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What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a broad term to describe an emotional state of nervousness, apprehension, dread, worry, or uneasiness which leads to significant distress and interference of one’s daily life. It is an emotion often characterized by the feelings of tension and a state of inner turmoil. Feeling anxious is accompanied by thoughts of perceived danger or a negative prediction in a situation. For example, while experiencing anxiety you may have had thoughts such as “what if I lose my job and I can never find a job”?, “what if I am not a good parent?, “if my relationship ends and I will be alone for the rest of my life”, “my colleagues will make fun of me and I will be humiliated by speaking in a meeting at work”, “my racing heart is a sign that I am losing control or that I have a very serious health problem”.

Understanding Anxiety

Experiencing some form of anxiety in the day to day life is not unusual. As a natural emotion, anxiety helps us respond appropriately to a dangerous situation and plays an important role in our survival. However, it is the perception of danger that is the main trigger of unproductive anxiety. When the brain sees a situation as unsafe, it prepares the body to go into fight or flight mode to protect us. Our basic brain is not able to distinguish between real and perceived threats, therefore we often find ourselves in states of anxiousness without actually being in any danger. This can be very unsettling as people often think there is something seriously wrong with them for experiencing symptoms of anxiety all the time and that they may be “going crazy”. To protect themselves against the symptoms and feelings of anxiety, people often engage in certain behaviours such as avoidance of situations or places which provoke anxiety.

Anxiety Therapy in Vaughan

When to get help?

If you are struggling with anxiety, you may also be experiencing palpitations, pounding heart, accelerated heart rate, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, nausea, abdominal distress, feeling light-headed, chills or heat sensations, and tingling. You may also be having difficulty with concentration, fatigue, muscle ache and sleep. Overall, anxiety can make us feel restless and our bodies feel tired and run down. Often when people experience these sensations “out of the blue” they begin to feel fearful or apprehensive of these sensations.

If you are experiencing high level of anxiety which you find distressing and it is interfering with your functioning in areas such as work, school, family and social relations, it may be helpful for you to speak with a professional.

What help is available?

Cognitive behavioral therapy: CBT is one of the most widely used therapy modalities to help with anxiety and depression. Research shows that this therapy is very effective in treatment of panic disorder, social anxiety, General Anxiety, and Depressive Disorders. CBT addresses negative and self-destructive beliefs and behavior patterns that leave individuals debilitated. By recognizing the thoughts that contribute to anxiety (cognitive therapy) and behaviors and reactions to life events (behavior therapy), the client can look at such worrisome feelings more realistically and change them overtime by applying some techniques. Because anxiety can interfere with relationships, sleeping patterns, eating habits, work, school, and routine activities, anxiety is one of the most common reasons people seek therapy, and effective therapy can significantly reduce or eliminate symptoms associated with anxiety in a relatively short time, allowing a person to resume regular activities and regain a sense of control. Although people may not be able to identify the cause of their anxiety, after attending a few therapy sessions, many people are able to pinpoint the source and a therapist can help a person work on those deeper concerns.

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