Center for Shared Insight, PC

Anxiety: Understanding Causes & Ways to Cope

February 25, 2020
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Posted By: Kristen Hick, Psy.D.
Anxiety-Understanding-Causes--Ways-to-Cope

At one time or another, you've probably experienced a sense of anxiety in your life. Whether this was due to the stress of a job, the loss of a loved one, a situation at work, or financial hardship, it is normal to experience stress when going through a major life change. However, when fear and worry grow disproportionately and start to interfere with how you live your life, it becomes what we call anxiety.

In this post, we’ll help you understand the root causes of anxiety, and how you can tune into it to cope with the associated feelings, and overcome them.

Root Causes

In this day and age, with growing expectations to be and do more and more, anxiety is more prevalent than ever. Anxiety stems from internal pressure to be different or more perfect than you naturally are. This usually comes from childhood experiences that felt to some degree, unpredictable, uncertain, and in some cases, unsafe. Being different, more or better becomes a way to compensate or overcome those feelings.

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Is COVID-19 creating more anxiety in your life? Do you constantly wonder when this pandemic will end? Are you concerned about bringing coronavirus home on groceries or even into your home with the mail? We understand how anxiety-provoking this time can be, and we can help. Contact us to schedule an online therapy session.

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When underlying roots are coupled with the demands and stressors of everyday life, anxiety can start to feel very overwhelming. While there are an abundance of theories about the root causes of an uptick in anxiety, “the accessibility of information” is at the top of that list for many. From social media, which makes everyone’s lives look perfect, to the news, which reports situations in society that will cause the greatest emotional response (they can sell more ads when you are glued to the television), it’s easy to internalize a mindset that the world is untrustworthy, dangerous, and scary.

Tuning In

When you face your anxiety instead of putting on a front, stuffing it or avoiding the depth of it, you can learn more about what the anxiety is saying, and learn from that. For instance, if you have anxiety around your job, you might sit with that feeling, look at the roots, and identify it more specifically. Where do you feel that stress in your body? Does it evoke a certain physical response in your body? Is there a root cause beyond what’s on the surface? For instance, is the stress about your job really just your tendency to question your value (professionally or in general), capabilities, or ability to stretch into a new role in your life? Sitting with the feelings rather than spinning them into a story in order to make sense of them is a practice that can help you better understand the root causes of your emotions and the related limited beliefs that you hold about yourself.

Ways to Cope

When you are working through feelings of anxiety, remind yourself that every feeling will pass. No feeling is forever, although it undoubtedly feels like that when your feelings are intense and overwhelming. While you are waiting for waves of strong anxiety to pass, you can use a variety of tools to cope:

  • Limit social media to reduce feelings of inadequacy.

  • Limit exposure to any media outlet as the news can provoke more anxiety.

  • Say “no” to situations that evoke anxiety (crowds, new situations, financially burdensome social invitations), unless you are working on your avoidance of these situations, such as with the help of a therapist.

  • Use box breathing to calm your nervous system. This controlled, conscious breathing can help take your mind off the feelings associated with anxiety.

  • Tune into the visceral experience around you. Notice the texture of the chair you are sitting on, the sounds you hear in the room, what you see, and label these experiences. This practice can refocus your mind and ground anxious energy.

  • Commit to self-care.

  • Practice yoga, choose stretching, or try journaling

At Center for Shared Insight, our team of therapists help clients identify the causes of their anxiety, how to manage it, and ways to cope until the powerful sensations pass. We start with a free consultation to ensure our services are a good fit for your needs. Contact us today to start the process of connecting with a therapist and getting the support you need to better understand, and overcome, your anxiety.

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