I use a few different approaches to help clients with their anxiety.
Mindfulness and Somatic Awareness
Meditation can help assuage anxiety. When you observe your thoughts from a place of detachment, you can more clearly separate yourself from them, and identify less with the stories you tell yourself.
When you develop a greater awareness of what is going on in your body, you can pinpoint areas of weight or tension and explore what your sensations are telling you. For example, if you often experience anxiety in your chest, observe the feelings of tightness or constriction and see what associations or feelings arise.
Challenging Core Beliefs
As humans, we develop mental patterns and shortcuts to make sense of the world. As a result of trauma or lessons we have learned from parents or society, we may unconsciously buy in to specific beliefs or thoughts that are not always clearly correlated with what is going on in the moment. These thoughts result in emotions like fear or anxiety. By “putting pen to paper” and clearly identifying thought patterns and challenging their veracity, you can change your automatic responses to events.
Exploring Past Trauma
Sometimes you just have to dig in to the past, and look at formative events that influence how you respond to the world in the present. Although awareness alone may not be enough to effect change, when you choose to take risks that challenge the story you keep telling yourself, the past can have less of a hold over you.
As I learn more about you in our initial sessions, we can develop a plan to use some or all of the above approaches to customize your treatment.
Image credit: tommaso79 via iStockphoto