Millions of people deal with stress and anxiety on a daily basis. Whether it’s a result of phobias, depressions, or post-traumatic stress, anxiety can take a toll on our mind and health.
If you deal with anxiety you most likely have looked into ways you can help calm your emotional rollercoaster. Perhaps you’ve even tried some self-help techniques in the past. While these methods can provide some relief in your effort to address anxiety, it’s often temporary.
To rid yourself of overwhelming anxiety once and for all, you’ve got to get to the root cause of it – the underlying factors. A therapist can help you identify and eliminate these underlying factors.
If you are suffering from an anxiety disorder, here are 3 ways therapy can help:
1. Uncover Root Causes
Like any other health issue, effective treatment gets to the root cause. For instance, your doctor can either prescribe a medication to try and manage your hypertension symptoms, or she can request you clean up your diet and exercise, addressing the root causes of your high blood pressure.
A therapist will assist you in accessing your emotional world so you can study your thoughts and feelings and uncover patterns. Often, unhealthy beliefs and thoughts lie at the root of anxiety. Once you identify what is causing you anxiety, your therapist can begin to create a plan to help you face these underlying issues calmly and confidently.
2. Therapy Helps You Change Your Behaviors
We’ve just talked a little about therapy helping you uncover the thoughts and beliefs that are causing the anxiety. Those thoughts and beliefs are not only making you feel bad, they are causing you to have certain behaviors that may result in negative consequences.
For instance, your anxiety leads to insomnia or denial of intimate social connections. Therapy will help you make lifestyle and behavioral changes. You’ll learn how to cope with difficult situations in a more relaxed manner. Therapy will help you to stop avoiding certain people and situations and develop a calmer and more balanced sense of self.
3. Therapy Offers Continued Personalized Support
All change is hard, even change that’s ultimately good for you. One of the biggest benefits of therapy is that it offers continual personalized support. Your therapist wants to see you succeed and will offer encouragement and advice without judgement.
If you’ve been living with anxiety, know that you don’t have to deal with it alone. If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.
It’s normal to feel anxious from time to time. Perhaps you get a bit nervous speaking in front of people or going on a job interview. But for some people, anxiety becomes a frequent and forceful occurrence that completely takes over their lives.
Since anxiety comes in many forms, for instance panic attacks, phobias and social anxiety, it can often be difficult to tell if what you’re experiencing is “normal” or has crossed the line into a mood disorder.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may want to speak with a counselor who can help you cope with your anxiety.
General anxiety disorder (GAD), the broadest type of anxiety, is characterized by excessive worry. People with GAD worry too much about everyday things, both big and small. But what constitutes “too much worry?”
With GAD, people are plagued with persistent, anxious thoughts most days of the week. This anxiety can become so overwhelming it interferes with their daily life. If you are worrying to a degree that you have trouble doing daily tasks and are suffering with your emotions, it may be time to speak with a therapist.
Sleep issues such as falling asleep or staying asleep have been associated with a myriad of health conditions, both physical and psychological. It’s normal for people to have trouble sleeping from time to time. Perhaps you find yourself tossing and turning before a big job interview or giving a presentation.
However, if you find yourself night after night lying awake, anxious about specific problems (such as relationship problems or financial difficulties), or even about nothing in particular, it may be a sign of an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders can often be accompanied by persistent muscle tension. Do you find yourself clenching your jaw or balling your fists throughout the day? You may have lived with this chronic muscular tension for so long you don’t even realize it anymore. While exercise can help relax muscles, therapy will get to the root cause of the anxiety.
While anxiety lives in the mind, it is often manifested in the body through chronic digestive problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Our guts are very sensitive to emotional and psychological stress. Unfortunately, digestive upset can often make a person feel even more anxious.
Panic attacks can be a frightening experience. You are suddenly gripped with an overwhelming feeling of dread and fear. These are often accompanied by physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, racing heart, dizziness, and profuse sweating. Though not everyone who has an anxiety disorder will experience panic attacks, but those that do live in constant fear.
Anxiety disorders keep people from living a joyful and fulfilling life. Luckily there is help. A therapist can assist in uncovering the root cause of the anxiety and offer tools to cope.
If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.
When you live with an anxiety disorder, any moment can become one that creates a slow-rising panic within you. Life is normal one second and the next, you feel your chest tighten and your heart begin to race. You may begin to hyperfocus on future events and find yourself getting lost in “what-ifs.”
To make matters worse, you may then begin to berate yourself for allowing the panic to get the best of you and begin to believe that all of those what-ifs are indisputable facts.
Luckily there are many powerful tools and techniques you can use to manage your anxiety effectively.
The minute you feel a panic attack coming on, the first thing to do is stop and gain control of your breath. Deep, slow breathing sends a signal to our brains that everything is safe in our environment. Controlled breathing is one of the most powerful ways to activate your body’s relaxation response. It will take your mind and body out of “fight or flight” mode and put it instantly into a calm and relaxed state.
Accept That You are Anxious
It’s important to always remember that anxiety is “just a feeling.” And like all feelings, it can go as quickly as it came. You are having an emotional reaction to a string of thoughts. Accept your anxiety because trying to pretend it’s not happening will only make matters worse.
Let’s be clear – by accepting your anxiety, you are not resigning yourself to a life of eternal misery. You are not throwing in the towel and trying to suddenly like your anxiety. Nope. You are simply living a more mindful existence, being in the moment, and accepting whatever is in that moment with you.
Your Emotions Cannot Kill You
One of the most frightening things about a panic attack is the feeling that you are having a heart attack. But you aren’t. Your brain can and will play tricks on you, trying to get you to believe that you are in physical danger. But the truth is, you are not in physical danger. You are having an episode based on emotions and it will pass. Remind yourself of that as many times as you need to.
Question Your Thoughts
When your panic attack begins, your mind begins to throw out all sorts of outlandish ideas at you, hoping some of them stick. These thoughts are intended to keep the panic attack going.
Before you take any of these thoughts as reality and truth, question them. For instance, if your mind throws things out like, “No one here likes me. I am for sure going to screw this up. I probably left the stove on. And I’ll no doubt get stuck in bad traffic on the way home and maybe even get a flat so I will then be stranded, and on and on and on…”
Questions these ideas. Are you TRULY not liked by everyone around you? Most likely not. Are you really going to screw up? Probably not. Traffic? Well, maybe but a flat tire? Chances are no.
Always question your thoughts. You will usually find the majority aren’t very realistic or probable.
Picture somewhere serene that brings you peace and calm. Maybe this is your grandparents’ old house or a lake you’ve visited before. Maybe it’s that fantastic beachfront condo from your last vacation. Just picture it in your mind’s eye and really put yourself there. See it, smell it, feel it. Feel how calm it feels to be in this space that is perfectly comforting and safe.
Use these techniques the next time you experience an anxiety attack. They should help you feel much calmer much sooner.
If you would like to explore treatment options for your anxiety, please get in touch with me. I’d would be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.
Notice the way you talk to yourself when you are struggling to juggle “all the things”. Would you talk this way to a friend? Probably not.
Instead, try reminding yourself how tough it is to keep all these things on your plate. Take a few slow, deep breaths. Place a kind hand on your heart. Self-compassion can help you respond better in a crisis.
If you need some guidance, try listening to these self-compassion meditations as a way to build a self-compassion practice so you’ll have something to draw on next time a difficult moment hits.
2. Give up the Quest to do it Perfectly:
Being a busy mom means that you are not going to be able to keep the standards that you wish in all the different parts of your life. Part of lightening the load of motherhood is refusing to put unrealistic expectation on yourself.
What if the dishwasher isn’t loaded perfectly, kids clothes are jammed in drawers rather than being folded neatly or they don’t take xyz lessons this season?
Once you get used to the discomfort of “good enough”, it is quite freeing. It allows you to delegate; not just to your spouse but to your kids too. Not needing things to be done to such a high standard also helps your to set better boundaries about what you are and are not able to take on.
3. Automate and Delegate:
No doubt you’re busy as heck and feel like you are being pulled in five different directions at any given moment; planning dinner, supervising homework, driving to sports, running the bedtime routine, keeping up with cleaning and anything else that has found its way onto your plate. In the midst of this, it feels like an extra task just to ask for the help you need.
Don’t fall in the trap of just doing it yourself!
Finding ways for things to be repeatable and clearly communicated is super helpful for lightening the mental load of motherhood. Plan to do this ahead of time, not in the moment. Once everyone knows what to do, then completely turn that task over to them and take it off you plate.
I am sure you can find a million different ways to do this, but here are some things I love to help me organize, automate and delegate:
*Detailed cleaning routine from Clean Mama which is great for explaining what to do and when.
*A free app called COZI linked to the cleaning routine above. I set it up on my phone and on my older kids devices so it sends them reminders about when to do chores. I don’t have to ask again!
*Meal planing & shopping list app called Plan to Eat. It stores my recipes, makes meal plans and grocery lists.
*Free meal plans every two weeks from the Better Mom so I don’t have to think
4. Be Real With Your Close Mom Friends: Are you feeling overwhelmed? Struggling with mom rage? Being real with you close friend will help you feel less alone and validate what they are going thru too. You may even be able to find creative ways to work together or support each other.
5. Prioritize Self-Care: Self-care is a long-term strategy focused on preventing burnout. Often moms are so exhausted taking care of themselves seems to be the last thing on the list. Other times, they are just uncomfortable with prioritizing their needs and feel like a “bad mom” or guilty for leaving the “to do list” if they take time for themselves.
Look for small ways, like pouring a nice cup of tea, smelling your favourite lotion or sitting down for a few minutes to listen to music or read a book to tend to your needs. Intentionally set aside even 5-10 minutes every day to recharge and care for yourself.
The mental load of motherhood can be so exhausting and overwhelming. Especially at time of high emotion and transitions like we are in this week, as we prepare for back to school, our “mom brains” can feel especially stressed. Remember to respond to yourself with compassion when you can’t get it all done. Expect less of yourself. Proactively find some ways to delegate and automate the sharing of tasks. Cultivate a good group of mom friends to commiserate with and prioritize caring for yourself.
Sometimes motherhood can feel so overwhelming and stressful that self- help is not enough. Counselling can help you process your feelings and find more effective ways to cope. I specialize in working with moms who are feeling stressed, overwhelmed and anxious to help them learn new ways to thrive in their lives.