Therapy for Anxiety
By: Dr. Karla Heredia, PsyD, LMFT
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural, motivational, emotional response to threat.
Early humans needed anxiety to help keep them alert, watchful and energized in case of an encounter with a predator. Although we don’t need to worry about that so much these days, anxiety helps modern people stay productive and active. If you didn’t feel anxious about showing up late to work, for example, you might get fired for lateness. Or, if you didn’t feel worried about failing a test, you might not study for it.
For the most part, anxiety is actually quite healthy and helpful. But sometimes, we get too much anxiety, and it gets in the way of wellness. Here are some of the most common signs of anxiety overload:
Anxiety can happen in many different ways. Sometimes we experience unhealthy anxiety because of our responsibilities (e.g., work). Sometimes we experience anxiety because of hardships from the past, such as bullying or abuse. And sometimes, we experience anxiety because of uncertainty about the future (e.g., finding or choosing a romantic partner, worrying about paying rent, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, etc.).
The mind and body are equipped to handle short-term anxiety – but when we stress and struggle long-term, there are consequences. Left untreated, anxiety can affect performance at school and work, decrease one’s sense of connection with others, and even increase the likelihood of developing medical complications (e.g., high blood pressure, elevated pain levels, decreased immune response).
Therapy is the first line of treatment for unhealthy anxiety, and it truly works. Sometimes signing up for therapy for the first time can feel anxiety-provoking or awkward, and that’s okay! Here at Heredia Therapy Group, we offer therapy for anxiety for kids as young as two years old and throughout the lifespan – people just like you.
Get the help you deserve and contact us today.
How can therapy help with
Anxiety tends to make itself worse over time by creating a cycle of avoidance.
Anxious thoughts, feelings, and sensations are incredibly uncomfortable, which motivates us to avoid them when possible. In some cases, we can use the anxiety by taking action to make things better (e.g., study for the test we are worried about). But often, we try to avoid the anxiety altogether (e.g., procrastinating, tuning out, etc.).
When we avoid the thing that makes us anxious, the anxiety response becomes stronger. It’s almost like taking a beach ball and trying to push it down under the water so that you don’t have to look at it. Over time, the beach ball feels harder and harder to hold down, and we become exhausted.
Therapy for anxiety helps you learn to accept the anxiety for what it is, use practical strategies for coping, and focus on living a functional, meaningful life. Instead of spending all your time pushing the beach ball down, you can learn to cope with it at the moment and just enjoy the water.
As you make progress in therapy for anxiety, you can:
· Understand your cycle of avoidance – and break it
· Regain a sense of control and confidence
· Change unhelpful ways of thinking
· Feel at ease in social situations
· Accept life’s uncontrollable stressors
· Enhance interpersonal and social skills
We believe that everyone deserves a chance to rest, be well, and live without anxiety overload. If you or a loved one are struggling, let us help.
Written by: Dr. Karla Heredia, PsyD, LMFT.