What is Anxiety Management?

Managing anxiety means learning how to:

  • Recognize thoughts and behaviors that create anxiety
  • Identify new ways of thinking that reduce anxiety
  • Practice self-soothing behaviors that calm the nervous system

Anxiety management is based on a strong relationship between a person’s strengths and their ability to use them to deal with all facets of anxiety, whether they are biochemical, learned, situational, etc.

Anxiety is not designed to be unhealthy in limited doses; it is supposed to be a temporary alert system that helps you pay close attention to potential danger. In the extreme, an anxiety attack is your body’s fight or flight response firing up as if your life is in danger even though it’s not. This is what causes anxious symptoms like a fast, pounding heart, rapid breathing, sweating, all with a sense of impending doom.

Solution-focused, Client-directed

My overall approach puts more focus on the solution to anxiety than on the anxiety itself. I do, however, believe that it is important for me to understand clearly how you experience anxiety, and where it is coming from, so I do not gloss over it.  I will likely point out when you are exclusively focusing on nervous thoughts and anxious behaviors, thereby not putting as much focus on how to relieve it, so that we can get back to the business of anxiety relief.

I want to work with you so that you can see that you can learn to solve issues like anxiety on your own. Being Client-directed means that I do not see it as my place to tell you what to do, when to do it, and why you should do it my way. This means that if I redirect you away from focusing exclusively on anxiety, but you feel like you really need to vent more, I expect that you will speak up! Rest assured, I will be clear about if it seems to be helping or not, but I won’t demand that you do it my way.

Anxiety FAQ's

I’ve heard that anxiety is supposed to help. How is that?

We need an alert system that tells us when there is a danger close by. Anxiety is that system; it tells us when there is a threat, then triggers the sympathetic nervous system’s fight, flight or flee response by sending oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. The protective response also involves making our senses more finely tuned so we can assess the situation more accurately. What people experience as problematic is when this alert system comes online when there isn’t an actual threat to safety.

Are there different types of anxiety?

Yes, though they may feel quite similar. Social anxiety, performance anxiety, romantic anxiety, test anxiety as well as assorted phobias are a few examples. There can be a genetic component to anxiety and worry, and some people just live in a higher alert state than others. Mindfulness-based cognitive-behavioral therapy has been shown to be extremely effective in managing most anxiety types. Meditation, exercise, and massage are also very helpful.

Is there a pill I can take to help?

You should talk to your doctor to see if you might benefit from medications, however, counseling and therapy have been shown to be more effective than medication alone. Some anti-anxiety medications are extremely addictive and can be difficult to stop taking.