Anxiety shows up in many ways. Sometimes so subtle we aren't able to tell why we're anxious, and sometimes so loud it consumes us. Anxiety can show up through physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, heart racing, and sweating, cognitive symptoms like overthinking, procrastination, and worst-case scenario worries, and emotional symptoms such as irritation, depression, moodiness, and exhaustion. Your symptoms of anxiety are unique to you, and so together we will explore your symptoms, make sense of them, and find tools that your mind, body and brain respond well to.
Anxiety can be debilitating, but it is manageable, and through counselling we can build tools to get you in control of your life again. Some of the work we will do in counselling together looks like the following:
- Cognitive Restructuring: Challenging thinking patterns which feed anxiety and replacing them with realistic thoughts about your situation.
- Alternative Perspectives: Exploring perspectives we never thought of
- Self-Refection: Increasing your awareness of your thoughts, feelings, emotions, values, and inner-world. In order to change, you have to understand your sense of self.
- Behavioural Techniques: Learning specific actions you can take to manage your anxiety. A common scenario would be learning techniques that you can apply in the moment to help reduce or eliminate panic attacks. Therapy also includes follow through with regard to your progress, and making adjustments to the therapeutic plan as needed.
- Emotion Regulation Strategies: When you're anxious, your nervous system is activated. Through therapy we'll learn what brings your nervous system back into its "rest" state.
- Exposure: rating the situations that make you anxious, from lowest to highest and then starting by facing the ones that make you least anxious while putting into play the emotion regulation skills you've learned through therapy.
- Changing your lifestyle: When it's required, changing your lifestyle becomes a big part of therapy. Choosing healthy outlets which relieve anxiety, such as exercise, sleep, emotional support, prioritizing decisions and commitments. In therapy, we don't want to create big goals that you'll only be able to temporarily achieve, we want to create habits that you can maintain for the rest of your life.
- At Home Exercises: A lot of the work happens outside of session and so when appropriate, you might get exercises from me to test out some of the things we've been discussing and exploring. This can look like, taking notes, tracking emotions, and exposure. Think of it as a test to see what tools work for you and which don't so that we can set you up for success in the long run.