I’m Anxious and I Can’t Control It!!

Worry, repetitive thoughts, and anxiety are common problems at the best of times. These skills help us prepare for the future, find a plan, and move on with our lives. However, when it takes over it can become all-encompassing and we can call this “disordered anxiety.”

We have the amazing ability to think ahead to future events and using this ability we can anticipate obstacles or problems, giving us the opportunity to plan and find solutions. When it helps us to achieve our goals, “thinking ahead” can be useful. For example, creating a work schedule that allows us to save for our future “dream vacation” is helpful and leads to joy and hope. However, worrying is a way of “thinking ahead” that often leaves us feeling anxious or apprehensive thinking about all the things that can go wrong. When we worry excessively, we often think about worst case scenarios and feel that we won’t be able to cope. This leads to excessive and racing thoughts, increased physical tension, and in worst case scenarios isolation or panic.

Worry isn’t just in our heads. When it becomes excessive, we feel it as anxiety in our bodies too. Some sample physical symptoms of anxiety and panic may include:
• Muscle tension, trembling, and aches and pains
• Racing heart or feeling light headed
• Feeling dizzy, spacey, or weak in the legs
• Restlessness and inability to relax
• Difficulty Concentrating
• Difficulty Sleeping
• Feeling Easily Fatigued

Ironically, these physical symptoms not only tell us we are anxious but they also increase our worry and we begin to worry that something else may be wrong (“I’m having a heart attack!!!”).

Our behaviors also show us when we are anxious. Where anxiety is excessive our behaviors can change also. When we struggle to gain control we might use avoidance behaviors to reduce our anxiety. Some sample safety behaviors might look like:

  • Isolating
    Binge watch a TV show even though we know we are not interested.
  • You find yourself cleaning to gain control.
    Maybe you drink before going to a party to manage social anxiety.
  • Utilizing medication to help reduce physical symptoms

Again, these physical symptoms not only tell us we are anxious but they also increase our worry and at times reinforce anxiety and panic because we are telling our brain there is something wrong, and that’s why we are enacting these behaviors to ward off danger.

What Can I Do About It?!
We will take a 4 step approach to help you manage and overcome anxiety.
Step 1
What am I feeling and why?
Triggers, Events, Associations and how they manifest in our lives Why anxiety my not be your fault.
What is my amygdala and what is it doing to me?
How are behaviors such as avoidance making things worse?

Step 2
Emotional Understating and Regulation:
Why is breathing important?
What about exercise?
Is sleep really that important to helping resolve anxiety?

Step 3
Cognitive Restructuring:
How do I think about anxiety different?
What steps can I take to increase empowerment? How do I manage the unexpected?

Step 4
Yes, exposure. Even the thought of it may seem to bring on anxiety. This is OK and normal. Often, we utilize avoidance and distraction to soothe anxiety, but this can have the opposite effect. Yes, we want to distract and avoid sometimes; however, if we utilize this technique we can often make anxiety worse. Working together it will be our goal to reduce anxiety and manage anxiety instead of is managing us.

Remember not all anxiety is bad. In fact, some anxiety is good. Anxiety helps with focus, remembering important things, and keeps us safe. It is the disordered anxiety we want to resolve. Together we will work on increasing our understanding of anxiety, how to live life in a way that is more meaningful, and think about anxiety in a whole new way. If this is something you desire reach out and let’s get started on your journey today

2010 E Broadway St #130
Pearland, TX 77581

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