Individual Counseling for
Anxiety is normal and necessary for our own survival.
But there are times when anxiety is in overdrive.
The worry thoughts seem uncontrollable and never-ending – thinking about unfinished tasks, tomorrow's meeting, your kids, their health, your health, your marriage, safety… it’s hard to relax and get to sleep at night.
The constant to-do list is affecting your ability to focus, sustain attention, or actually get things done.
Unrefreshing sleep and concentration difficulties, can in turn, make you more irritable and likely to snap at those around you.
You may worry about judgment from others, replay conversations over and over in your head, or question yourself and your decisions.
Anxiety is draining you physically and mentally.
Treatment can offer relief to help you refocus your attention, restore your sleep, and repair relationships.
In therapy, we will
--recognize triggers to anxiety
--learn how to communicate when you are feeling anxious
--improve your attention
--practice how to cope with anxiety in the moment
--learn to manage worry thoughts that creep up at night and keep you awake
Techniques that Work
In therapy, we will talk about ways to manage anxiety in the moment through different techniques that work. These techniques have the support of many scientific studies. One example is deep, abdominal breathing.
If you are currently feeling anxious, you have a tool that can anchor you to the present moment and create a little space between you and the anxiety you feel.
Connect to your breath. Notice how you inhale, how you exhale. What parts of your body move with the breath? If you notice your chest and upper body moving, make an intentional choice to move the breath downward, to the belly. It may be helpful to place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Focus on how the hand on your belly pushes outward on the inhale, while the hand on your chest stays still.
As you inhale, expand your belly like a balloon and count slowly to a count of 5, 1-2-3-4-5.
As you exhale, gradually watch your belly contract, 1-2-3-4-5.
Continue this slow, intentional, deep abdominal breathing for 6 breaths. 60 seconds.
In just one short minute, you have started to activate the body’s “calm down” system.
Breathwork is an effective intervention for anxious or angry feelings.
In response to both of these emotions, our sympathetic nervous system is activated (commonly referred to as the fight-flight-freeze response). One symptom of sympathetic activation is rapid breathing (we take quick, shallow breaths, think hyperventilation). Intentionally slowing down the breath and engaging the deep abdominal muscles activates the parasympathetic nervous system (think parasympathetic, parachuting down from my stress”).
You can even imagine a parachute or balloon inflating as your belly expands on the inhale and then gradually deflating as you contract on the exhale.
Continue with the practice of deep belly breathing in moments of calm and moments of stress. The more frequently you engage in this technique, the more naturally it will come to you.
In therapy, we will review and practice this and other techniques to help tackle anxiety in the moment. You can test them out and see what works best for you.