Anxiety and Stress Management


Does any of this sound like you?

The sleepless nights, jittery hands in the morning, crying when you wake up, fake smile or bravado, and telling everyone you are “fine” when they ask how you are.

You say yes to another project (even though you wanted to say no) because you don’t want anyone to suspect that you are not okay. The people closest to you may have noticed that you aren’t acting the same, though.

You excuse yourself from meetings because you feel so nervous, or worse, you call into work… again.

You snap at the kids, your significant other, parents, customers, the barista at your favorite coffee shop – everyone is fair game for your irritability depending on the day. Then there’s the guilt of being that way with people.

You don’t even want to spend time with people anymore – even the people you used to have fun around. You don’t have fun at places you used to, either.

You can’t deny that something is wrong. You’re not happy anymore.

How can I go on like this?

You have so much on your plate, and it feels like it is overflowing. If anyone else asks me to help them, I am going to scream! But so many people depend on you. You are the glue that holds everything together.

You eat right and exercise most of the time. What am I doing wrong? I shouldn’t feel this way. I must be going crazy.

You are not going crazy. It is anxiety.

The symptoms of anxiety can be miserable.

Sometimes they come in waves, seemingly out of nowhere. At other times, you can feel them building.

Oh no! Here it comes again!

Your heart races, and your muscles are tight. You can’t concentrate, and your memory is so bad lately.

You can’t fall asleep or stay asleep or, worse, both. You are exhausted.

Sometimes your stomach knots up, and you cry (or at least want to).

You don’t have an appetite or are eating more than usual.

And, let me guess: You’re an expert at thinking of worst-case scenarios. You are worried about everything, you are sure that you are failing at all parts of your life, and your thoughts come rapid-fire – doom and gloom.

First, you think you will lose your job, then your family, you will be homeless, then what?!?

If only my thoughts would calm down.

Maybe your anxiety has crossed over into panic at times – sweaty palms, can’t catch your breath, feeling like you are having a heart attack or like you are about to die. Have you been to a doctor only to be told that “nothing is wrong medically”?

Something must be wrong – normal people don’t feel like this.

Would you believe that all this is your brain trying to protect you?

What?! It’s true. This is an ancient alert system in the body designed to keep you safe from life-threatening danger. You know… the kind where you are running from a bear, so you don’t become its next meal.

We can feel this same anxiety and fear from being in rush-hour traffic, being humiliated, thinking we are not successful enough, or worrying that our boss or significant other is mad about something we did. Do you get the picture?

Speaking of the picture, many people with anxiety are very creative and can create vivid images in their minds of worst-case situations. They’re seldom comforting, and the body doesn’t know the difference between the image and the “real danger,” so, here comes the anxiety!

You may have noticed an “upside” of anxiety…

You probably have more energy than those around you and can get more done than most people. You see the potential risks and pitfalls in projects, which puts you a few steps ahead of everyone else. You plan and are usually the most prepared in situations, or you manage well in crises (you might even be the calmest in those situations).

The downside to anxiety is when it gets out of control. That is when it takes over your life, holds you back, and gets in your way more than it helps.

Here’s how therapy can help your anxiety…

Get to the root of some of your recurring worries and learn to eliminate them.

You will learn how to use mindfulness to become aware of your thoughts. No, we will not meditate all session. If you want to meditate, that won’t hurt, but meditation and mindfulness are different. We will work on simple ways of bringing mindfulness to your life to identify the patterns of worry keeping you stuck. Some of these patterns start in childhood.

Learn how to manage your thinking and decrease the amount of stress you create for yourself.

Using cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, you will learn how your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors interact to create certain mental states. You will learn how to manage your thoughts in more healthy ways to eliminate some of the anxiety you create. These techniques can also help you learn how to react to external situations and circumstances from a place of calm.

Prioritize tasks and your to-do list, so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

Often, people overload their schedules and days with many things to do – too many things. You will learn how to develop realistic expectations for yourself and others to help you remove some anxiety and overwhelm from your life. You will likely become more effective with your to-do list using this approach.

Learn tools to help you cope with the uncomfortable feelings of anxiety when they come up.

By using mindfulness techniques in different ways, you will learn how to face your fears and anxiety instead of avoiding them. Did you know that most people I meet in therapy breathe in a manner that creates more anxiety? You will also learn proven methods of breathing that can reduce the anxiety in your body within minutes.

Start living a life you love and look forward to, instead of feeling weighed down by anxiety and fear.

When you start to control the external and internal contributors to anxiety, you will know that you can manage anxiety if it comes up. You will stop avoiding places or people, or situations that create anxiety because you will have tools to manage anxiety if it shows up.

Feel like the confident, accomplished person you know you are.

Once you have managed anxiety on your own for a while, you will have built confidence that anxiety is no longer running or ruining your day. You can get back to accomplishing the goals you have set for yourself without worrying if anxiety will ruin the day or even your life.

You may have been stuck or in pain for a long time. Regardless of how long it has been, we can work toward greater peace and contentment. You can find happiness and fulfillment.

Stress Management

Life keeps getting more and more complicated…

You’re smart, hard-working, and always pushing yourself to be better. Overall, you’re successful. But something is still missing. Where are the joy and fulfillment?

In some ways, the older you get, the less you struggle. But in other ways, life just keeps getting more complicated with more responsibilities and expectations – from others and even ourselves.

Driven and successful people put a TON of pressure on themselves. This can help move you forward and accomplish a lot, but it can also cause stress.

Fear of making a mistake can paralyze you and prevent you from taking any action at all. Holding others to an unreasonably high standard can cause you to feel continually disappointed and frustrated.

Circumstances can create a lot of stress, and it all feels like it is out of your control.

Stress is unavoidable, but too much can lead to exhaustion.

Stress can consume all your resources and leave you “running on empty.”

Physically, you are tired. Your muscles are sore, stiff, and achy. You might get sick more often.

There are endless worries… nights that you can’t sleep.

Then there are the headaches, eating problems, etc.

Are you drinking more or eating more? Trying whatever you can to cope?

Some days you have a lot of energy: always working, always doing, always busy. If you keep going, then your brain won’t have time to think about all the things you worry about or feel the bad feelings you have inside.

Concentration is a joke lately, and focus seems difficult. You are becoming more forgetful at work and home. It is feeling as though you won’t be able to get back on track, and that terrifies you, too.

You say yes to another project (even though you wanted to say no) because you don’t want anyone to suspect that you are not okay. The people closest to you may have noticed that something is different about you, though.

What would people think if they knew how awful I really felt on the inside?

Want to manage your stress better? Here’s how therapy can help…

Learn how to recover from being overly stressed.

When you better understand what stress does to the body and what steps you can take to decrease the stress you add to an already taxed system, you can recover more quickly. Some things people do are the opposite of what the body needs to recover.

Learn to identify your red flags and triggers for stress.

We will create a blueprint for your stress triggers, so you can adjust accordingly. By being prepared, you can balance yourself before you become overly stressed.

Identify what is most important to you and adjust your priorities to keep stress manageable.

By finding out what you value most, we can determine if you live your life in alignment with what is most important to you. Some people jump from one job, relationship, or hobby to another repeatedly because they have no idea what is truly important. This way of living can create incredible amounts of stress.

Learn how to take care of yourself in ways that create more resilience against stress.

At times, people come to me because they have put everyone and everything else first in their lives, and they feel exhausted and burned out. We will work to create a routine that works for you and does not take many hours a day to complete, but that rejuvenates you to have more energy to face the challenges of daily living.

Learn how to set boundaries and say “no” when you really need to.

When one says “yes” to every opportunity, challenge, or request that comes their way, they will probably feel burned out at some point. I can help you learn tools and skills to decide when and how to most effectively say “no” to requests that don’t truly interest you… without you feeling guilty or worried that you have let someone down.

If you are of a particular gender, race, religious belief, generation, culture, you know, too, there may be pressures you are not aware of that you are trying to live up to which create stress. Sometimes identifying where the stress is coming from can help a great deal.

If you like, we will also look at those factors to make sure they align with your values and decrease stress in those areas.

Therapy can help you sort all of this out.

It’s time that you get on the path to feeling better.

I know you are busy, and your plate is overflowing, and that adding even one more appointment into your life seems difficult.

What if, instead of an overflowing plate that seems to control you and suck the life out of you, you create a life that is overflowing with peace and contentment? And what if you find joy again? That’s what working on this in therapy can help you have.

Is the thought of focusing on your anxiety creating more anxiety? We won’t just focus on anxiety and problems; we will solve problems, and you will learn the skills and tools to help you manage anxiety and stress. If you want to avoid thinking about anxiety, I get it. That’s normal and understandable. As much as you have already tried to avoid it or pretend it isn’t there and just “carry on,” or use a “mind over matter” approach, none of that has worked.

Maybe the thought of meeting someone new is causing anxiety. That’s why we do a 15-minute free consultation, so we can talk with each other to see if working together will be a “good fit” for both of us.

When you work on the things that will help you get past your anxiety or stress, consider it an investment. You are investing in your future happier self who feels alive and fulfilled with life.

With a little courage and someone to help guide you through the process, you can do it.
What do you envision when you think of a life where anxiety or stress don’t control you?

Let’s start to make your vision a reality.

Call today for your 15-minute free consultation: (720) 466-5667.