Anxiety Counseling and Therapy – Counselors in Colorado Springs
What is Anxiety?
All of us feel anxious sometimes, and anxiety is a normal part of life. Anxiety runs on a continuum from everyday stress to the heightened "fight or flight" response that is activated in trauma. Our brain is a problem-finding, problem-fixing machine. Our brain's job is not to make us happy, but to keep us safe.
So our brain is doing its job to keep us safe when it sends feelings of worry or anxiety as a danger signal. This is often a helpful warning, telling us to proceed with caution.
While this is important for survival, anxiety can become a problem if it's triggered too easily or if it's interfering with your school or work, relationships, or causing you a lot of emotional distress. Sometimes our brains get stuck in a pattern of repeating the same unhelpful thoughts over and over and over again, for example, worries about the future, safety, what others think about us, or if we're good enough. Even if you intellectually know that there's no immediate danger right now, you might be frustrated that you still feel anxious.
You can find peace of mind once your body and your mind can both agree that you're safe right now in this moment, you're a worthwhile person, and that there are things you can do to make yourself feel better.
Tips for dealing with anxiety
- Deep breathing. Breathe in counting to 5, and out counting to 7 as long as you like. Anytime you breathe out longer than you breathe in, it helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system and slow down your body.
- Focus on your 5 senses. Come out of your whirling thoughts into the present by noticing 5 things you can see, 5 things you can hear, 5 things you can feel. You may count everything blue or red around you.
- Grounding. Notice both feet on the ground and the earth holding you up. Imagine a golden cord stretching from the sky, running through your body, and connecting you firmly to the ground.
- Remember that your brain is doing it's job to keep you safe. You might even tell it, "Thanks mind."
- Remember that anxiety is not permanent. All feelings come and go. It won't last forever, and even though it's uncomfortable, it's not dangerous.
- Imagine letting the anxiety pass through you like a wave. Watch it rise and eventually fall. Sometimes trying to fight against it can make it seem worse.
- Remind yourself of helpful thoughts like:
- This will end. It has always ended before.
- This feeling is uncomfortable, but it can't hurt me. I'm ok right now.