The last six months or so have brought so much anxiousness and emotional pain for so many people. And as an Atlanta anxiety therapist, I’ve been working hard to do my best to support people in this. And yet, some of our worry makes sense. It makes sense that a pandemic would stir up your fight flight or freeze response. It makes sense that social injustice towards people of color would cause you to feel stress and on edge. It makes sense that lack of socializing would bring added discomfort and uncertainty. Life has been stressful these days.
And due to the added stress, people are experiencing much more anxiety. And that makes sense!
Still, the question that comes up is what do we do about this? Anxiety sucks. It’s uncomfortable. It can be painful. It can be overwhelming. It can hijack your system.
I’m encouraging clients to continue to care for themselves in order to reduce any unneeded stress or overproduction of cortisol (the stress hormone) because if we don’t find ways to do this it can wreak havoc on our mental health.
Wondering some of the things that are helping people?
Mindfulness – Anxiety can cause us to perpetually get lost in the past or future. This Atlanta anxiety therapist heard one person described it as rehearsing, replaying, repeating. So, it can help to get super present and mindful of the moment rather than living in the what if’s all day. It’s a conscious effort to engage all of your five senses in the exact moment that you are in.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation- this is an activity designed to help you tense and release tension in every muscle of your body which is helpful since we tend to hold tension in our bodies when anxious.
Meditation – Meditation is difficult when we’re anxious because our minds want to fixate on the stress. Meditation helps because it allows our brain to take a break from that and calm for a little while. Research shows that it is helpful with replenishing serotonin and dopamine back into the body. SO Does Exercise. As an Atlanta anxiety therapist who works with high achievers, I tend to hear a lot of people complain about meditation, but the science backs it. It’s good for you to prioritize a practice of meditation in your life.
Changing Thoughts – Our thoughts, feelings and behaviors are all connected. As an Atlanta anxiety therapist I teach a lot of clients about ways to change and combat unhelpful thought patterns that bring anxiousness. We work on shifting catastrophizing, black and white thinking, should, shame, emotional reasoning, and more.
Avoiding the Need to Fix or Avoid Anxiousness – It may sound counterintuitive, but sometimes fearing panic attacks or anxiousness can actually perpetuate it. When emotions come, sometimes we benefit from trusting that we will move through them, almost like a surfer riding a wave. The wave goes up, and eventually it comes back down. We can take the opportunity to observe the emotion, acknowledging it’s there, and not judging ourselves for having it.
These are just some of the things that are helping my clients with anxiety. If you’re finding yourself struggling with anxiousness, feel free to reach out and schedule an appointment. We are passionate about supporting people with the work we do!