Do you worry uncontrollably and often feel like you’re under stress? Is it hard for you to maintain a work-life balance, cope with life transitions, or set healthy boundaries with others? Are you irritable and quick to anger? Whether you realize it or not, you may suffer from anxiety.
When anxiety takes charge of your thoughts and behaviors, it can feel like your life is no longer your own. Rather than being able to relax and enjoy the present moment, you may find that you are preoccupied with worries about the past or future that drain the joy out of everything. Whenever a deadline looms or a task remains uncompleted, perhaps you ruminate over unfinished business until you’re exhausted and overwhelmed.
Along with the worry and intrusive thoughts, your anxiety may impact your self-esteem, leading to people-pleasing behavior. To avoid confrontation or being out of favor with others, perhaps you agree to things you’re rather not do and, as a result, overextend yourself. Having too many obligations may exacerbate your anxiety, affecting your sleep, appetite, and overall well-being.
Or maybe you get stressed out in social situations and decline invitations because of your discomfort or fears of saying or doing the wrong thing. If only you weren’t motivated by fears of “what if” anymore.
You don’t want to miss out on the joy of life because of your fears. Whether it is fear of rejection, disappointment, or failure that is holding you back, anxiety treatment can help you find the courage and strength to pursue your dreams. Therapy can address issues such as people-pleasing, social anxiety, and panic attacks.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety affects nearly 1 in 5 American adults in a given year and about one-third of U.S. adults at some point in their lives¹. There is a fine line when normal levels of anxiety become detrimental to how we function. According to the Yerkes-Dodson Law, “increased anxiety can help improve performance, but only up to a certain point. At the point when nervousness becomes excessive, performance diminishes.”²
Anxiety disorders can present in different ways, including social anxiety, phobias, perinatal anxiety, and panic attacks, to name a few. What they all have in common are worries and fears that get in the way of our enjoyment of life.
Anxiety has a tendency to whisper all sorts of catastrophic situations into our ears. It loves “what-if” scenarios where it comes up with the wildest and most destructive outcomes to the situations we face. Further, anxiety often looks at all that is missing and going wrong in our lives instead of focusing on what is going well. Fears and worries can keep us stuck in our comfort zone, never allowing us to consider seeking anxiety treatment and finding a new way forward.
If your anxiety has kept you stuck and scared, it’s time to take back control. You have so much love to give to others. And whether you know it or not, you are capable of treating yourself with the same kindness and care. With treatment, you can learn the skills needed to manage anxiety and develop a more loving relationship with yourself.
Every time we fly, we hear flight attendants sharing some variation of the oxygen mask rule: “Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.” Anxiety treatment is a time each week you can dedicate to cultivating a better relationship with yourself while accessing your true desires. With the support and validation of your therapist, you’ll get a chance to take a timeout, catch your breath, and put your needs first.
For therapy to be effective, it requires you to be curious about yourself and be open to looking inward. Remaining vulnerable and accountable to yourself allows you to find clarity about your passion and purpose in life while acknowledging that you are worthy and enough just as you are.
In ongoing sessions, we will explore and re-write how you view yourself. Most people struggle with self-criticism and self-judgment. The goal of therapy is to help you understand how you came to develop this self-critical voice. To do this, we will examine the implicit and explicit messages you have been exposed to. Through self-reflection, you will gain tools to replace the critical inner voice with a self-accepting and compassionate one, thereby alleviating stress and worry.
Because the past provides information about the present, a key component of anxiety treatment is to reflect on your past experiences. Not only will you gain deep insight into who you are, but an anxiety counselor will help you transform this insight into action. But the discoveries made during a therapy session won’t be helpful if they never leave the therapy room—once you apply what you learn to your life, you will experience the fruits of your hard work.
You’ll be able to let of worry, rumination, and self-loathing. And by finding closure from past unresolved experiences, you will unburden yourself and gain more positivity and peace. You will learn to tolerate mistakes because you will have a sense of true self-confidence, resilience, and love. You will start to feel more centered and grounded.
Our anxiety therapists use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), which are all evidence-based treatments for anxiety disorders. CBT, for example, can help you get control of your thoughts and feelings, so that you will have clarity of how your past is shaping your present. With this understanding, you will show up more openly and authentically to life.
Anxiety treatment will help you redefine your relationship with feelings so that you gain self-understanding, clarity, and strength. After working with an anxiety therapist, you will be able to live your life fully by being more present, befriend your anxiety instead of seeing it as an enemy, and have the confidence to set healthy boundaries with others without feeling guilty or second-guessing yourself.
I’ve always been an anxious person—this is how I’m wired.
Some of us are born with a higher sensitivity toward anxiety. In an attempt to manage it, we may have developed unhealthy coping mechanisms that exacerbate our symptoms and make our anxiety debilitating. But just because you have suffered from anxiety for a long time doesn’t mean that you are stuck with it. With treatment, you can learn helpful ways to manage anxiety without it controlling your life.
I don’t have time for anxiety counseling.
A common symptom of anxiety is putting others’ needs in front of your own, what we refer to as people-pleasing. To turn things around, you need to value yourself and put your needs first. Working with the anxiety disorder specialists at Embracing You Therapy can help you address your people-pleasing tendencies and uncover the thoughts and beliefs you have that attribute to them. Making time for therapy is the first step in managing your anxiety.
Right now, anxiety may be holding you back from living wholeheartedly, but with the help of a therapist, you can develop clarity on the direction of your life. To schedule an appointment to begin anxiety treatment at our Woodland Hills therapy practice or online, please fill out the contact form to schedule a free phone consultation.
¹ https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/any-anxiety-disorder ² https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-yerkes-dodson-law-2796027#:~:text=The%20Yerkes%2DDodson%20Law%20suggests%20that%20there%20is%20a%20relationship,arousal%20becomes%20excessive%2C%20performance%20diminishes.
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