Before the age of big name retailers and grocery stores, stress was crucial for human survival. It drove us to hunt food, seek shelter, and care for our families.
But now, predators aren’t waiting around every corner, and food is just a few blocks away. What happened to those high-stress instincts? They didn’t just go away, the same system of stress hormones that helped you survive a lion attack is still working when you sit down to study for a final exam, file taxes, or even cook a meal. The stakes of day-to-day living have changed dramatically, but our bodies haven’t.
For some, their stress system is ultra-sensitive, and points out danger even when none exists. When this occurs, anxiety is born. Anxiety is exhausting, frustrating, and can feel never-ending. But you are not alone. The counselors at Dover Thriveworks understand the fight with anxiety, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Fighting anxiety takes courage and strength, even taking the time to read this is a testament to your strength! We know it can feel like a hopeless, uphill battle. You may be thinking right now that these fears are irrational- you know they are—so why does this anxiety persist?
It is possible to regain control over your thoughts and emotions. You are stronger than any illusion your brain comes up with. And, there is nothing “wrong” with you! Thriveworks Dover is excited to help you realize that and beat anxiety.
What Does Anxiety Look Like?
How many times has someone—maybe yourself—tried to twist stress into a good thing? “A good, healthy amount of stress can help you move mountains!” People might say. And yes, a good, healthy amount of stress will help you achieve your goals. But stress does not equal anxiety. Anxiety is all-consuming. It destroys instead of builds and breaks down instead of encourages. When you’re feeling stressed, you might work harder, but still take time to rest once the task is complete. When you have anxiety, you may freeze in a moment when you should be moving, or work to the point of exhaustion and then beyond, even if the task is complete. The voice that whispers you will never be enough, and there is something else bad coming, can be a waking, breathing nightmare.
So are there any concrete symptoms to distinguish a healthy dose of stress from anxiety? Dover Thriveworks sees some of these symptoms in people who are struggling with anxiety:
- Racing heartbeat, or tightness of chest throughout the day.
- Unusual sweating
- Tense muscles (a lot of people with anxiety find certain areas constantly tight- like the upper back)
- Feeling dizzy or in a constant mental fog
- Racing thoughts
- Insomnia (not able to fall sleep, waking up multiple times during the night, or waking up early and not being able to fall back asleep)
- Constant state of dread (Feeling like something bad will happen or already happened)
- Doubting yourself
- Not doing things that you use to find pleasure in
Anxiety is unique to every person, so this list is by no means complete. Some people may feel intense anxiety during certain situations- like driving a car. Others may have recurring, distressing thoughts. Or maybe you have a general feeling that something isn’t right, and danger is just around the corner, throughout your entire day.
Dover counselors want you to know that there is nothing wrong or bad with you if you are struggling with anxiety. Many people are fighting anxiety, and many more have overcome it.
What Is Anxiety Counseling Like?
Dover Thriveworks focuses on individualizing the therapy session, so our attention is on the most important part of counseling—you! Our counselors are here to guide you to your goals, and to help build the best life you see for yourself.
However, there are many tried and true techniques that can help us reach those goals faster. In fact, researchers have found therapy to be the most effective way to overcome anxiety, stronger than even medication. Some of these powerful tools include:
- Learning how to identify anxious thoughts
- Think critically about those thoughts. Are they true? Why or why not?
- Cognitive distortions are common flaws in human thinking that may exasperate or even cause anxiety. We can guide you through recognizing these thought patterns in yourself and how to stop them.
- Coping methods- anxiety exists. It sucks, but it won’t go away after a night. Learning how to manage when bad anxiety does hit is crucial.
- Talk about the core problem. Sometimes anxiety is a result of external factors that are hard to see. Thriveworks counselors are trained to walk with you through your thoughts and life experiences, untangling what may be the root cause.
- Exposing you to the thing that causes you anxiety. It sounds awful, but we’ll be with you the entire time. Facing your anxiety in a safe, controlled environment can be extremely useful in overcoming it.
There are many other ways we will spend our time in a counseling session. Our intent will always be to progress in a way you are comfortable and happy with. The counselors at Dover Thriveworks want to walk with you as you fight anxiety and provide professional advice when we get stuck.
Anxiety can be a black hole that sucks the joy out of life. It can make you feel stuck and like you’ll never be able to take another step forward. But there is hope! Counseling at Dover Thriveworks can be the little nudge that will get you back on the right path to overcoming your anxiety. We are excited to walk with you on this journey of healing and growth!