Anxiety is a normal response to the demands of life. The problem comes when this response never ends.
I believe that chronic anxiety comes from a place of feeling like there’s something wrong that you can’t fix. Often you may not be sure what is wrong, exactly. Anxiety may be telling you that you’re not liked, that you’re less than, that there’s a threat on the horizon. Of course, you may try to compensate. You attempt perfection and take a shot at control, or you try to hide from the world to keep yourself safe. Your body tries to prepare you for the threat of insecurity, but it can’t keep it up for long. You may feel its effects on your short breathing, in your difficulties sleeping, or shaking hands. Your heart seems to beat like you’re always running a marathon. In many ways, it feels like you are. Your relationships can suffer, too, because it can be hard to connect with others when your anxiety gets in the way. As a result, you may feel isolated, stuck, even trapped. It can be so exhausting living like this!
Working with Anxiety
I see working with anxiety as having different goals on different timelines. In the short term, I like to focus on finding ways to help your body relax and rest, and your mind slow down and get curious. This is where we experiment with different self-care routines, grounding techniques, and self-soothing strategies. In the medium to long term, and parallel to achieving a place where you feel safe enough to rest, we work on unpacking the source of it. We ask, what’s the threat? So that, in having that answer, we can give you new ways to feel prepared and cope with life.
In other words, the work is two-fold: first we figure out how to help you manage the intensity of the anxiety, then we go for the cause, as best as we can. I believe this is what makes change last, the fact that you have learned to discover what causes the anxiety and how to cope with it.