That nagging, annoying feeling that you can’t turn off. Your mind is no longer your own. The worry consumes you and you try to stop them, but the thoughts just keep coming. Racing, Flooding. They are like wild horses that you have tried to tame, with no success. Some days they are louder than others. Your chest feels tight and you may notice you are clenching your jaw or that your palms are sweaty. You distract yourself. You try to finish a task at work or a chore at home. You tell yourself that enough is enough, but soon they are back. The negative thoughts, and dozens of possible outcomes, the “what ifs”, and the “should haves”.
Some anxiety is normal, right?
If this sounds familiar you may be one of the 40 million adults in the US who are affected by anxiety. Some anxiety and worry is inevitable and a sign that you are, well… human. Though not everyone who experiences anxiety has a mental health disorder, for some the symptoms are severe enough to impact their daily lives and health and professional help is needed.
When anxiety gets out of control.
For those who live with daily symptoms of anxiety, life can be exhausting. Focusing can he hard, and no matter how much you try to relax, you always feel like you are living “on edge” and you can’t shut your mind off. Chronic and generalized anxiety are difficult to live with and can be debilitating. That’s because when you live in a constant state of anxiety, the “fear center” of your brain, the amygdala, is working overtime to activate your “fight or flight” response. The “fight or flight” response is what keeps you safe by either preparing you to run away from danger or fight for your life. This is a helpful mechanism in keeping you safe. Unfortunately, for some people the “fear center” of their brain turns on even when they are not in real danger.
The problem is that the body doesn’t really know if there is actual danger, or if it is an imagined threat, and so it responds by preparing you to either fight or flee. This automatic response of your nervous system includes heart palpitations, tightness in the chest and stomach, sweaty palms, shaking, muscle tension, and you are flooded with stress hormones.
Anxiety takes a toll on the body
Anxiety impacts people both psychologically and physically. Because of the deep and intimate connection between mind and body, it is important to understand how chronic anxiety affects the body over time. People with anxiety disorders are more likely to develop illnesses and tend to stay sick longer, because ongoing stress on the body tends to suppress the immune system, which is necessary in fighting off viruses and inflammation. Though the research on the relationship between anxiety and illnesses is still growing, several symptoms and conditions have been linked to anxiety:
High blood pressure
Chronic headaches and migraines
Irritable bowel syndrome
Respiratory disorders such as asthma
I've tried therapy before and it didn't work
You may have tried to get help before and feel like you got better for a little while, only to get worse later. Though there are several treatment approaches for anxiety disorders, at Thrivemind we believe that the best approach is one that addresses both the psychological and the physical aspects of anxiety. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and other approaches can be helpful, but are extremely limited in the long-term treatment of anxiety disorders. That is because they work from the “top down”; that is, they rely on the neocortex - the part of the brain dedicated to rational thinking - to teach you how to identify, re-structure, and change your unhealthy thoughts that cause you to feel anxious.
The best treatment approach.
The problem is that anxiety affects the limbic brain - the part of the brain responsible for processing emotions. This is why you may feel anxious, overwhelmed, and distressed even though you may not know why, or be able to identify a specific trigger or event that caused your anxiety. Our approached is two-pronged: we work from the “top-down” and from the “bottom-up”, and take a whole-person approach to your healing and growth. We will peel back the layers to get to the core of what is causing you anxiety. We will work together to understand how your anxiety works, how it affects your mind and your body, and what strategies will work best for your lifestyle to help you manage worry and stress. You will learn how to implement mindfulness-based approaches to help you reduce stress, such as meditation and yoga-inspired movement to help soothe the nervous system and heal both mind and body. When you work with us, you learn not just how to manage worrying thoughts. You learn real skills that you can implement to live a full life that is free from the heavy chains of anxiety.
If you have questions about your anxiety or our treatment approach, I invite you to call is at 910-939-0837. If you are ready to experience relief from anxiety, schedule an appointment here.
Almost 20 years ago when I experienced a panic attack that would change the course of my life, I too felt the paralyzing fear of making a phone call to schedule a therapy appointment...