For some people, anxiety can eclipse their goals and values. It’s almost as if anxiety is a shadow cast over one’s life, making it hard to distinguish what is most true for themselves.
Do you ever wonder:
- Do I really find parties boring, or is it that I feel trapped and skittish in groups?
- Is it reasonable that I’m making another doctor’s appointment for this new pain in my body, or is it my anxiety in overdrive?
- Am I just trying to be “healthy”, or is this new diet a way of exerting control over my life?
- Do I need to be flawless in my work life for professional advancement or do I intensely fear criticism from others?
The tricky thing about anxiety is that you can live with it so long that you become desensitized to the ways it limits or hurts you.
You may experience:
- Nervousness, restlessness or being tense
- Sense of foreboding, panic, or dread
- Rapid breathing or hyperventilation
- Increased or heavy sweating
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Trembling or muscle twitching
- Weakness or lethargy
- Difficulty focusing or thinking clearly about anything other than the thing you’re worried about
- Obsessions about certain ideas
- Rumination on a particular life event or experience that has occurred in the past
Arguing with anxiety or explaining why it’s unreasonable just isn’t effective. The best way to address anxiety is to practice behavioral strategies to disrupt it.
In treatment, we focus on decreasing avoidance, developing a spirit of curiosity around what we fear, and engaging in exposures to face these challenges.
Behavioral experiments, in which you gently try things you avoid, help you understand the actual probability of the consequences you fear.
Some of the more common problems I treat include:
- Illness anxiety
- Generalized anxiety
- Social anxiety
CBT can help to uncover how you came to learn your patterns of anxiety and fear, teach you how to self-induce a relaxation response, look at situations in a new, less frightening way, and develop better coping mechanisms and problem-solving skills.
If you are not sure if what I’ve described here applies to you, feel free to contact me to discuss whether I can help.