Anxiety is an uncomfortable mental, emotional and physical experience that most of us are very familiar with. While Anxiety is a natural human response, experiencing too much of it too frequently can be extremely upsetting, frustraing, scary and can escalate to panic. It affects us as an unpleasant mind-heart-body experience that impacts us mentally, emotionally and physically.
Just as Depression relates to an excessive focus on the past, Anxiety is related to an excessive focus on the future. We spend a lot of time trying to troubleshoot and strategize avoiding fears and concerns related to worst-case scenario situations and events. In that respect, we are masterful creators! When we think of it, and review our lives, we will see that what ended up transpiring was nowhere near what we had anticipated. Through various psychotherapeutic techniques, such as CBT, we can learn to challenge and re-frame anxiety and panic-provoking thoughts.
Of the 21 symptoms of Anxiety listed on the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), did you know that 15 of the 21 symptoms involve physical/bodily sensations? This is why Anxiety can be so difficult to manage, as it affects us at so many influential ways – a full mind-body experience. Some of the unpleasant physical and bodily sensations include:
Numbness, feeling hot, wobbliness, shakiness, dizziness, heart-racing, hands trembling, shakiness, difficulty breathing, sweating and many more.
The challenge with Anxiety is that it is an adaptive, evolutionary experience that humans are meant to respond to. If we couldn’t experience Anxiety, we could be off doing any number of potentially dangerous things that could put us in actual danger. The issue is that our brains aren’t great at distinguishing the difference between perceived and actual threat. When there is actual threat, we need Anxiety to be activated so that we can fight or flee. The stress response that ensues floods us with cortisol, adrenaline and other hormones to mobilize our forces for survival. The challenge occurs when this response is activated over perceived threat. The level of tension that gets created in our minds and bodies can feel very un-grounded and escalate feelings of panic and loss of control.
Thankfully, our team of talented therapists are trained to help you learn to manage the symptoms, emotions and sensations related to Anxiety and Panic, in order to reduce and manage the experience more effectively. Relaxation and grounding techniques are essential to have in our coping skill toolboxes and we are here to help.