What is anxiety and how do I deal with it?
Video: The Science of Anxiety
Sometimes the system can get stuck in overdrive, and anxiety can become overwhelming and interfere with daily life. Questions like this can become heavy burdens:
- I just moved to Austin and I love it here, so why am I so anxious about being here?
- Why am I so nervous about failure and rejection?
- I am scared about dating. Will they think I’m weird? What if I propose and they say ‘No’?
- Why do I think so much?! I feel like I cannot make decisions; I don’t even know where to start.
- Am I going to be able to pay my bills? What if I get fired?
- Why don’t people like me?
- I just can’t go to the party, I’m worried I’ll look weird or embarrass myself.
- Do I have cancer? Is that rash normal? Am I dying?
The good news is that anxiety is a treatable condition. Through therapy, you can learn techniques to manage and reduce anxiety symptoms. It can also be helpful to learn about the root causes of your anxiety and work through them with a therapist.
It’s understandable to feel nervous about new situations, such as moving to a new city or dating. However, when those feelings become overwhelming and interfere with daily life, it may be a sign that anxiety is present.
Remember, you are not alone in experiencing anxiety. Many people struggle with anxiety, and seeking help is a sign of strength.
Anxiety can be a very overwhelming experience and can affect different aspects of a person’s life. It’s important to remember that anxiety is a natural response to stress and perceived danger, but when it becomes excessive and interferes with daily functioning, it may be an anxiety disorder. Seeking professional help, such as therapy or medication, can be effective in managing anxiety and reducing its impact on daily life.
How to Identify Anxiety
Anxiety is a natural response that helps you avoid danger. However, for some people, their body responds to various situations as if there is a physical threat, even when there is none. This can cause physical and cognitive symptoms, such as a fast, pounding heart, rapid breathing, increased blood pressure, sweating, excessive worry, difficulty concentrating, depressive thoughts, and aggressive thoughts/behaviors.
Symptoms of anxiety are designed to motivate a person to either fight or flee a real or perceived threat by providing more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the muscles needed to fight or flee. Similarly, cognitive symptoms of anxiety are trying to help you notice and respond to real or perceived threats.
Physical Symptoms of Anxiety: What your body feels and does
- Fast, pounding heart
- Rapid breathing
- Increased blood pressure
- A sense of impending doom (this often feels ‘physical’. . . like a stone in your gut, or as I mentioned above, bats in your stomach)
Cognitive Symptoms of Anxiety: What your mind thinks and does
- The above-mentioned sense of impending doom
- Excessive worry about what others may think of you
- Excessive concern about health and well-being
- A racing mind, often creating insomnia
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions (analysis paralysis)
- Depressive thoughts
- Aggressive thoughts/behaviors. Irritability
You are not alone. There is help
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety impacts over 40 million people in the United States, and it is highly treatable. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can help you retrain your mind to counteract these symptoms, and even learn to leverage them to your benefit. By engaging in new strategies that unravel the thought knots that lead to anxiety, you can manage anxiety effectively. Medication is usually not required to manage anxiety, but when it is, using it in combination with talk therapy produces incredible results.
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. You can solve issues like anxiety. Our time will be spent as a conversation, not a clinical interview. You get to just be yourself, not worrying about asking the right questions or revealing all the right details. Our style is conversational and very interactive. We offer warmth and compassion along with a direct and honest style.
If you are struggling with anxiety, effective anxiety counseling in Austin can help. Mindfulness-based counseling can help you get to the root of the issue and learn how to structure thoughts and behavioral responses that are more effective. Remember that telephone counseling is also an option in most situations.
What to expect in anxiety counseling
Don’t worry, our conversation will be friendly and informal, without any clinical jargon. You can simply be yourself and feel free to share your experiences without fear of judgment. Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of Buddy the Therapy Dog, who’s always there to offer comfort and support.
During our sessions, we’ll focus on identifying the early signs of anxiety and learning how to cope with them. You’ll also learn how to recognize situations that trigger your anxiety and develop personalized strategies to manage them effectively. For instance, if you tend to feel anxious before a meeting with your boss, we’ll explore techniques such as deep breathing and positive self-talk to help you stay calm and confident. We can even practice scenarios and role-play conversations to build your confidence and prepare you for real-life situations.
I’ve helped many people overcome anxiety, including high-powered executives, artists, celebrities, and couples struggling with relationship issues. It’s always inspiring to see my clients achieve their goals and improve their quality of life. Don’t just take my word for it – check out the testimonials from satisfied clients and mental health professionals who have worked with me.
If you’re ready to take control of your anxiety and live a more fulfilling life, I’m here to help. Let’s work together to develop practical strategies and techniques that work for you.
Click here to see what successful clients and other mental health professionals are saying about my work.
Frequently Asked Questions about Anxiety
What is the difference between nervousness and anxiety?
While often used interchangeably, nervousness and anxiety have some important differences. Nervousness is typically more thought-driven and goes away once the triggering situation is resolved. Anxiety, on the other hand, has a stronger physical component and can persist for a longer time. Nervousness may seem reasonable, like being nervous before a public speaking engagement. Anxiety, however, can seem irrational, with physical symptoms arising for no apparent reason. It is possible to manage both with the help of breathing and thought techniques.
How is anxiety trying to help me?
Anxiety serves as an alert system that warns us of potential danger. When anxiety is triggered, it sends oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and triggers the fight, flight, or freeze response of the sympathetic nervous system. This heightened response also makes our senses more acute, allowing us to assess the situation more accurately. While anxiety is useful in protecting us from danger, it can also be problematic when it activates when there is no real threat.
Are there different types of anxiety?
Yes, there are many types of anxiety, such as social anxiety, performance anxiety, romantic anxiety, test anxiety, and various phobias. Genetics can play a role in anxiety and some individuals may naturally live in a higher state of alertness than others. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, meditation, exercise, and massage can be effective in managing anxiety.
Can medication help with anxiety?
Medication can be an option for managing anxiety, but counseling and therapy are often more effective. Some anti-anxiety medications are highly addictive and can be challenging to stop taking. It is best to speak with a healthcare provider to discuss the best course of treatment for managing anxiety.
National Institute of Mental Health – An overview of anxiety types, symptoms and treatment
Psychology Today – Information on Anxiety from a leading source of psychological treatment providers
National Suicide Prevention LifeLine Live Chat – 1-800-273-8255 is the 24/7 hotline
(512) 472-HELP – 24/7 Texas Crisis Line
Read about how to manage anxiety: Anxiety Articles
Jonathan F. Anderson, LPC-s has worked in the helping profession since he started college in 1990. After completing his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas, Austin in 1994, he attended the highly-regarded University of Minnesota to earn his Master’s degree in 1997. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is recognized as a Board Approved Supervisor by the State of Texas Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors. Jonathan has completed Level-2 of the Gottman Method of Couples Counseling, and in 1998 received training by the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation in Advanced Critical Incident Stress Management & Debriefing. To learn more about Jonathan’s practice, click here: Jonathan F. Anderson, LPC-s.