Anxiety is that loud voice in your head that screams “You’re losing control!” “You’re not safe!” “People don’t like you!” “You have to be perfect!”. It’s those swirling thoughts of “What ifs” circling in your head and the tightening of your chest. Even when every logical bone in your body knows that everything is okay, anxiety won’t let you believe it. It hijacks your thoughts, your productivity, and your inner peace. And if left unchecked long enough, it can ruin your health, relationships, and your life.
We know the struggle, and at New Vision Counseling we help clients overcome the debilitating effects of anxiety every day. As you read this, know that you are not alone and have reason to believe that we can help you break free of anxiety.
How we Help with Anxiety
We will help you explore and discover the underlying causes of your anxious thoughts and fearful behaviors. We help you develop new strategies for calming your nerves and quieting your mind. We don’t do this sitting on a couch while you have an anxiety attack. No way! We jump into your story with you and help you resolve inner conflict and disarm triggers all while strengthening your confidence. Together we process and practice ways to feel more comfortable around people and in their world. In counseling you will learn to eliminate irrational, terrifying thoughts and begin to live in the present moment.
New Vision has a team of therapists with a wide range of experience working with anxiety, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors (OCD). We can help you overcome your fears and take healthy risks to live an amazing life. Through evidence-based techniques like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), and Exposure Therapy along with prayer we help you break free from the prison of anxiety.
Anxiety can also be the voice that tells you not to call us because it’s too uncomfortable or terrifying. We understand and encourage you to simply take one step: Call or email us and we will guide you through the rest. You are so worth the effort and the risk, so in 3 seconds stop reading this and click the button to contact us today. We can’t wait to meet you in person and begin helping you live in God’s peace and freedom! Wait, are you still not sure and need more encouragement to take the next step? If so, no problem. Just read on and you will find the strength to move forward!
Testimonial to Overcoming Anxiety
“After months of battling whether or not I should go I finally realized that counseling was the next step for me and my walk and that seeking help wasn’t weak. Fear was probably my biggest hesitation before seeking out help. I had never felt comfortable talking about being broken or hurting. I came to counseling because I was suffering from severe depression and anxiety.. I was at that point where I was like well I’m a Christian and God heals everything so why am I not better? And I needed help in recognizing that getting through depression isn’t one quick fix..sometimes you have to feel it and it takes work and prayer and seeking God with the help of somebody who can walk you through experiences that you didn’t even know that you needed help in. It’s a big deal when somebody prays for you and genuinely cares about your soul. The therapists here value growth and want to see you get better and equip you with the tools to do that.” – AE
3 Steps to Help You Overcome Anxiety
Do You Have Anxiety?
First, let’s evaluate if you have an issue with anxiety. Have you ever felt like this? You have more bills to pay than money coming in. Your kids have gotten on your last nerve. You feel as though you work all the time and never get a chance to relax. Even when you’re not working it always feels like someone is asking something of you. You earn vacation at work; however, you never take it because you either don’t have the money or you dread the work you will come back too. You’ve forgotten how to have fun. It seems like you are always stressing about something. Your neck constantly hurts, and your shoulders are tight. You notice that you can’t remember a time when your body was not this wound up.
Maybe you have friends or family that have pointed out some habits you have developed from the stress you are under. Maybe you have turned to alcohol, pornography or drugs. Or maybe you don’t realize that your nail-biting, pulling at your hair, or the almost constant jittering of your body (legs, and often tapping of hands) can also be habits you have developed from the worries you carry.
Maybe you are a people please and you have anxiety over those you love. You worry about your significant other so much, what they are doing, where they are, what would happen if they were gone. You fear that something will happen, leaving you alone to raise the kids, take care of the bills, and figure out life on your own. You have been struggling so long now and just feel utterly drained. If this is you, you have come to the right place. Therapy is best, but for now, here are three steps you can take to help alleviate your anxiety.
Here are 3 Steps You Can Take to Alleviate Anxiety
1. Identify and Name What You Are Feeling
Have you ever noticed that sometimes we worry more when we cannot identify what it is, we are up against? Normal reaction nowadays when we notice a symptom is to go on the internet and search the symptoms we are having. What happens next is we get a huge list of things that may or may not be wrong with us, but the human tendency is to assume the worst. The same thing occurs when we do not recognize what we are feeling are stress and anxiety. We need to first decide whether the nature of stress or anxiety is real. An example of real stress is the anxiety we feel when a child or loved one is in danger. We spring into action throwing caution to the wind and do whatever we can to prevent something bad from happening. Sometimes it’s that report that is due tomorrow, for your job, or class and everything depends on it is complete and thorough. Sometimes this can be a good thing and other times it can be harmful to ourselves. I learned in school that I literally cannot write for a project until I am under pressure/ stress. I spent an entire semester with time blocked out every day to write the papers required for class and being totally and completely unable to write a single word. However, when crunch time would occur (usually the day before the assignment was due) I would be able to write the paper in a matter of hours. I learned that I could waste tons of time trying to write, or I could wait until “crunch” time and then the creative juices would flow, and assignment would be completed. However, if you do not perform well under pressure, then this would be an example of bad negative stress. You would be better served to block out that time and working on your assignments for a set period of time each day.
When feelings of anxiety, stress, anger and other feelings like being overwhelmed occur, ask yourself: What am I feeling? Why am I feeling like this?, then name it as I’m stressed or anxious because of ________.
2) Identify Your Anxiety Triggers
An old gambler once told me the “secret” to slot machines. He said “the casinos often have the machines timed out so that around check-in time there are slots going off. They usually make the slots on the ends of the rows win more as well.” Now to clarify, I don’t know if he was correct because I don’t gamble but his logic was sound. “It makes sense that casinos do this when you check into the hotel and hear those sounds your brain thinks I can win, and since people walk on the outside of the isles they want you to see people winning so that you spend your money,” my father said. To this day if I hear the sound of a slot machine, I think of what that seasoned gambler told me. It creates a response within me that says the sound you are hearing does not mean you will have the same results. Some people when they hear this sound have to run to the nearest machine. The sound has become a trigger for them, which drives them to chase the slot machine payout. Consider your triggers.
We can have healthy triggers, such as, smelling cologne or perfume that your significant other wore on your first date, activating memories from that date. And we can have negative triggers, such as those associated with painful or unpleasant experiences from our past. These negative triggers can create unnecessary anxiety in the present from unresolved issues in the past.
Anxiety operates in a similar fashion. Sometimes an event triggers us to be anxious and on alert to protect us. When we follow Step 1 above identifying and naming what we are feeling, we can then move to Step 2 by identifying our triggers. If we identify that the anxiety is helpful then great move forward with it, or lean into the stress… However, if after identifying the anxiety as not helpful then you can try and create a way to avoid, manage, or change the outcome of the trigger. Often times it is very hard to identify what has triggered the anxiety, but the more you seek to identify it the easier it becomes. The same is true about changing your reactions to the trigger. The more you face it head on the better you get at it.
3) Develop Helpful Coping Skills
We all have coping skills. The question is are your coping skills helping or hurting you? We all developed coping skills to deal with the challenges of life. And, at the time we thought the way we handled it was the best way in the moment. However, the way you handled conflict on the elementary school playground may not be serving to get you a promotion at work as an adult.
15 years ago, I had a couple I saw for marriage counseling. She complained that their communication was terrible, and they lacked intimacy. I discovered that in an effort to deal with his anxiety from work the husband drank until he passed out each night. When I addressed this, they were both adamant that this wasn’t an issue and had nothing to do with their marriage. Three sessions in they discovered he had severe anxiety and then he began to develop more helpful coping skills. What coping tools do you use to manage your anxiety?
- The following are some of the coping skills I use for anxiety and have helped many clients implement into their own lives successfully. Often times anxiety likes to find me at night when I am trying to go to sleep. It wants to replay all my failures, missed opportunities, problems, and challenges on a constant loop preventing me from going to sleep. I found that I can take a pen and notebook and write down the thoughts and issues I’m having onto the pages. As I write I tell myself “I’m writing this down, so I don’t have to worry about it any longer.”
- I often use breathing exercises to help with stress. As a parent, one of the most stressful times for me is when one my precious children disobey and are being corrected (in the younger years mine love to take this opportunity to throw a huge screaming fit). You know how sometimes those fits just get under your skin… Well to help teach my kids to calm down when throwing their fit I tell them “we are going to smell the flowers” (I then take a breath in through the nose), and “blow out the candles” (exhale from my mouth), “we are going to continue this until you calm down”. Something surprising and amazing happens during these times. I have found that by me providing an example I was actually doing the breathing exercises and it allowed me to deal with the situation with so much more ease. There have been times that the fits have gotten on my nerves, but there are far more times than I have been able to remain perfectly calm.
- Lastly, there is so much research out there that supports using exercise to help with stress. Physical exercise releases endorphins that actually change the way your brain is working at that moment. Out of all of the coping tools exercise is the one that really requires active planning. I have found that scheduling exercise at the end of my day after work allows me to “work” through whatever stresses, worries or anxieties came my way that day. There are also techniques I used that help me reach exhaustion in less than 30 seconds. These are really fun to teach clients because we both are out of breath at the end. But we both feel more relaxed 60 seconds after we are done.
We can’t avoid the anxiety and stress that affects us all. The choices we have are how we will let them affect our lives. Will they control us, or will we manage them? Left unchecked, anxiety can grow like a snowball barreling down the side of a hill. The above 3 steps can help reduce your anxiety. And who knows, with practice they may help to alleviate it.
- Step 1- Identify and name
- Step 2 – Identify triggers
- Step 3 – Develop Healthy coping skills
For some of you, these steps may be enough. However, I believe that if you are reading this you want and likely need more. So, what are you waiting for? Reach out now…right now by calling or emailing us. You are so worth the investment of time and resources. I believe in you growing into your best self and I know you want that too. So, reach out and let’s get started. We look forward to meeting you soon! Proudly serving Oklahoma City, Edmond, Yukon, Mustang, as well as the Greater OKC Metro areas!