At the core of anxiety is a deep longing to feel safe. This might mean physically, emotionally, spiritually or all three. Oftentimes, symptoms can manifest as an attempt to seek certainty and control--because this gives us a sense of safety. You may find yourself becoming overly rigid with certain routines, ruminating and overthinking, struggling with panic symptoms like a racing heart or shortness of breath. This is because being in a constant state of anxiety puts our nervous system on overdrive. Cortisol and adrenaline (stress hormones) rise in our bodies, making it difficult to relax, sleep or even eat properly. You might find it harder to concentrate and may feel more irritable in general. If this is you, please know there is hope! There are many ways to treat anxiety and its many manifestations. Contrary to popular belief, the goal isn’t actually to get rid of anxiety. It serves an important purpose and carries important messages about your inner world. Without anxiety, we would have never survived as a species. The goal of anxiety treatment is, rather, to change your relationship towards it so that it is not taking over your life. It is to learn to embrace uncertainty and build self trust.
In therapy, my approach to this is to look at all the ways your daily habits are fueling your anxiety. We look at behaviors, compulsions, thought patterns, emotional regulation, physical needs and relational patterns that are fueling your anxiety. We then work on changing your relationship to your thoughts, developing new core belief systems, regulating emotions that are aching to be expressed, meeting your physical needs (food, water, medication, sleep hygiene), finding ways to build an internal sense of safety and trust, and building up support systems in your life.
Most importantly, in our work together, I will teach you how to embrace your anxiety. It’s often the things we do to avoid anxiety that ends up making it worse! The reality is, anxiety is a temporary visitor in our life, that when channeled properly, will come and go naturally on it’s own. There are many breathing, somatic practices that can help channel anxiety from the bottom up. If we listen closely, we might find that anxiety is carrying an important message about our inner world that is longing for our attention or care--an unmet need, an unbalanced nervous system, an over burdened soul or an overworked lifestyle. In some cases, a medication evaluation might be a recommendation to help bring your nervous system back into balance so we can do the deeper work together. Either way, I am here to help you reclaim your life and live a meaningful life WITH anxiety. Book a consultation today and let’s get started!
-Allyson Ford, MA, LPCC