Anxiety is a normal human phenomenon which can be experienced as a threat to one’s existence. Anxiety used to protect us from dangerous situations in times where alertness and vigilance were inherently needed to keep us safe. In our today’s society this safety system can be easily activated and result in unwanted feelings of panic, fear and threat.
When working with anxiety the fist step is to establish a sense of safety. This is for every individual different and in therapy we will explore what you may need to feel safe. Sometimes this could be to know more about anxiety, or how to work with it, and sometimes it means just a bit of human to human dialogue.
It is good to know on which level your anxiety occurs:
- Past: Is the anxiety resulting from an event in the past? This could be traumatic memories or post traumatic stress (PTSD).
- Present: Is the anxiety resulting from an event in the present? For example, if you worry about losing your job, your house or being bullied at work.
- Future: Is the anxiety resulting from an anticipated event in the future? For example, if you plan to attend a difficult event in the future like an important surgery or a trial.
In order to establish a sense of safety we will work on your resourcing by developing strategies to maintain and manage your anxiety. There are three areas we can focus on:
- Body: Exercises and activities that help to regulate the nervous system on a somatic level (e.g. breathing, grounding, food, exercise, etc)
- Mind: Use of imagination and focus exercises to calm the mind.
- Relationship: Expanding the capacity to reach and connect to others when distressed.
Once you learned how to regulate your anxiety the actual therapeutic work starts. Facing your anxiety and working through your fears, memories and experiences will eventually help you to feel better.