Are your feelings of stress and anxiety getting in the way of your day-to-day life? Feeling some anxiety is natural, but if you’re finding that it’s happening more often than you think it should, therapy can be a great way to invest in yourself. Here are 10 ways that counseling can help reduce anxiety:
1. Understand Your Anxiety: A trained therapist can help you better understand what is making you feel anxious and why. Your anxiety likely involves more than one stressor. Tests, job interviews, and giving presentations make most people feel at least a little bit anxious. However, your past, family history, the environment you live in, and your daily activities play a very important role in how you feel everyday. The more you understand it, the better you'll be able to handle it.
2. Learn New Techniques: Therapy can help you learn new techniques for managing anxious thoughts and feelings. Because anxiety is a natural part of life, having several tools to handle it can be extremely helpful for making those anxious moments have less power over you. A therapist can make specific recommendations based on your strengths and needs.
3. Get to Know Yourself Better: Counseling can help you recognize patterns in your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. You might notice that you keep thinking, behaving, or feeling the same way over and over again. This can be frustrating, especially when you know you want to stop a pattern but keep falling back into it. A counselor can help you better understand why this is and help you strategize to overcome unwanted patterns or habits that are getting in your way.
4. Talk About It: Talking about your stress and worry can be very helpful. While you might have friends or family members to talk to, you may fear that they will judge you if you tell them your honest thoughts. Or, perhaps they might give you advice that doesn’t feel helpful or doesn’t acknowledge the many different factors that are making you feel anxious or stressed. Therapists are trained in listening carefully so that they can help you strategically address your challenges. They should also provide a safe and confidential space for you to be authentic without fear of being criticized.
5. Reduce Worry: Does worrying about your future contribute to your feelings of anxiety? Anxiety can make you more likely to focus on "what if" scenarios about the future. Counseling can help you become more equipped to plan for your future by helping you learn to make decisions that align with your values, strengths, and desires. Knowing that you are making plans that fit your unique needs can be very helpful in reducing worry.
6. Improve Relationships: Do you worry a lot about your relationships? Maybe you get anxious about your relationships with other people, what others think of you, or the things you have said to people. Relationships of all different kinds can make you feel anxious. It is helpful to discuss this in therapy to investigate why this might happen. You can also learn new tools and techniques that can help decrease anxiety about your relationships or interactions with other people.
7. Tackle School & Work Stress: You might notice you tend to get anxious at school or work. Perhaps you notice that Sundays make you feel uneasy because you’re worrying about the upcoming week. Or maybe you notice that certain classes or teachers make you feel tense. Therapy can help you notice patterns in the things that make you anxious while supporting you in learning what to do when you're anxious in the moment.
8. Stop Procrastination: Do you ever procrastinate? When you are feeling anxious, making decisions might take extra time. You might spend a lot of time fretting about what to do. When you finally make a decision, you might find yourself spending a lot of time worrying whether you made the ‘right’ choice. Therapy can help you tackle procrastination while developing habits that help you feel less anxious.
9. Sleep Better: Does anxiety ever keep you up at night? Perhaps you have trouble sleeping, find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, or notice you wake up too early in the morning. Sleep is one of the most important tools for improving mental health. A therapist can help you improve your sleep hygiene. Because anxiety often gets in the way of quality sleep, it’s helpful to carefully examine your sleep routine and implement evidence based tools for improving it.
10. Keep Up Your Progress! Counseling can help you learn how to maintain the positive changes you're making. Many people invest a lot of time and money into making changes, but aren’t able to make the changes last. This is actually a natural part of the stages of change and doesn't mean that you can't reach your goals. Counselors are trained in the art and science of lifestyle changes and can help you strategize, monitor your progress, overcome challenges, and be able to independently maintain your progress after therapy is over.
Sometimes it feels like anxiety is winning in the battle between stress and relaxation. This is a good sign that it might be time to get help. With time, tools, and techniques, you can have a healthy balance that allows you to focus when it’s time to work and relax when it’s time to wind down. Sound Mind Counseling & Wellness uses evidence based techniques to support clients in figuring out what is making them anxious and how to become more calm, focused, and relaxed. Please reach out today to hear more about how counseling might be helpful for your situation.