Anxiety can be one of the most difficult emotions to overcome. Whether our anxiety takes the form of specific fears/phobias or manifests itself in a more generalized sense of worry and dread, its symptoms can be paralyzing. Beyond just our emotional experience, anxiety frequently impacts us physically through symptoms such as rapid heart rate, shallow breathing, muscle tension, sweating, and nausea or other gastrointestinal problems. Some individuals may also experience tension headaches or a general sense of restlessness, agitation, or irritability when anxious.
The most common way we attempt to manage our anxiety is through avoidance. This may mean avoiding a specific situation/trigger or trying to avoid thinking about certain topics that cause us to worry. Either way, anxiety of serves as a kind of hand-brake on our lives – no matter how hard we try to “push the gas” and move forward our fears and worries continue to hold us back. If left unchecked our anxiety can shake our self-confidence and dramatically restrict our ability to live happy, fulfilling, and productive lives.
Treating anxiety often means finding a way to face our fears directly. For some this make take the form of behavioral strategies designed to increase your comfort with anxiety-provoking situations, such as social interactions, emotionally charged situations, or instances that trigger fears of failure or inadequacy. However, for some the source of their anxiety is not so easily identifiable. In those instances, psychotherapy can offer the opportunity to name and understand the root causes of our fear, and to begin to establish a sense of control and mastery.