Most people have experienced anxiety at some point in their lives. You may have felt anxious before going on a date or turning in an important project at work. Anxiety is your brain's way of processing potentially dangerous situations and keeping you safe. However, some people feel anxiety even in situations where it's not warranted or experience extreme amounts of anxiety.
When experienced in excess, anxiety can have a negative effect on people's physical and mental well-being. That's why it's important to get treatment for anxiety that infringes upon your quality of life. Anxiety therapy can help even the most anxious person cope with their racing thoughts and find greater wellness. Here are some things that therapists can do for their patients during anxiety therapy:
1. Validate your emotions.
It's common for people with anxiety disorders to criticize themselves harshly for their emotional reactions. However, there is nothing wrong with having an anxiety disorder. Your anxiety therapist can remind you that an anxiety disorder is not a sign of weakness or deficiency on your part. By learning to see your emotions as valid, you can develop greater compassion for yourself, which can help you combat your anxiety in the long run.
2. Provide reality checks.
Many people with anxiety conditions engage in catastrophic thinking. This means that their brains automatically imagine the worst possible outcome in any situation. For example, if someone takes longer than usual to respond to a text message, catastrophic thinking might tell you that they hate you. Anxiety therapists can help patients learn to check their thoughts against reality. By examining the facts of situations, you can come to reasonable conclusions that ease your anxiety. For instance, someone might have taken longer to text you back because they're simply busy.
3. Offer helpful coping tips.
There is no single cure for anxiety, but people with anxiety can learn to live with their condition. In anxiety therapy, your therapist can help you learn to cope with your fears. Deep breathing, meditation, and helpful distractions can all help you deal with your anxiety when it does inevitably arise.
4. Provide exposure therapy.
In some cases, exposure therapy may be warranted. This type of therapy teaches people to face their fears head-on instead of displaying avoidant behaviors. The experience of exposure therapy can be uncomfortable and upsetting at times, but your anxiety therapist will be with you at every stage, ensuring that you remain safe. Exposure therapy can help people with specific phobias as well as those who suffer from agoraphobia.