Everyone experiences stress, but when it starts impacting quality of life, it can become problematic. Anxiety therapy in Washington State can help when anxiety begins to overpower your thoughts and behavior. A therapist can help you cope in this difficult situation. If you find yourself in this situation and are unable to find help quickly, here are some tips that can help you in the moment:
1. Understand that anxiety is just a feeling
It is important to understand that anxiety is like any other emotion, and everyone feels it at some point in their lives. Just like happiness, sadness, anger, and excitement, anxiety is a feeling that just happens as a result of our brain processing something. You can observe it, and try to remind yourself that like any emotional reaction, anxiety can be managed. People often make the mistake of trying to eliminate anxiety (which isn’t realistic and may actually be unhealthy). Accepting it as something that just exists, which will come and go, can take away it’s power and make it feel less daunting.
2. Question your thoughts
An anxious brain can cause you to start making assumptions and predictions that my not be realistic at all. When you notice yourself thinking in generalizations about what is happening around you, ask yourself:
3. Try a calming visualization
Think of a time when you can remember feeling at peace-maybe that one vacation you had near water or mountains, or a comforting moment you shared with a loved one or a pet, or even just picture how it feels when you notice yourself really feeling relaxed. If anxious thoughts pop back in, imagine containing them in passing clouds, watching the clouds float across the sky, allowing yourself to let the thoughts eventually disappear. If they come back, keep picturing the clouds containing the thoughts, continuing to let them float away. This is you rewiring your anxious brain!
4. Neutralize Negative thinking
Anxiety can produce a lot of negative chatter and thoughts. The primitive parts of our brains are wired to be on alert for threats, which translates into unnecessarily negative focus in modern times. When you notice that negative thought popping back in, see if you can neutralize it by replacing it with a reframe. An example would be:
Negative thought: I hate being stuck in traffic; other drivers are bad drivers.
Reframed: Traffic can be frustrating but I get to listen to my favorite music/podcast and I am lucky enough to have access to a car which gets me to where I need to go.
5. Try living in the present
Most of the things that we worry about never happen. Anxiety is often brought on by excessive thoughts about the future (which we really don’t have a lot of control over anyways). If we can just let ourselves really connect with what is happening in the moment, we can train our brains to be calmer and more accepting toward our experiences. This is really just another way of rewiring our brains so that we can take in all that is happening and likely even find ourselves feeling more of the good stuff because we haven’t robbed ourselves of the present moment by focusing on our fears.
Where to get help?
At Fearless Healing Therapy & Counseling, I can help you find solutions to stress and anxiety that are custom-tailored to your needs and last a lifetime.