Counseling for Anxiety is one of the main things that therapists provide. So the good news is that if you have anxiety, you’re in good company. There are many different strategies that help with anxiety. Below, I will discuss one of the strategies.
Anxiety as a Mental Construct
Anxiety often comes about because of our thought processes. These negative thoughts then send signals to that part of our brain in charge of fight or flight. This in turn can lead to physical symptoms of anxiety such as chills, hot flashes, shaking, etc. Our brain picks up on an uncertainty or fear which can cause or increase the feelings of panic.
I work with a lot of clients who struggle with anxiety in my Grand Rapids, MI office. I work from a solution focused therapy approach which means rather than focus on what is causing the anxiety, I help you determine how you want to react to anxiety-provoking situations in the future.
How to Reduce Anxiety:
You can’t be relaxed and anxious at the same time. We focus then on how to build up your confidence by starting with small changes. When you’re confident, you’re relaxed. I’ll have you think about and describe what you will look like when you are confident (rather than anxious). I’ll ask you to describe how you will stand, sit, walk, etc. Once you have this in mind, I’ll suggest you pick some opportune times to practice this. It may be just when you walk into a classroom or your work place.
Next we might talk about what other things you’ll be doing when you are a confident person. Perhaps you have anxiety when you walk into a grocery store. We’ll have you visualize what the smallest sign of confidence will be when you walk into the store. For some, this might be nodding a greeting to the store greeter. For others, it could be how they go up to the grocery carts and select one.
Starting Small to Overcome Panic Attacks
We don’t try to stop your anxiety all at once. In fact, we don’t worry about stopping it at all. Instead we might have you focus on just noticing when your anxiety is less on some occasions. We might focus some effort on having you predict how much your anxiety will decrease over time. This can also help you focus more on the idea of it decreasing rather than worrying that your anxiety will increase.
For example, if you have to do public speaking in a class or for work, I may ask you to consider how you will notice that you were just a little bit less nervous the next time you have to speak. You may notice that you started off being nervous, but calmed down and found your regular speaking voice a little bit sooner. Focusing on these small but noticeable changes will help you keep going in the right direction.
Counseling for Anxiety can be relatively painless. It just takes some attention to the way you want to be instead. If you live in the Grand Rapids, MI area and would like to try Solution Focused Counseling, then give me a call. I’ll be glad to help.