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By Katie Bailey, MA, LPC

About 40 million American adults, 18% of the population, struggle with anxiety disorders. We all struggle with anxiety and stress; however, when fear and worry start to impact your daily life, it might be time to get some help.

What Are Signs I Need Anxiety Treatment?

People who feel highly nervous and worried more often than not, to the point they avoid certain activities and/or their physical health is impacted need to consider anxiety counseling. Here are signs of an anxiety disorder:

  • Overly worried everyday
  • Can’t stop the anxious thoughts
  • Problems sleeping or staying asleep
  • Regular muscle tension
  • Feeling restless
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feeling like an elephant is sitting on your chest
  • Sweating and feeling light-headed
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Irritable
  • Having to go to the bathroom often

How Can I Lower My Anxiety?

1. Talk about it. When we hold things in, they get more power over us. Just saying your worries and fears out loud, to a trusted person, can help lower your stress. Don’t ignore your anxiety or try to pretend it isn’t there – that just makes it grow bigger.

2. Mindfulness. This is a buzzword lately for a reason. It works. God made our brains to function beautifully, and we have an innate system to help sooth ourselves – our breath. Deep, slow breathing literally slows down your nervous system and signals your brain to calm down. Help your body to function the way it was meant to and stop to breathe. The more you practice mindfulness the more it will help you. There are several great apps to help with your mindfulness practice. My favorite is Headspace.

3. Skip caffeine and alcohol. While both caffeine and alcohol may make you feel better in the moment, long term you’re not helping yourself at all. Your body isn’t made to function on caffeine constantly. Caffeine increases the body’s stress responses such as irritability, sleep problems, increased heart rate. So, if you are already experiencing anxiety symptoms, caffeine will only increase them. Alcohol messes with the chemicals in your brain, especially serotonin, which is the good neurotransmitter that helps regulate depression and anxiety. In fact, after drinking, many people experience more anxiety after the alcohol wears off. Often people use alcohol to cope with anxiety feelings, when in reality they are making their situation worse long term. Skip the caffeine and alcohol to set yourself up for success in reducing your anxiety.

4. Grounding in present moment. Anxiety is rooted in the past and the future. We stress about things in the past that have already happened and we worry about what maybe could possibly happen in the future. The antidote is to focus on the present moment. When anxiety feels overwhelming, stop and notice your senses. What do feel? The softness of your sweater on your skin. What do you smell? The popcorn your coworker just made. What do you hear? The music you have playing. What do you taste? The tea you just drank. What do you see? The trees outside your window. Practice focusing on what is happening right now, in this moment, and work on pulling your thoughts out of living in the past or the future.

5. Exercise. Some of us love exercise, many of us don’t. No matter where you are now with working out, there’s no denying it’s benefits. Exercise releases endorphins – feel good chemicals in your brain -that will ease your stress and depression. Exercise will also help you focus on the present moment and take your mind off of your worries. You will gain confidence as you get more fit, and of course be healthier overall reducing your risk of numerous diseases. You don’t have to train for a marathon. Take a walk around your neighborhood after dinner, ride bikes with your kids, work in your garden, go to yoga class, or try one of the million You Tube at home workouts!

Start Anxiety Treatment in Ambler, PA

Living with constant anxiety is like having this background noise always going on that steals your attention from your life and robs you of joy. You don’t have to live with regular fear and worry. At Lime Tree Counseling, our experienced therapists will help you learn how to reduce anxiety’s impact on your daily life. Once you learn new skills to manage your everyday stress, we will work together to figure out the root of your anxiety. You likely have negative thoughts on replay in your head, and we can help you find new perspectives to change how you look at life’s events. Anxiety treatment takes effort, but it’s so worth it! Contact us today to start your path to calmer living.

Sometimes anxiety is attached to a traumatic experience. If you’ve had an overwhelming life event, Lime Tree Counseling also offers PTSD & Trauma Treatment. We can help you move forward and find healing to reclaim your life. If your stress is related to challenges in your relationship, we also provide marriage counseling. Our knowledgeable therapists can help you and your spouse learn new ways to understand each other and work as team to deepen your connection. Contact us today to get started!