Has Anxiety Become An Obstacle To Your Peace Of Mind?

Does unwanted anxiety often undermine whatever you’re doing, leaving you agitated and worried? Rather than feeling comfortable and secure, do intrusive thoughts about all aspects of your life—from your relationships and social encounters to simple daily tasks—flood your mind and cause emotional distress? Have you wondered about how therapy could help relieve your anxiety so you could begin to enjoy what life has to offer?

Living with anxiety can be exhausting. Even when life is generally going well, you might find yourself ruminating over potential calamities you fear might be right around every corner. And although you’ve worked hard to achieve your level of success—accomplishments that, perhaps, you attribute to your perfectionist tendencies—you might feel like anxiety prevents you from enjoying it. Physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, shortness of breath, and trouble sleeping could exacerbate your sense of unease. 

You May Feel Uncertain In Your Relationships

Maybe your anxiety flares up in relationships or social situations. If you’re dating someone, your thoughts might shuffle through a steady rotation of “Do they like me?”, “Why haven’t they texted me back yet?”, and “Where is this relationship headed?” If you don’t feel comfortable in social gatherings, you may worry that you said the wrong thing and that others are judging you.

If you are concerned about making others happy above all else, you might always try to say and do what you think is expected of you. Without establishing boundaries or asserting your own needs and desires, you may be struggling to figure out who you really are. 

The good news is anxiety therapy can help you settle your mind by identifying what means the most to you. By aligning with your values, you can boost self-esteem and feel more confident about your life and your place within it. 

Anxiety Has Become A Fixture In Today’s Hectic World

Although it’s normal and expected for everyone to experience anxiety from time to time, too much anxiety can become a problem. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “An estimated 31.1 percent of U.S. adults experience an anxiety disorder at some time in their lives.” Usually, anxiety disorders, such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), social anxiety, panic attacks, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), require some form of treatment to resolve.

The individualistic and often isolating culture that we live in can often contribute to anxiety. What’s more, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed life for many of us, leading to more “virtual” living than ever before. Unfortunately, too much exposure to social media—which encourages unhealthy comparisons to others while falsely portraying perpetual happiness—can keep our anxiety turned up to full volume. 

We Don’t Always Recognize When We Have Anxiety

When we are in the midst of anxiety, we may not realize how much our thought patterns have become distorted. If, for example, we have convinced ourselves that we are unlovable, our brain may engage in “selective attention,” finding confirmation that this is true everywhere we look. Although unaware we’re doing it, we become prone to misperceiving what someone says to corroborate our own irrational beliefs. Sadly, this is how we get stuck in anxious thinking that we don’t know how to escape.

However, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based treatment for anxiety that focuses on dismantling these negative thought patterns and shifting your focus in a more positive direction. Working with a CBT-trained therapist can help you move beyond anxiety.

Therapy Teaches You The Tools To Manage Anxiety

Anxiety is often tied to a sense of control and safety. You may believe that if you do things in a certain way, you will avoid anything bad from happening. Meanwhile, your mind has become cluttered with intrusive thoughts that keep you on high alert and make it impossible to relax and recharge. Therapy can help gain awareness of times when your self-talk is negative, directing you to healthier coping skills that will keep anxiety at bay. 

Counseling sessions offer you a safe and nonjudgmental space to express the pain anxiety causes as well as what your hopes and dreams are. Your therapist is an expert in treating anxiety and will not only provide you with validation and support but will also help you to implement new skills that will decrease suffering and improve your quality of life. Dedicating time each week to therapy will help you understand yourself more fully, allowing you to define, strive for, and achieve your goals.

What To Expect In Sessions

Our approach to anxiety treatment is goal-focused. After an initial assessment where your therapist will review your history and build rapport with you, they will work collaboratively with you to establish treatment goals. Where we decide to start will depend on your preferences and priorities.

Because anxiety affects everyone differently, we will first assess what your symptoms are and how anxiety shows up for you. Once we identify the underlying causes of your anxiety, we can then provide you with helpful skills to decrease your distress and improve your overall quality of life.

The Modalities We Use

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach proven effective in overcoming anxiety. CBT works from the perspective that thoughts affect feelings, which in turn can influence behaviors and actions. In CBT, we examine the distorted thoughts which lead to actions that are not in alignment with your goals and values. Bringing awareness to false beliefs that may contribute to feelings of not being good enough will help you shift away from negative thought patterns, build up your self-esteem, and reduce anxiety.

In addition, your values can be viewed as a compass for navigating your life. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an offshoot of CBT that focuses on identifying what your values are. By exploring what you care about most and determining how your values align with how you are living, we will identify areas of misalignment where distress and anxiety may arise. Utilizing mindfulness and committed action, your counselor will help you make healthy modifications to your lifestyle that will promote your values while simultaneously alleviating anxiety.

Whether you struggle with social anxiety, people-pleasing behavior, panic attacks, or intrusive thoughts, therapy is available that can help you shed the shackles of anxiety and live a more fulfilling, value-based life.

But You May Wonder Whether Anxiety Therapy Is Right For You…

Counseling won’t help meI've always had anxiety.

If you can’t remember a time when you weren’t an anxious person, it’s easy to convince yourself that you are immune to therapy and destined to always suffer from an anxiety disorder. However, no matter how long you’ve experienced symptoms, anxiety is treatable. As anxiety disorder specialists, the therapists at Colorado CBT offer many skills that can decrease both the intensity and the frequency of your symptoms. As the name of our practice implies, we have found CBT to be highly effective in decreasing the intensity and frequency of anxiety.

I'll never have close relationships because I get too anxious around other people.

Understandably, you may want to avoid social situations if being around people causes you anxiety. But by focusing on social interactions in therapy, you will realize that anxiety is not harmful to you—in fact, the more you lean into the things that make you anxious today, the less they will make you anxious tomorrow. In treatment, our therapists have provided many people with the tools to manage their anxiety so they can make and keep friends and come to enjoy dating.

My anxiety has helped me set high standards to achieve life goals. Will I become unmotivated without it? 

Anxiety is often intertwined with the mindset of high-achieving individuals. You may believe that it’s your rigidity and strict routine that have led to your success. But when you take a step back and evaluate how these anxious tendencies are impacting you, you will realize that they’re not helping you how you think they are. After all, how can you be achieving peak performance when you are not present in your body and can never relax? Part of our work together will be dedicated to debunking the myths surrounding anxiety’s role in achievement, helping you understand that it can actually detract from, rather than fuel, your success.

Getting Help For Your Anxiety Can Restore Calm

The sooner you get started with treatment, the sooner you can be free from anxiety. If you would like to find out more about anxiety therapy with us, please visit our contact page to schedule a free 15-minute consultation.