Managing Anxiety or Worry

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” - Wayne Dyer
snowy mountainsDo you feel nervous or agitated much of the time, or seem to worry about everything? Do you start to feel anxiety and dread, when you anticipate being in certain situations? Perhaps, you have been experiencing panic attacks that appear “out of the blue”, for no reason that makes sense to you.  Do you feel trapped in obsessive thought patterns that will not go away, or compulsive behaviors that you have been unable to stop? Have you found yourself avoiding people or altering your normal routine, to avoid situations that are difficult?  If so, you may be suffering from one or more of the several forms of anxiety disorders.  To make matters worse, if, like many people, you are too embarrassed for anyone to know what is happening to you, you may be suffering alone, without the benefit of a support system.

The many faces of anxiety

Anxiety, which can take many forms and is experienced often in the presence of other psychological difficulties, affects large numbers of the population – an estimated 40 million adults in the United States in a given year.  This is in addition to the children and teens also affected.  The inner suffering of a person with any form of anxiety can be enormous. Excessive worrying, intrusive thoughts that will not go away, a feeling of panic and fears about multiple situations, annoying or even frightening physical symptoms may be part of everyday life for someone with anxiety. Compulsive or avoidant behaviors are common. Sufferers often feel as though this problem is taking over their life.  They may try to hide what is happening to them and usually feel very alone in their misery.

The reactions of othersferns

The majority of people, who have never experienced anxiety or any kind of deep psychological suffering, often find it hard to understand. Family or friends may give to the sufferer the message that he should be able to “just stop worrying and snap out of it”.  The inner discomfort of people with anxiety is then compounded by the reactions of other people.  The feelings of insufficiency, shame or guilt, which arise in the face of criticism, initiate even more unhealthy chemical reactions in the body-mind, often creating another whole level of anxiety.  Additionally, it is very common for people with significant anxiety to also suffer with depressed mood.

How can a therapist help?

A trained and caring professional can help the sufferer of anxiety begin to untangle this web of complex reactions and to manage anxious feelings.  This is done through a restructuring of the obsessive thought processes, and through training in various relaxation or meditation techniques.  These techniques begin to break the spiraling momentum of the fearful thoughts and reactions.  As the client becomes more stable from fewer negative thoughts, then a desensitization process can gradually take place, which can free the sufferer from the physical and psychological effects of his fears.  A growing sense of freedom can then encourage the sufferer’s newfound ability to begin to trust and enjoy life. It has been one of the joys of my life, to have helped hundreds of people suffering with various forms of anxiety, to escape from the misery of these oppressive disorders, to actually become celebrants of life.