecting your life, talking with someone can help. If you have a close friend in whom you can confide, many people find relief just talking to someone you trust. Joining a support group can also be very beneficial. Working with a counselor can help you to get through being “stuck” in your old patterns. You can tap into their professional expertise, creativity, and hope, giving yourself the needed push towards growth.
For more information on anxiety and mental health, check out these resources: