Dealing With Anxiety
Anxiety effects us all differently, but to some, it can be consistently overwhelming. Maybe the circumstances of your life are coming together to deal you a tough time you need help dealing with. Maybe the circumstances of your life don’t warrant the feelings of anxiety you’re experiencing, but you’re feeling them anyways. Regardless of your problem, if you’re looking to fix it, Capital Choice Counselling’s Ottawa anxiety counselling can help.
Anxiety is an evolutionary adaptation. When our neolithic ancestors humans were starving and without food, their brains would pump cortisol, the stress hormone, so that they would have the energy to find it. It would keep them up day and night until they found some source of nourishment to ease their hunger and stress.
The circumstances around human life have changed drastically, but the evolutionary mechanisms inside of us have not. Stress and anxiety used to be focused on the drive to survive. In some ways, anxiety still focuses on the resources we ‘need to live’, but in the modern context no longer has to do with hunting and gathering, but rather earning the money we need for a happy and healthy home life. A little bit of anxiety can go a long way to motivating people to get to work and do the things they need to do to be comfortable, but for some, the experience of anxiety is so frequent and so intense that it gets in the way of a happy, healthy life.
The fact of the matter is that the biological mechanisms that regulate cortisol in our brains are not calibrated for living in 2016, but rather are meant for the circumstances our species faced before recorded time. We cannot change the nature of our physiology and genetics, but we can use a variety of psychological techniques to cope with our unfortunate nature.
There’s nothing that can be done to change who we are, but we can change the way we act and the way we think to ensure that we become the masters of our anxiety, instead of anxiety being the master of us.
Techniques for Dealing With Anxiety
There are hundreds of different ways that an anxiety problem can be approached by a therapist. Below are only a few of the many tools and techniques available from professional therapists that can help ease, if not entirely eliminate, an anxiety problem.
Prescription medication is a tremendously powerful method to managing the negative impact anxiety problems have on sufferers lives. However, it needs to be clear that pharmaceuticals do not treat anxiety. They treat the symptoms of anxiety.
If you are taking pharmaceuticals to deal with anxiety, but are not dealing with the anxiety itself, your problem will persist. Alone, prescriptions are a band-aid ‘solution’ to many mental health problems. As part of wider course of treatment that integrates psychological and pharmaceutical treatments, they can be tremendously useful.
Drugs are like a crutch. If you have a broken leg, crutches are tremendously useful to making life accessible to you. They also assist with the healing of your leg. But if you have not taken the time to ensure that your bone is set properly, and is in a cast for as long as it needs to be, it will never properly heal and you will need crutches your entire life.
We can give you the crutches you need to go about daily life during your period of healing, but want to ensure that you are, in fact, healing. Taking drugs has never solved a mental health issue, but it does lessen their impact. Capital Choice is not opposed to medication, but we are aware that it is tremendously more useful when coupled with psychological treatments like those below.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is an entire domain of psychological practice. A refined and long-established psychological technique, it’s impossible to give a robust understanding of how it’s done in just a few short paragraphs. In the broadest terms, CBT is about identifying the patterns of your thought that lead you to negative states of mind and behavior, and through practiced intention, interrupting them so that new, positive patterns can take their place. Through CBT sessions, your therapist will help you become aware of the way that you think, and give you tools that you can use to correct your own thinking so that you don’t repeatedly suffer anxiety.
CBT is especially useful for people who suffer from chronic anxiety. Often, these people have ‘triggers’, or common events/thoughts that occur in their mind causing immense anxiety. Maybe you have triggers, and know what they are, but don’t know how to stop the anxiety. Maybe you have triggers, and don’t know what they are. Even if you don’t have triggers; in any of these cases, professionally-guided CBT can help prevent the anxiety you are looking to avoid.
People think, but rarely do they think about their own thoughts. Mastering your own mind starts with the ability to know whats happening within it, and mindfulness meditation is a long established, ancient technique to do so. Taken seriously, and practiced well, it has an incredible ability to allow people to break their minds relentless control of their lives.
Mindfulness meditation may seem like quackery to some, but it has been repeatedly demonstrated to be tremendously helpful to managing a persons psychological state. Those that practice it swear by it, and those that dismiss it generally don’t understand it. Exactly what it is is a matter of debate, as there is no scientific consensus concerning the definition of meditation, but for our purposes:
Mindfulness Meditation is the practice of setting aside time in your life to deeply and intentionally listen to your own thoughts.
Too often, our feelings to take control of the way we feel. They are powerful, and unexpectedly come out of nowhere to take the drivers wheel, and drive the car of our mind where they want us to be. Unlike real car-jacking however, when our feelings take over, most of the times we are completely unaware. The car is driven where the feeling wants it to go, but we still think we’re the ones driving.
Mindfulness Meditation starts with taking back the control of the car, and so long as it is repeatedly practiced, matures into allowing you to permanently lock the doors.
It does not stop the feelings, but it does change the way you feel about your feelings. You can still see them beyond your windows, knocking on the door to get in. Your anxiety will still be there, but so long as it is outside the car, it will not be a part of you.
Mindfulness Meditation allows you to separate your self from your feelings, and only enjoy the feelings you want to. For this reason, it has been repeatedly demonstrated to be a tremendously helpful technique for dealing with anxiety.
Capital Choice Counselling
If you are suffering from anxiety that you feel is getting in the way of a happy, healthy life, there are hundreds more techniques like these that have been demonstrated to help people cope with the unfortunate genetic realities of being human.
Everyone feels anxiety. Sometimes it’s useful to do things we don’t want to do, but have to. Nobody wants to go to work on Monday mornings, but the stress of losing your job gets you out of bed and into the office so you can get a paycheck and take care of yourself and family.
Sometimes, it isn’t useful. Our bodies have evolved to respond to the circumstances of living in caves, not the 21’st century. When you’ve spent more money this week than you budgeted, and your stress response is equivalent to being on the verge of death; or you feel immense stress persistently with no apparent cause or reason, you have an anxiety problem that you need help solving.
Capital Choice Counselling is here to help. Above are only two of an extensive range of techniques that we can deploy to giving you what you need to deal with your anxiety healthily. If you’re interested in improving the quality of your life through counselling or therapy sessions, get in touch with Capital Choice Counselling today.
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