Amanda Ranalli LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor
Anxiety is becoming an overwhelming epidemic. I would say 80% of my clientele is struggling with anxiety. Even if it is not a presenting symptom, usually it comes out as something they are struggling with on some level.
I teach my clients about how "anxiety" and "control" go hand in hand. Most of us have anxiety about the things in our life that we cannot control. And think about it, there are so many things in our life that we cannot control! When you can learn to release those things and focus on the things in your life that you can control, you can begin to get a handle on your anxiety. We can allow our minds to race, with all the "what if's?" and they are usually things we cannot control.
Anxiety can be a little different for all of us. Some people have triggers, others can feel it can come out of nowhere. For some it can be an overwhelming "feeling." For others it is more physical. You could get headaches, your heart could race, your palms could get sweaty. You could feel like you are jittery and coming out of your skin. A lot of people also struggle with gastrointestinal issues or a "nervous stomach." A lot of us go to the doctor for these physical symptoms, and get all checked out and they end up telling you that everything is fine, and it is probably anxiety.
I believe a lot of our issues with anxiety have stemmed from the change in our culture. We have so much technology in today's world, which is great in a lot of ways. But it is also causing blurred lines in boundaries and we are constantly stimulated. We are constantly half listening for our phones to go off, or checking social media, we never get a break. Even when we are home from work, we can still be contacted through email and texts, we never truly get a real break from all the stimulation in our lives.
I teach a lot of coping skills, but the most common one is "Mindfulness." Basically, Mindfulness is learning how to be present, and in the moment. A quick exercise I use to introduce this concept is to take just a few moments, and engage all your senses. Think about what you see around you, what do you hear, what do you smell, taste and touch? It can be a great way to ground yourself, and bring yourself back to the here and now. This is just the beginning and we can build on this skill to help manage your anxiety symptoms.