Anxiety, a helpful survival instinct or the bane of your existence?
Like it or not as a woman you are twice as likely as your male counterpart to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
The top reasons according to the Canadian Mental Health Association: Our hormonal changes, caregiving stress, and women’s likeliness to seek help compared to men. To their list, I will add that women are also socialised differently.
Anxiety is one of the most common and treatable mental health conditions. It can be a very distressing and uncomfortable experience and is also one of the most common problems that bring women into my office.
Your Anxiety can be a useful tool.
Anxiety is your built-in survival instinct telling you if you need to fight, freeze or flight in stressful situations.
It's normal to feel anxious or worried when you’re facing stressful situations or problems.
Anxiety can be helpful in stressful times to warn you of danger or to motivate you to meet a work deadline, deal with an illness or even to manage a happy stressful situation like moving to a new home.
You can see from these examples that if you are experiencing anxiety from time to time, you are far from alone and to a lesser degree managing it is a normal part of everyday life… part of being human.
Your Anxiety becomes a problem if:
- Anxious symptoms don’t go away once the stressful situation or problem is over.
- Anxiety and fearful thoughts have such intensity that it becomes overwhelming or unmanageable and impacts your personal life, work or health.
What you can do about it.
It’s important to seek help if you’re concerned about anxiety in your life. You do not have to continue struggling on your own.
When it comes to getting help, many people struggling with anxiety choose Counselling to learn new skills and tools to manage symptoms instead of taking pills (it’s important to note that in some situations anti-anxiety medication combined with counselling is highly effective and should be discussed with your doctor).
Counselling and in particular Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness training have been proven to be very effective in treating anxiety.
Research shows that Counselling or talk therapy is one of the most helpful approaches to managing anxiety. When you begin talking about your anxiety with a trusted Counsellor you begin to release some of your angst knowing that you are not alone in your experience.
Effective strategies used in counselling to help you manage your anxiety
- Identify unhelpful patterns – thoughts, emotions and behaviours contributing to your anxiety problems and replacing them with more realistic and positive ways to look at and manage your situation.
- Get to know your anxiety – Practising mindfulness to increase awareness of your particular anxiety and to help you recognise and minimise triggers.
- Build new coping skills – Learn ways to manage anxiety ‘in the moment’ that you can do on your own to help keep you feeling better.
- Gradual exposure – Slow introduction to situations that you may have been avoiding or are extremely afraid of until you feel more comfortable with them.
- Lifestyle management – Strategies for regulating stress and anxiety such as healthy food choices, exercise, emotional support and sleep. If you are concerned about alcohol, caffeine, or drug use you can look at this as well.
- Homework or In the Field experiments – to practice the new skills between sessions. Results are measured and adjust as needed to ensure the interventions are working for you.
If anxiety is standing between you, your commitments, priorities and goals Counselling is the recommended approach. You don’t have to continue struggling on your own.
If you are ready to take the first step towards improving your life contact me at 604-809-7438 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get started.