Anxiety can clamp down on you and make you unable to do the things you want to do, or keep you from trying new things, growing, and forging relationships. It can prevent you from performing at your best when you have the skills to succeed, and it can keep you from escaping by the skin of your teeth when you don’t have the skills to succeed!
But when you master anxiety management skills, you will learn how to live the life you want despite your anxiety. It will never go away completely — it is too deeply wired into our systems, but once you gain the skills to manage it, you will have facility over it. Think of it like a backpack or suitcase– you know it’s there, and some days it’s heavier than others (some days it’s really damn heavy!), but it doesn’t keep you from doing the things you need and want to do — it doesn’t hold you back. That’s what your relationship with anxiety can become.
Anxiety is healthy and adaptive — an anxiety disorder isn’t so much a bad thing as it is too much of a good thing.
We all worry sometimes. We’ve all felt or stomach flutter when we met someone new, or our hearts race in the moments before our names were called to give a presentation in school. Believe it or not, this is a good thing — anxiety keeps you alert, and makes you try your best. It’s our body’s built-in performance-enhancer. Remember, its origin is functional — it lets us know when a challenge is ahead, so we can be physically and mentally prepared to meet that challenge.
While it’s normal to worry on occasion, or to have a sleepless night during a time of stress, it isn’t normal to feel distressed over your anxiety on a daily basis — to worry about worry. It isn’t normal to abandoned things you used to enjoy because of nerves, or to feel your emotional needs aren’t being met because of an intense discomfort around others. if youIf your anxiety is causing a major disruption to your life — if you’re constantly worrying, having trouble sleeping, or are unable to relax, or if you’re having physical symptoms like restlessness, headaches and physical pain, muscle tension, or fatigue, then it may be time to take the next step.
Often, the first step towards reducing anxiety is to welcome it. Understanding that it is there to help you, and not to hurt you, is a powerful realization. From there, counseling will allow you to process and learn coping skills to manage panic and anxiety. With counseling you will gain insight into the modes of thought that create and perpetuate unnecessary worry and stress. Once you have these skills, you will be able to channel nanxiety positively and use it to your benefit. That’s not to say it won’t ever feel uncomfortable — at times, it will. But it won’t keep you from being you, and that’s the important thing. So think about seeking counseling for your anxiety. The sooner you take action, the sooner you will reap the benefits!
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