Anxiety, it’s a thing.
We hear this word all the time, and maybe even feel it all the time or often. Anxiety is a complex yet common human experience that touches the lives of most of us. It’s often why people seek out psychotherapy. What does it look like? You might notice thinking the same thoughts over and over, overthinking a situation, nervous habits like biting your nails, feeling overwhelmed often, or having an upset stomach frequently. In this post, we’ll share some of what we at Creative Now Therapy know about anxiety and equip you with some practical strategies to manage your anxiety’s ups and downs.
Understanding the Nature of Anxiety.
Anxiety, often misunderstood and stigmatized, is an inherent part of the human experience. It’s a natural response to stress and designed to alert us to potential threats. We need it, it lets us know to be cautious crossing the street, when something is important to us, or it can be a great indicator of the things we need more support around.
However, when anxiety takes center stage, becoming chronic or overwhelming, it can significantly impact our mental and emotional well-being. If we think of anxiety like software, we want it running when it’s useful and to be able to quit it when not. We don’t want it to run like application in the background 24/7, slowing down the effectiveness of the computer (our body).
How to being to navigate your Anxiety.
The first step in navigating anxiety is acknowledging your feelings without judgment. Allow yourself the grace to recognize and accept the presence of anxiety. We have been socialized to suppress, repress, hide, and a number of many other maneuvers, to avoid our emotional experience. Yet emotions are a fundamental aspect of being human. Emotions live in our bodies and require expressing.
We have all read about the connection between disease and feelings that are not dealt with. Yet, it is easier said than done to establish a practice expressing and processing anxious emotions. If journaling, conversations with trusted friends, a mental health related course or workshop, and meditation are available to you those are great places to start, even if for just 2-5 minutes a day.
Understanding the specific triggers of your anxiety is pivotal in developing effective coping strategies. Are they rooted in work-related stress, social interactions, or perhaps a fear of the unknown? Identifying triggers empowers you to tailor your approach and address the underlying causes of your anxiety more directly. Doing this is like turning on the lights in a dark room so we know where to walk and what we can do in that room. The same is true for your experiences of anxiety. It can be scary to take a closer look but it gets even scarier the longer you put it off.
Practical Coping Strategies:
1. Mindfulness and Grounding Techniques: One of the most potent tools in managing anxiety is mindfulness. It involves staying present in the moment, redirecting your focus away from anxious thoughts. Practices like deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation can ground you, fostering a sense of calm and centeredness.
2. Establishing a Routine: Structure and routine provide a sense of stability amid life’s uncertainties. Craft a daily routine that includes self-care activities, such as regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and nourishing meals. Consistency in these fundamental aspects of life can act as a foundation for resilience against anxiety.
3. Challenging Negative Thoughts: Anxiety often feeds on negative thought patterns. Challenge these thoughts by questioning their validity. Are they based on facts or assumptions? Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations and redirect your focus toward what you can control in the present moment.
4. Journaling for Clarity: Keeping a journal can be a powerful ally in your journey to overcome anxiety. Use it to document your thoughts and emotions, identify patterns, and track your progress. Journaling provides a tangible record of your experiences, helping you gain insight into the fluctuations of your mental state.
Seeking Professional Support:
While self-help strategies are invaluable, seeking professional support is a courageous and crucial step toward overcoming anxiety. Therapists and counselors possess the expertise to guide you through personalized strategies, coping mechanisms, and a safe space for exploring and understanding the root causes of your anxiety. Moreover, when we are struggling with anxiety it can feel near impossible to engage in the above coping practices by ourselves. Our body has wired in anxiety as a way to protect ourselves. It is very threatening to our systems to engage in radically different practices, which is why they often fall off when we are not getting support in establishing them.
Understanding the Role of Therapy:
Therapy, whether through somatic therapy, creative arts therapy, or other modalities, can provide a structured and supportive environment for working through the complexities of anxiety. Through body based and creative arts therapy interventions, individuals can gain insights into their thoughts and behaviors. Creative Arts Therapy can be especially helpful when it feels to overwhelming to talk or feel your anxiety, and helps create some healthy distance when working with this topic in therapy. Somatic psychotherapy, or body based psychotherapy can help someone understand how their body and mind can work together to develop new coping mechanisms, counter the beliefs that uphold anxiety, and foster resilience.
The Role of Medication:
In some cases, medication may be recommended as part of an anxiety treatment plan. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional who can assess your individual needs and discuss the potential benefits and risks of medication. Medication, when prescribed thoughtfully, can be a valuable tool in managing anxiety symptoms.
Embracing yourself in the face of anxiety is a transformative journey one that requires self-compassion, resilience, and the willingness to seek support. By acknowledging your feelings, identifying triggers, and engaging in ongoing self-awareness and discovery so you can navigate the complex terrain of anxiety with newfound strength and understanding.
Remember, you aren’t the only person having this experience, anxiety impacts us all. Reach out for support, be it from friends, family, or the somatic therapists at Creative Now Therapy. Through commitment to self-discovery and the application of effective coping mechanisms, you can not only manage anxiety but also cultivate a life filled with purpose, joy, and resilience. Somatic psychotherapy is especially helpful as the experience of anxiety is felt so physically for many of us. Somatic therapy targets the body and helps us process anxiety in a holistic way. The therapists at CNT are happy to be one of those relationships to support you on this journey to health and satisfaction.