Manage anxiety with new tools
Let’s talk about why it’s important to manage your anxiety with new tools when all your usual coping methods are no longer working.
In the last blog post, I touched on some of the helpful and unhelpful coping methods we have available to us when we are experiencing uncomfortable and overwhelming thoughts and feelings. In this post, I’m going to provide a broad overview of the importance of using new tools and asking for help.
For the past several months I’ve been doing some extensive (for me) yard work. I’ve been trying to improve my landscaping. We have several well-established trees in our yard and it seems that no matter where I choose to dig, my shovel meets one of these trees’ thick and deep roots.
When I first began my landscaping work, it was more about pulling weeds and planting flowers.
I could walk out the back door in flip-flops and a small garden shovel and have no problem getting my work done. As my enthusiasm for landscaping has progressed and I have tackled bigger and bigger projects in my yard, I now have to wear tennis shoes and thick gloves. Plus, I have access to multiple shovels and a variety of other tools. Its become my main source of physical activity and the reward of seeing my yard take shape is a highlight.
I’m on my last round of planting for the year and have one more plant to put in the ground. It’s not yet in the ground because when I tried to dig up the area where it will go I met the biggest and deepest root I’ve come across so far. I used an axe to break through the first layer of roots covering it. But, I then realized there was no way I could get through the next layer without chopping for hours.
I could stand there with an axe for hours trying to get through the root. Then my back and other body parts would not forgive me. Plus, I’m not sure I have the stamina for it. I could choose another spot for my plant but then my whole landscaping design would be off balance. I could leave the plant in the pot it came in and set it on top of the ground. But, that would look weird and the plant would die in time. Thankfully, I’ve got a friend who has a machine for this kind of situation. So, I will be waiting for this machine to find its way to my home to help me get my last plant in the ground.
Anxiety, when it first shows up, might be manageable and tolerable for you like my simple weeding pulling, and flower planting.
But, as time goes on it can become quite a monster in your life much like the massive root that I could not break through.
Your anxiety may have shown up as self-doubt and you began to question yourself and your decisions. It may be harmless and healthy at first. But, over time this chronic questioning can lead to low self-esteem. This can also lead to a lack of confidence, and negatively impact you in all sorts of social situations. If it’s not self-doubt for you, It may be living as a high achiever and perfectionist. Often very rewarded by others, over time the drive to achieve and perform becomes relentless. This leaves you with a sense of exhaustion and never being “good enough.” As a result, you now want to quit everything. A tragedy or something completely outside of your control happens and suddenly you’ve lost your sense of safety and stability. Then, the feelings of panic are only one scary thought away.
When we are facing a situation that demands our attention, we usually pick up the tools that we’ve had success with before like:
- Increasing our exercise
- Starting a new medication
- Ending the day with a glass of wine
- Or venting to a friend
As life becomes more challenging and the challenges we face more complex, these tools begin to barely scratch the surface of the work that needs to occur. There is only so much exercise we can do before our body breaks down. Medications can only do so much and there are limits on dosages. A glass of wine a night could become your next problem instead of your temporary solution. Finally, friends are great, but they have limits too.
Like me having to call my friend to help with my landscaping, new challenges need new solutions.
This often involves seeking outside help and support from an anxiety therapist. Seeking help through anxiety treatment is a primary way you can find relief from your overwhelming thoughts and feelings. Going to anxiety therapy is a very underutilized tool. This may be due to other people not believing their problem is “bad enough” for counseling. Or, because they avoid it out of fear or some other concern. Almost 20% of US adults suffer from an anxiety disorder. Yet only a small fraction of these individuals seek out professional counseling from an anxiety therapist.
Anxiety left untreated has a widespread and lasting impact on you, your health, your loved ones, and the overall trajectory of your life. In the absolute worst-case scenarios, it can lead to thoughts of death and suicide. Praying about it, exercising more, and venting to a friend are great starting places. But, if your anxiety only seems to get worse as time goes on then it’s time to change your methods.
There is so much to be anxious about these days. But, you don’t have to use old or unhelpful tools to find your way through. As an anxiety therapist in Virginia, I’d love to work with you to put more tools in your toolbox. I can help support you as you navigate whatever season of life you find yourself in.
Begin Working With An Anxiety Therapist in Virginia
- Start coping with anxiety with new useful tools!