Many people struggle with anxiety and don’t know what to do about it. Thankfully, there are different types of therapies that can help. It’s crucial to get to the source of your anxious feelings. You don’t want anxiety to prevent you from living your life.
One thing is certain, the more you ignore anxious feelings, the worse they get. You need to confront your issues so you can get better at handling them. You can’t manage your anxiety unless you understand it. That’s where therapy can help. Here are some common helpful therapeutic treatments for anxiety.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is a straightforward type of therapy that helps people confront their negative-thinking patterns and change their reactions to their thoughts. We can’t change the thoughts we have, but we can work to reframe them.
CBT relies on the principle that thoughts and feelings are separate from one another. For people with anxiety, this is crucial. When you learn CBT techniques, one of them is surrounding the idea of cognitive distortions. These are assumptions that we all make that can negatively impact your mood.
There are a couple of cognitive distortions that can directly trigger anxiety. One of them is “catastrophizing,” or assuming the worst is going to happen. People with anxiety tend to assume the worst-case scenario without checking the facts. That leads to another cognitive distortion, which is called “mind-reading.”
An example of mind-reading is assuming your friend is upset with you because they didn’t call you back. You don’t have proof that they’re upset, but you assume that you know what they’re thinking. You think they’re upset, and you can’t stop obsessing about it. That creates anxiety. CBT helps anxious people learn to calm their minds and reframe their thoughts.
Exposure therapy is a type of treatment used to treat phobias and anxiety disorders. It involves exposing the client to their anxious feelings associated with what triggers the anxiety.
The reason is that it will desensitize. For example, maybe the person has panic attacks associated with riding the subway. An exposure therapist will work with the client to confront their fear of trains with the goal of getting them to ride one.
There are gradual types of exposure and more rapid kinds. One technique is to show the person a picture of a train, which will probably trigger a bit of distress in the person. Eventually, with help, the hope is the client can conquer the anxiety surrounding traveling on the subway. Exposure therapy isn’t always easy, but it’s a proven treatment for anxiety disorders.
Mindfulness-based therapy and breathing techniques
Mindfulness-based therapy helps a person focus on what’s going on in the present moment, which is incredibly helpful for people struggling with anxiety. Often, those who have anxiety focus on what’s going to happen in the future rather than embracing the present.
It causes worrying, and sometimes the person gets so anxious that they feel like they’re floating above their body. One way to come back to yourself is by practicing mindfulness techniques. You can get back to a place of calm, where you’re in control, not your anxiety; with mindfulness, the individual can focus on their bodily sensations, including breathing. Your breath is something you can always come back to when you’re anxious.
There’s something called box-breathing, otherwise known as 4-4-4 breathing, which can be quite calming and a great way to engage in mindfulness. The individual breathes in through their nose on the count of four. After that, they hold it to the count of four. Finally, they exhale on the count of four. Box breathing helps a person come back to the present moment and calms their anxiety.
There’s also something called Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (MBCT). It uses CBT techniques combined with mindfulness practices and teaches a person how to cope with their anxiety by calming the mind and body.
Get help with anxiety
There are many therapies for anxiety in addition to the ones mentioned above. You can find the one that works best for you. The most important thing is to confront your anxiety and learn to understand it. There’s nothing wrong with you for having anxiety.
It’s a natural feeling. But, you can learn to cope with it. Whether you find a therapist online or in your local area, anxiety is treatable. Reach out for help and find a therapist who can teach you how to manage your struggles.