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Symptoms of Anxiety and its Impact on Physical and Mental Health

Anxiety - it's not as isolated as you might feel. Recent statistics unveil that anxiety disorders affect around 40 million adults in the United States alone. That's nearly 20% of the population. A striking number that resonates with the unseen chains of fear, worry, and restlessness that you may be grappling with.

Among various anxiety disorders, one often looms large - Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). This relentless cloud of worry seeps into every aspect of life, becoming an uninvited, constant companion.

In this blog, we'll delve into its foundation, tracing back to its origins, and understanding its profound impact on how you perceive yourself. Your experience matters, and you're not alone.

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Effects of Anxiety on the Mind

Here's an interesting fact: those with GAD often associate common feelings, like fear and worry, with negative thoughts about themselves. When you feel anxious or worried, you may react with self-criticism or judgment. To escape these uncomfortable feelings, you might behave in ways that offer temporary relief but can negatively impact your life in the long term.

So What Fuels GAD and Keeps it Alive?

I believe there are three main learned behaviors to consider.

First, Responding to Internal Feelings:

It's how you respond to your internal feelings. Feeling anxious or scared is normal at times. But if you react to these feelings with distress and self-judgment, it can intensify the anxiety and disrupt your life. This pattern is quite common in individuals with GAD. You might be more sensitive to anxiety, react negatively to your feelings, and even worry about worrying too much. This can lead to a cycle where you become overly involved in your feelings of anxiety and worry, which results in negative thoughts about yourself and heightens your worry and anxiety levels.

Second, Being Overly Involved in Your Feelings:

Being overly involved in your feelings can make it difficult to see that your thoughts, feelings, and sensations naturally come and go. This can make it challenging to understand and react appropriately to your feelings, leading to a constant sense of distress.

Lastly, Avoidance:

I recognize that we sometimes try to avoid things that make us feel uncomfortable. However, continuously trying to avoid these feelings can often backfire and make you feel worse.

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Effects of Anxiety on the Body

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) doesn't solely impact your mental well-being; it can extend to physical discomfort as well, highlighting the interconnectedness of our mind and body. Picture the sensation of subtle shaking, not from the cold or fear, but a consequence of your anxious thoughts. It’s as though your body is echoing your inner turmoil, providing a constant physical reminder of your anxiety.

Difficulty Sleeping

Consider the challenge of sleeplessness that might come with anxiety. As your mind whirls with worries, peaceful sleep can seem elusive. You may find yourself tossing and turning, as rest becomes a distant dream, just out of grasp.

Problems With Digestion

The effects of anxiety also extend to digestion. Discomfort and irregularities may set in, as though your nervous feelings have taken a tangible form, disrupting your body's normal rhythm.

Breathing Difficulties

Breathing can be affected too. You might notice yourself breathing more rapidly, or even holding your breath at times. This can be your body’s instinctual response to perceived threats, even if these dangers exist solely in your anxious thoughts.

The physical manifestations of anxiety can also come in the form of sweating, unrelated to exertion or high temperatures, but more an outward expression of your internal struggle. You might experience sudden hot flashes that leave you feeling flustered and uneasy.

Each of these symptoms paints a clear picture of how GAD is not just a mental health issue but a physical one too. Recognizing these signs is an important first step towards understanding and better managing GAD.

Treatment Of Anxiety

Anxiety can often show up in our lives physically just as much as it does mentally. You might experience symptoms like a racing heart, sweaty palms, a knot in your stomach, or even a sense of overall restlessness. It's crucial to recognize that these are normal responses our bodies have when we're feeling anxious. The physical manifestation of anxiety is your body's way of saying, "Hey, something's not right here."

Therapy for Anxiety is an Effective Tool for Treatment

The good news is that there are tools to help manage these physical symptoms, and one of the most effective ones is therapy. It's no secret that most people who seek therapy for their anxiety find it incredibly beneficial. Working with a therapist can offer you the chance to dig deeper into what's causing your anxiety and learn tailored techniques to manage it.

A Safe Space to Explore Your Issues

In Therapy for Anxiety, you and your therapist create a safe space to explore underlying issues contributing to your anxiety. It's not just about the symptoms you're experiencing now, but also about understanding the root of the problem. This deep understanding often leads to more significant relief and long-lasting change.

An Anxiety Therapist Teaches You Techniques and Tools to Use

Not only does your therapist guide you in understanding the causes of your anxiety, but they also arm you with practical, personalized tips and techniques to manage your anxiety. These tools, built upon proven methods and adapted to fit your unique situation, can be a real game-changer.

For instance, mindfulness strategies are commonly used tools that clinicians are very familiar with and often implement during their sessions with clients.

A woman sits on the beach practicing mindfulness techniques she learned from her Anxiety Therapist during Therapy for Anxiety in Newport Beach, CA.  90274 - 90254 - 90266

Here are a few examples of Mindfulness Techniques:

Mindful Breathing:

This technique is about paying attention to your breath. It's portable and can be done anywhere, anytime. Here's how you can practice it:

  • Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit.

  • Close your eyes and take a deep breath in, hold it for a moment, and then slowly let it out.

  • Focus your attention on the feeling of air moving in and out of your lungs. Notice how your chest rises and falls with each breath.

  • If your mind starts to wander, gently guide your focus back to your breath. The key is not to judge yourself when your mind wanders but to patiently bring your attention back to your breathing.

Mindful Transition:

This strategy is about staying present as you move from one task to another. It's a way of checking in with yourself. Here's how you can do it:

  • As you finish one activity and before you start another, take a moment to breathe deeply and consciously.

  • Pay attention to how you're feeling physically and emotionally. Are you stressed, anxious, or calm?

  • Carry this awareness into the next activity. Remember, the goal is not to judge your feelings but to acknowledge them.

Mindful Observation of Self-Critical Thoughts:

This is about paying attention to your self-critical thoughts and not letting them control you. Here's how you can practice this:

  • When you notice a self-critical thought, stop for a moment and acknowledge it. Don't try to push it away or judge it.

  • Look at the thought as an observer, not as a participant. This helps you understand that this thought is not a fact, just a thought.

  • Practice self-compassion. Speak to yourself as you would to a friend. Remember, everyone makes mistakes and nobody is perfect.

A smiling woman in a yellow shirt has found release from her anxiety thanks to her Anxiety Therapist  and Therapy for Anxiety in Newport Beach, CA. 90274 - 90254 - 90266

If You Are Ready to Regain Control of Your Anxiety, Therapy for Anxiety in Newport Beach, CA Can Guide You on That Journey

Indeed, while these self-help strategies can be extremely beneficial, the most effective approach to managing anxiety often involves working with a professional. A therapist can help you delve into the root causes of your anxiety and tailor a treatment plan specifically for you. They can guide you through these practices and more, adjusting to your progress and personal experiences.

Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to anxiety management, and that's okay. You deserve a personalized approach that respects your unique journey and experiences.

Follow the Steps Below to Get Started: ​

​Other Mental Health Services Offered at My Counseling Concierge.

In addition to Therapy for Anxiety, we also offer a range of other services to address your needs. These include Therapy for OCD and Treatment for Eating Disorders. We look forward to guiding you through the process of healing. ​

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