Let's begin by describing what anxiety is. Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry or overwhelm based on a certain event, or an overall unease. The brain is wired to keep us safe. It is programed to remember the negatives we experience to prepare us for a possible next time. While this used to be for survival from predators , such as remember what bear tracks looked like, what a poison berry looked or smelled like. In current times these are experiences and feelings that bring us value and safety in our jobs (or school) and relationships. For example, if we are caught off guard by something and feel unprepared our brain will remember it so we are not unprepared again.
This can be concerns about:
How we are seen by people we care about
Our value in work or school
Our acceptance among our peers or family
Our accomplishments in aspects of our lives
Our morals and boundaries
These are just some examples of triggers that can cause the brain to become aroused in a state of anxiety. When the brain takes in information that we are unsafe, it begins the physical reactions that produce the fight/flight/freeze responses. This reaction will begin such as feelings of a tight stomach, or feeling the heart racing, or sweating. As the threat continues the body will continue the process, making these experiences more noticeable.
So what does this have to do with the most effective anxiety therapy treatment? When therapy is a holistic approach the memories that have caused the brain to become overactive can be addressed and new narratives can be created in the brain. This consists of different types of therapeutic work.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) based narrative and dysfunctional thinking process work
For a specific fear (phobia) exposure therapy can be most helpful.
Mindfulness to stay grounded to know the difference between real and anxiety based fears,
Healing the past work to identify old wounds that created these narratives
Building a confidence sense of the self. When one has a great sense of their own needs, feelings, goals and experiences they can be sure that they are safe in their own abilities. The brain begins to change the messages and therefore it's reactions knowing that one might need a tiny nudge but does not need to scream to be safe.
Building a sense of self means holistically looking at the person as a whole, the emotional, physical, spiritual, social, work etc. We we build new narratives and a strong sense of self, these aspects become brighter, more positive and more confident.
Anxiety is not just one aspects that should be address on it's own. For long term success, all aspects should be addressed for the best possible outcome. Medications can also help aid in these processes so the systems in the brain are not having to work so hard to rebound from these experiences. These can be further discussed with your mental health professional or your medical doctor.
Immediate openings are available in our Gaithersburg and Frederick locations for in person sessions, or virtually. Contact us today for your FREE initial consultation to see how we can help you feel better, happier and safer.