If you are struggling with mild, moderate, or extreme anxiety you are in good company.  The pressures and pace of modern life in our culture make anxiety tough to avoid.  Anxiety isn’t all bad, in fact it’s very adaptive.  The human ability to cast your mind into the future and plan for things that might go wrong, that’s crucial. The performance anxiety that causes you to perform at your peak, that is amazing. Concern for what others’ think of us, well…that one can be a pain, but it is also so helpful for survival, we don’t want to be cast out of the community after all.  Is anxiety is causing you to lose sleep, affecting your work, relationships, and your willingness to participate in things you enjoy?  You don't need to obliterate anxiety, just dial it back some.

If you are anxious you are living in the future – Lao Tzu

Healthy Anxiety -

If you plan and save money for the future, for an emergency, for retirement, or for a vacation, then congratulations to you and your anxiety.  Anxiety helped you do this. 

Too Much of a Good Thing-

Imagine if you didn’t have anxiety, future planning would be pretty tough, no groceries, no helmets, no seatbelts, etc... Unfortunately, most of us at some time or another, find that we can’t get the anxiety to turn the heck off back off. Some people try to control the anxiety by avoiding thoughts that trigger it… for instance doing an ostrich routine around money.  Other people try to control their anxiety by relentlessly thinking about it, checking, and worrying.   Both strategies may lead to very short-term relief, but perpetuate the anxious feelings in the end.

Performance Anxiety

Healthy Anxiety -

Performance artists often experience that the uncomfortable anxiety that they experience when they peek out from side stage and see the theatre full of people turns into a wonderous energy that causes their performance to become alive and dynamic in a way unachievable in rehearsal.  The stress made it better. 

Too much of a Good Thing-

Other times, a performer, a test-taker, or anybody facing any type of anxiety provoking challenge sort of “red lines” with stress. Imagine that you have a meter on our chest.  You watch the needle rise from the bottom “I’m sound asleep” to the middle “I’m alert and ready to go” to the three quarters mark, “I’m in the zone” to the top range “blue screen of death.”  You have been there, you know the material, but blow the test. You know the lines but freeze on stage. You are ready to rock the interview, but freeze when you are in the hot seat. 

Social Anxiety

Healthy Anxiety - 

Streisand sang, “people who need people are the luckiest people in the world.”  We all need people, of course we do.  That includes you introverts!  It is very adaptive to be sensitive to how others respond to us, to desire to fit in, and to fear rejection. This need peeks in adolescence but it doesn’t go away. Our brains are wired for connection with others, it was once critical to our survival that we be part of a group, now it may not be necessary to survive, but it is necessary to thrive.

Too Much of a Good Thing- 

Just like anxiety in other areas, this very adaptive fear of rejection, can get out of control. This social anxiety can increase, often for no known reason, and turn your life inside out.  Instead of helping to guide your behavior in emotionally intelligent ways, it drives you towards isolation.  Going to work or school can become Herculean chores, social gatherings can become non-starters.  Your world can begin contracting, leaving you lonely and caged in.

How can counseling Help my Anxiety

Anxiety is among the quickest conditions to respond to treatment, really, it's true.  You can learn to tame your mind, regulate the physical symptoms, and get your life back.  There are many different methods to treat anxiety.  I currently use a method called ACT, which is acceptance and commitment therapy- which takes into account your thoughts, your values, your behavior, as well as mindfulness.  In session, I also frequently use clinical hypnosis to reduce anxiety. These are just a few methods of treatment, there are many more.  You can feel better very quickly, it's a happy surprise for many chronic sufferers.  

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Call Susan for a free phone consultation and see if counseling for anxiety or panic in Colorado Springs is right for you (719)551-5283 or you can contact me in writing here.