Are You Feeling Anxious?

Are You Feeling Anxious?
There’s hope!

Anxiety (anxious feelings or thoughts, often accompanied by unpleasant physical sensations such as a pounding heart, sweaty palms, stomach butterflies, etc.) happens to all of us at least occasionally.

However, when it becomes too frequent or too intense it can mean you need some extra help.

I can help you reduce your anxiety by addressing the underlying cause(s), of which there may be more than one. Here are some of the possible reasons you have too much anxiety:

1) Anxiety-producing thoughts or beliefs. It is not uncommon to have an “inner dialogue” of thoughts or beliefs that create anxiety. For example, thinking “I’m too stupid to do this job”, or “I’ll never be able to handle this”, can not only undermine your sense of confidence, but lead you to have an underlying sense of fear and insecurity in the world.

2) Anxiety-producing physical self-care. Your body may be feeling anxious because you are not giving it the physical care it requires. Lack of sleep or adequate relaxation time, an over-stimulating schedule, overconsumption of stimulants such as caffeine, or lack of exercise can make your body “wired and tired”- and anxious.

3) Anxiety-producing events. Sometimes upsetting incidents from your our past can get “stuck” in your body. Instead of returning to baseline after a scary or disturbing event, you stay jittery, wired or over-reactive even though the event is over and seemingly forgotten. This can happen as a result of single incident such a car accident, assault or injury, or from more chronic situations such as negative or abusive relationships. Restoring your resilience will greatly reduce your overall anxiety. To learn more about Somatic Experiencing┬«, in which I am Certified Practitioner, click here.

4) Anxiety Producing “Attachments”. Learning how to help ourselves feel safe is something we absorb (or not) in our formative childhood years. The field of psychology describes something called a “secure attachment” to one or both parents. In a secure attachment the child is soothed and comforted, and thereby unconsciously absorbs the ability to soothe and comfort themself. To the extent this didn’t happen for you, you will need to acquire the ability to self-comfort (that is, to reduce your feelings of anxiety) later in life.

In our initial meeting we will discuss your particular concerns about anxiety and develop a plan to help you feel better. We’ll talk about what needs to happen both in your sessions and things you can do at home to help. In the meantime, here are a couple of excellent resources to get you started on living a calmer, less anxious life:

1. The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, by Edmund J. Bourne. This book is a classic in the field. It provides an excellent explanation of the many forms anxiety can take, as well as exercises and steps to take to reduce anxiety. A good starting place.

2. Healing Trauma, by Peter Levine. This self-help book and the accompanying CD contain various exercises you can do to begin to connect with your yourself in a centering and soothing way. It explains how stressful events in the past can cause our nervous system to become disregulated, and how to return the nervous system to its natural state of resilience.

Call or email me for a FREE 15 minute phone consultation!

Karen Caffrey, LPC, JD, Counseling and Psychotherapy in West Hartford, CT 06107