Is Trying to Hold Your Life Together Stressing You Out?
Are your hard-earned achievements failing to translate into happiness? If so, you might wonder if the effort of holding it at all together is worth it. You might also question whether you’ve made enough progress toward your goals, or if you’re even on the right path at all.
Do ambitious goals, past mistakes, or a fear of failure make decision-making difficult? If you tend to view life choices as black-and-white, you may fear that one wrong move will set you on an unalterable path, paralyzing you into inaction.
Does your commitment to perfection drive you to obsess over small details or control/micromanage others? Moreover, does the thought of achieving and maintaining those high standards overwhelm you? If so, you might meet those standards in some areas but completely give up in others, such as the organization of your home or office. You may judge yourself harshly for such “failures,” feeding a vicious cycle of anxiety and shame.
Are you worried that you may have taken on too much? Despite that, is it hard for you to say “no” to people, forcing you to waste time and energy on things you never wanted to do in the first place? As a result, you may never manage to feel rested, especially if—like many anxiety sufferers—you have insomnia.
Do you find social engagements exhausting? You may be so worn out from your other commitments that social events feel like just another chore. And if your anxiety is severe, you may even have difficulty running public errands.
Do you worry that, if you relax, everything might fall apart? If so, this can also lead to physical symptoms. You may suffer from frequent headaches, pain in your jaw, or neck tension. You may also find yourself holding your breath or breathing shallowly when you’re anxious.
Anxiety can magnify life’s challenges and make you question yourself, affecting your work performance and your relationships. You may think that, because you don’t know how to overcome anxiety, there must be something wrong with you. But your anxiety isn’t who you are.
Stressors Are All Around Us
Anxiety affects 40 million adults every year. We are all pulled in a million different directions, from trying to achieve our career goals to building families and relationships. Deadlines, caretaker responsibilities, fitness goals, holiday activities, political issues, and more are all vying for our attention. Trying to achieve perfection in every area is a recipe for anxiety.
On any given day, every one of us experiences anxiety to some degree. In and of itself, that isn’t a bad thing. Physiological stress can be a signal of danger up ahead, protecting you from harm. But your psyche doesn’t know the difference between an attacking lion and an angry boss, so it may sometimes overreact to stressors.
Modern technology exposes us to more opportunities for professional and personal life fulfillment than we could ever practically pursue. Western culture dictates that we should work as hard as possible and do everything perfectly—which means that “good enough” rarely actually seems good enough.
When we’re unable to live up to our own expectations or those of others, anxiety is a natural result.
How Anxiety Therapy Can Help
Therapy won’t completely eliminate the stress in your life, but it will teach you how to reduce anxiety and allow you to tolerate it much more easily. Over time, treatment can help you to recognize and de-escalate stressful situations, greatly reducing the magnitude of your stress response.
Whether you realize it or not, your past experiences shape how you interpret and respond to stimuli. Our minds learn from every experience, so oftentimes, we’re not responding to what’s in front of us but to our histories. Or at least to what our history has taught us to anticipate in the present moment.
This emotional autopilot can take us places we don’t want to go. We may overreact or make false assumptions about ourselves or people we encounter, even loved ones. Fortunately, anxiety therapy can help you recognize unconscious conditioning when it occurs, giving you a choice between continuing on autopilot or making a course correction.
In our sessions, I’ll encourage you to become a neutral observer of your own thoughts and impulses. You’ll learn to gently question the source of your anxiety when it arises, helping you to identify your triggers and any deep-seated emotions that may be driving them. I’ll also teach you practical strategies and relaxation techniques to help you regain your calm in stressful situations.
Anxiety treatment will help you communicate on a deeper level with the people in your life by slowing you down enough to question your assumptions about them. You’ll also learn to recognize false assumptions about yourself. Many of my clients don’t realize how deeply they’ve internalized harmful self-judgments, even if they recognize that they have low self-esteem. So, we’ll explore whether these judgments are accurate, or whether they’re just a familiar story that’s on repeat, only serving to hold you back.
With anxiety therapy, you’ll also learn to take better care of yourself. With my help, you can learn to tolerate the discomfort of saying “no,” creating new opportunities for self-care. As a result, you’ll have more energy for the things you’ve said “yes” to.
As you consider anxiety therapy, you may be wondering…
Isn’t my anxiety what’s holding everything together?
You may have noticed a correlation between your anxiety and your ability to get things done. After all, ceaseless activity and stress tend to go hand in hand. You might fear that if you let go of some of your anxiety you’ll be less successful. But ambition isn’t diminished when anxiety starts to dissolve—it’s actually strengthened. It can be very difficult to mentally disentangle anxiety and ambition, but I can help you with that in our sessions.
Do I really need anxiety help? Stress is normal, and I should be able to handle it.
It’s true that some anxiety is common in our fast-paced culture, and many people are able to “handle it” on their own. But it’s also true that persistent anxiety can affect every area of your life, so reducing it can be life-changing. If stress is limiting your potential, therapy can get you back on track more quickly and with less discomfort than handling it on your own.
Anxiety treatment seems expensive. Is it really worth it?
If you want to improve your relationships, your health, and all the other things anxiety can affect in your life, therapy can be worth the investment. When you learn to tolerate a full range of feelings—including anxiety—you’ll be better prepared for every situation you encounter. Many clients have even told me that their fresh perspective, calmer demeanor, and healthier self-esteem have led to professional advancement, and in some cases, improved earning potential.
Invest In Yourself
I have more than 10 years of experience showing clients how to reduce and better tolerate their anxiety. Schedule a free 20-minute phone consultation to find out if I’m the right person to help you through your challenges.