An undercurrent of anxiety exists in America nowadays and is perhaps more invasive than ever before. We worry more, work more, take more anxiety meds, sleep less and are constantly glued to screens of all sizes. Speaking of screens, we have basically become one with our phones, these tiny devices glued to our hands we click and swipe constantly, fearing we will miss out on what is happening in the world and available to us instantaneously. We even have anxiety about missing out on social activities and life experiences—some of which we fear we won’t have the opportunity to experience ever again. We call this fear–FOMO (fear of missing out).
A little bit of anxiety is a good thing. Think about the stress associated with learning and mastering a new skill. Or the jitters one has before a performance, presentation or first day trying something new. Anxiety, like stress, can be a good thing in the right amount and for the right reasons.
However, anxiety that keeps us up at night, leads us to eat more or less, makes us feel ill or keeps us from fulfilling our daily life roles is not healthy. Anxiety is a real mental health disorder that left untreated robs us of the peace, potential and real meaning of life waiting to be embraced each and every day when we are able, healthy and present.
So, how do you know if you have anxiety? Here are some symptoms of anxiety:
1. Panic, fear and uneasiness
2. Sleep problems
3. Not being able to stay calm or still
4. Cold, sweaty, numb or tingling hands or feet
5. Shortness of breath
6. Heart palpitations
7. Dry mouth
Many clients I know who have anxiety tell me that they worry often, can’t sleep and feel like their hearts sometimes “beat out of control.” They talk about always “feeling on edge” and that this feeling keeps them from being present in their everyday lives. Anxiety affects not only the minds but the bodies of these individuals. It is a combination of worried thoughts and negative physical sensations that haunt the everyday lives of the clients I treat.
So, what can be done? Thankfully, there are many proven treatments for anxiety including meditation, yoga, exercise, journaling, mindfulness, individual and group therapy (specifically cognitive-behavioral therapy) and medication. The first step is realizing that you have anxiety. After all, many of my clients first think they have heart problems or gastrointestinal issues. If you believe you have a medical condition this should definitely be ruled out by a doctor before beginning psychotherapy and I encourage you to make an appointment with your doctor.
However, once you have determined that you are struggling with anxiety, a panic disorder or a specific phobia a licensed and trained psychotherapist can help you. She can help you identify the root of your anxiety and then learn to identify and implement self-regulation techniques to manage your feelings of anxiety so that they no longer control your life. If you struggle with worry, depression or anxiety an Orlando therapist can help you begin your path to peace and healing. Call Life Enhancement Counseling Services today to speak with a licensed mental health counselor at 407-443-8862.