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All About Anxiety

What is anxiety?

So, as you can probably imagine, I frequently get asked how to get rid of anxiety. I also get asked all kinds of other questions about anxiety. Because of this, I wanted to have a place dedicated to providing that information. This is that place.

Anxiety is an uncomfortable emotion you experience related to thinking about something happening (or something that may happen) in the future. A lot of the time anxiety arises when you’re focusing on the “what ifs” of a situation, or emphasizing what could go wrong. We can call it a “physical emotion.” You experience physical symptoms along with feeling scared, worried, nervous, tense, or similar.

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

As mentioned above, anxiety has physical and emotional symptoms. Here are a few of each:

Emotional:

  • Feeling tense
  • Feeling scared
  • Worrying
  • Trouble concentrating or focusing
  • Irritability
  • Trouble sleeping, or insomnia

Physical:

  • Feeling “jittery” or having trouble being still
  • Fatigue, or feeling tired
  • Nausea
  • Feeling particularly hot or cold
  • “Butterflies in the stomach”
  • Sweating

Can other things happen along with anxiety?

Yes. The fact is you may not exclusively experience anxiety. It doesn’t always travel alone or pack lightly. Anxiety may contribute to some additional distress, or it may be a result of other problems you have going on. It may occur along with trauma, depression, irritability, or even self harm. The good thing is that no matter how many unpleasant feelings you have, we can address them, and you can begin to get rid of anxiety and back to feeling the way you want.

What causes anxiety?

There isn’t one thing to point to with this. There is information on specific types of anxiety below, but we can add a little here. Some of us may just naturally have a tendency to feel anxious a little easier. For others, certain life experiences may lead to feeling anxious. In a lot of cases, it is a combination. As described above, irrational thinking plays a huge part in anxiety. You don’t necessarily have to think this way on purpose. But it can become a default way of viewing things. The good news is that healthy thinking can become your natural way of thinking and help you to get rid of anxiety.

Are there different types of anxiety, or anxiety disorders?

Yes, there are multiple types of anxiety. These different forms of anxiety have the potential to affect relationships, grades, social activity, work – most any area of life. I don’t focus on giving you a label. I feel like it is more important to help you meet your goals, rather than to try to tell you “what you are.” I’m not crazy about using the word “disorder,” but I’ve listed some of the various terms and diagnosable types of anxiety:

Anxiety Attack // Panic Attack

This is an extremely intense feeling, with quite a few physical symptoms that usually only lasts a limited time. People experiencing panic attacks sometimes identify feeling like they’ll have a heart attack or die, and

Social Anxiety (Social Anxiety Disorder)

Social anxiety can affect the time you spend with your friends, family, or in social situations in general. It can cause you to feel that people don’t like you, making conversations difficult, or resulting in shyness.

Generalized Anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)

With generalized anxiety, you may notice that you become anxious about any number of things. It may not be specific at all.

Phobias

Specific fears, such as fear of heights, or fear of flying/flight anxiety. (This may be more common than you think. I’ve actually talked a fellow passenger through a plane landing before).

Separation Anxiety

Anxiety that is triggered when you are not able to be with a certain person. This can also be worry about or anticipate not being with that person in the future, or excessive worry about that person being harmed or having their health affected negatively.

Adjustment Disorder

Adjusting to life changes can be tough. It can cause a number of problems, including anxiety. Just a few examples of changes may include moving, starting college, going to a new school, or losing friends.

As is the case with most mental health issues, the issues listed above can vary in severity. As a result, they may not all look exactly the same for everyone. What someone shows outwardly is not always the same as what they are feeling on the inside.

What are effective treatments for anxiety?

"How do I get rid of anxiety?"

This is one of the most common questions I hear in my office. It makes sense for a counselor who specializes in anxiety. Luckily, there are tons of effective treatments to help you get rid of anxiety. Here are a few.

Therapy & Counseling – How I treat anxiety

I use mainly Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Person Centered Therapy. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Anxiety

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a very well researched form of therapy. The basics of CBT are that we look at how thoughts, actions, and feelings interact in the present moment. All of these things affect one another. Therefore, we work to figure out how to make them work the best for you. When you look up how to get rid of anxiety, you're likely to see counseling as an option, and you're likely to see CBT.

Person Centered Therapy for Anxiety

Person Centered Therapy, also known as Rogerian, assures that you feel heard and understood. I believe that you’re the expert on you. This doesn’t mean that you’re left to do all the work yourself, but it does allow you to be yourself without judgement. Some other benefits are improvement in self confidence, relationship-building, and developing a sense of identity.

To sum up the combination of these two types of therapy in a single phrase: Addressing feelings, thoughts, and actions in a way that is works best for you, as a unique person, and making sure that you feel good about what we are doing.

Anxiety can be treated with or without medication.

Some people want medication, and others don’t. Whatever you want, just know there are options. I don’t push either option, but both are there for you. I do recommend that you have an evaluation by a psychiatrist if you are considering medication. It is also important to know that in many cases, medication is not the most effective long-term solution or fix to get rid of anxiety.

Additional options for treating anxiety

The question of whether medication, therapy, or other natural means of treatment can get rid of anxiety is a valid one. It's great that we have plenty of options. Here are some of the natural means and some alternative therapies or activities.

A balanced diet and avoiding processed foods can be helpful for overall mood improvement. Exercising on a regular basis has also been shown to assist in improving quite a few mood issues and to help folks get rid of anxiety (we’re talking as little as a brisk walk – you don’t have to run a marathon daily). Due in part to this benefit, I also offer Walk and Talk Therapy.  Some additional therapies or activities that may be helpful include massage, yoga, or reiki, among others.

There are several supplements that may have some calming effects or decrease anxiety. If you consider these, you should follow directions and probably consult your doctor before taking them.

Happy woman in the mountains - get rid of anxiety

It seems like the anxiety will never go away. Will it ever stop? Can I ever get rid of anxiety?

Take comfort in knowing there is hope. Anxiety is tough, and it definitely can seem like it will never stop. Although anxiety is a pretty common feeling, it can get bad enough or happen so often that it messes life up. This is what we mean when we say "how to get rid of anxiety," or that we want to "get rid of anxiety." We're talking about the anxiety that happens so often, lasts so long, or gets so intense that it affects you living the way you want to live.

It definitely does not have to be that way forever. You can have the life you want, one without anxiety messing things up or keeping you from doing what you want. I’ve seen it happen for plenty of folks in the past, and I know it can happen for you.

Just in case you didn’t read that last part – You can have the life you want. I’ve seen it happen before. I KNOW it can happen for you.

If you’d like to get started with counseling, reach out via the links below or visit my Contact page for more information.