You know the feeling. You’re overwhelmed and underprepared for daily life, struggling to make it through the day without panic or discomfort. You’re always on edge or even afraid, waiting for the horrible feeling to pass.
If this sounds like you, you may suffer from a form of anxiety disorder.
However, this means you are not alone. As the world gets busier and more connected, our “normal” has become a never-ending stream of stimuli, always competing for our attention. In response, society is getting more comfortable with talking about mental health conditions, and we are finally seeing how widespread that anxiety feeling really is. Millions of people suffer from it in one form or another, including many here in Calgary – but whether through medication, different types of anxiety therapy, or exercises you can do at home and on the go, there are treatments available for every personality.
There is no definitive single set of symptoms for anxiety. You may recognize all of these, or just a few, or have others not listed. What’s important to remember is that you don’t have to suffer specifically from anxiety attacks in order to have a condition worth treating. Most of the time, common symptoms are small, everyday issues that flare up in extreme ways; you may even notice patterns, like feeling anxiety in the morning on a regular basis.
The most common symptoms include nervousness, increased heart rate, hyperventilation, fatigue or weakness, trouble with concentration, insomnia, excessive worry, and a constant sense of dread. If these feelings are consistent in your life, chances are good that an anxiety counsellor can help.
When you talk to a Calgary counsellor for anxiety help, one of the first things they will do is try and identify the most relevant root causes of your condition. These can range from habits and lifestyle choices to diet and exercise, so pinpointing where it begins is the first step toward overcoming its limitations.
According to the Mayo Clinic, here are some of the most common anxiety causes:
- Medical reasons, like heart disease, diabetes, asthma, or chronic pain
- Past trauma or exposure to traumatic events
- Stress from illness or lifestyle
- Drug or alcohol use/withdrawal
- Other mental health disorders, such as depression or PTSD
Regardless of the initial cause, anxiety can present in many different ways, usually focusing on specific areas of life that cause a heightened response. These may be general anxiety disorder (persistent, excessive worry about routine events), panic attacks with certain triggers, social anxiety disorder, phobias, or something else entirely. In addition, many people get anxious about work to some degree (or work performance), and often find themselves too anxious to sleep properly. All of this adds up to affect our mental health.
Coping with Anxiety
While anxiety therapy is definitely useful for some people, others are not quite ready or willing to go that far. The good news is that there are some basic activities and habits you can use to cope with anxiety. These are often best used in the mornings or evenings, as it is common for people to struggle more with anxiety at night, when feelings of loneliness or depression are amplified.
An active lifestyle is one of the best coping strategies – not just physical activity, but social, too. This boosts endorphins, creates stronger relationships, and improves self-confidence, all of which are helpful for anxiety. Many people find great value in support groups where they can speak freely, without judgment. Some people try to cope through alcohol or drug use, but this generally exacerbates anxiety feelings, and the eventual withdrawal can actually make things worse.
Anxiety treatments range from simple habit changes and gentle behavioural shifts (i.e., for anxiety in children) to dedicated sessions of clinical therapy with a registered psychologist. Everyone is different, so everyone will require a unique approach.
Here at Your Counselling, our anxiety counsellors have a broad set of proven approaches that we can use to help clients overcome these feelings. These range from the discussions of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to the introspection of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and much more, offering a path forward to suit any person coping with anxiety in Calgary and beyond.
Getting Anxiety Help
While there are many free “anxiety tests” you can find online, they are – at best – a tool for raising awareness in an entertaining way. If you feel like any of the symptoms or conditions apply to you, the best thing to do is contact a professional, licensed therapist or counsellor for anxiety and have an assessment done.
From there, you can work together to decide on a course of action, which may be pharmaceutical, therapeutic, or a combination of the two. The practices we use are all well-researched and effective methods of treating anxiety, preventing anxiety attacks, and bringing you toward a healthy and more fulfilling lifestyle. Contact our team today if you are looking for anxiety counselling, and if you need help with something else, please view all our Counselling Services.