Reduce your Anxiety

Anxiety is a survival mechanism … but it doesn’t have to control your life.

Anxiety is a powerful reaction to underlying feelings that are not being dealt with.

As common as it is, it can be incredibly distressing and can lead to numerous physical and psychological problems. The first step to understanding and overcoming anxiety is to notice the signs or symptoms. Take a look at some of the most common symptoms of anxiety:

  • Feeling nervous, on-edge, or worried
  • Racing thoughts or difficulty focusing
  • Ruminative thinking (thinking the same thoughts over and over)
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension or headaches
  • Feeling queasy or ill
  • Body aches and pains
  • Racing heart
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tearfulness
  • Feeling overwhelmed or trapped

​If you have experienced any of these feelings, you are not alone! Anxiety is a normal emotional reaction that happens when we are anticipating harm or discomfort. It starts with our thoughts and perceptions of the world as we learn about what is safe and what is dangerous. This learning process helps keep us alive and alert.

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What is anxiety?

We talk about anxiety all of the time in everyday conversation, often using other words to describe the experience:

  • “Giving that speech made me so nervous I couldn’t eat!”
  • “I didn’t get any sleep last night, seeing my family made me too agitated.
  • “I get really uncomfortable at parties and end up drinking too much.”

Sometimes anxiety can be caused by frightening or traumatic life events. Those experiences create deep fears we may or may not be aware of; they make us feel unsafe and worried about the future. Anxiety can come from conscious or unconscious childhood memories, rooted in feelings of anger, grief, shame, fear or self-doubt. Anxiety can also feel like it comes out of nowhere; it just happens without clear reason. These anxious feelings can grow and worsen over time, particularly as we learn to avoid things that make us feel anxious.

For example, we might experience anxiety when we find ourselves in social situations. These feelings may discourage us from attending parties and other social gatherings, and the avoidance helps us feel safe from our fears. Over time, this creates a nasty process known as the cycle of avoidance:

I always feel on edge. It’s not a great feeling, but it’s who I am.

Overcoming the Cycle of Anxiety

This cycle has been well-studied in psychological research, and so I use this to help people with anxiety understand how their anxiety developed over time.

When we experience things that are uncomfortable or painful, we react and learn from that experience. From there, we tend to adapt by avoiding the painful situation in the future.

In most situations, this avoidance is quite helpful. For example, the pain of touching a hot stove might teach us to avoid doing that in the future.

Although fears can help keep us safe, they also continue the cycle by reinforcing and magnifying our fears and worries when they no longer apply.

It may be helpful to be anxious about touching a hot stove, but you wouldn’t want those feelings to keep you from cooking.

It is also common to fear things that we have not actually experienced, such as death. These deeply bound processes can be traced back to our early ancestry, where certain fears helped keep the human race alive and well. Although many of the things we used to fear are no longer a threat, we continue to experience those feelings even today.

Sometimes I just want to scream and run away … but then I would have to explain myself to others.

Do I have anxiety?

Since anxiety is so common, many of us struggle with it. The key to recognizing if your anxiety needs treatment is answered with a simple question: how is the anxiety affecting your life?

Anxiety’s purpose is to prevent us from repeating actions that we have interpreted as dangerous. This survival mechanism keeps us from leaping from cliffs or walking into traffic. However, it also keeps us from taking risks that may bring us joy and connection with others, such as asking someone on a date. ​

If you or a loved one struggles with anxiety, do not wait. Untreated anxiety can dramatically decrease your wellbeing and physical health. With the right support, you DO have the power to overcome your struggles. Contact me today and let’s work together to help free you from your anxiety.

Here are some ways that anxiety may be keeping you from living a normal life:​

  • Insomnia/sleeplessness
  • Diminished performance in work or school due to worry, self-doubt and fear
  • Trouble relaxing or feeling calm
  • Chronic pain and/or health complications
  • Avoidance of previously enjoyed activities
  • Loss of sex drive, or increased sexual compulsivity
  • Poor performance in competition, interviews, examinations or public speaking
  • Over eating and weight gain
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Avoidance of social situations
  • Depending on drugs or alcohol to reduce anxiety

My mind is like a broken record … always skipping back and forth to the same overwhelming thoughts.

Can psychotherapy help my anxiety?​

Absolutely! Psychotherapy, or counseling, is an incredibly powerful tool for helping people overcome their anxiety.

In therapy we will meet one-on-one in a confidential, safe setting as you identify your goals and make progress towards greater healing. You will learn to think, feel, and respond differently to anxiety.

You will learn to cope better with stress, and ultimately find yourself feeling more relaxed, confident and positive.

As a depth psychotherapist, I can help take things to the next level.

Together we focus on getting below the surface to understand the deeper mechanisms that drive your fears and worries and address them at the roots.

These sorts of changes can last beyond the short-term relief found from typical psychotherapy treatment.

I know I have anxiety, but I’m embarassed to tell anyone or talk to someone about it.

How can I help?

As a Relational Depth Psychotherapist, I provide a unique combination of relational warmth, interpersonal connection, and deep psychological insight for my clients. I have helped numerous people through their anxiety – and I am confident that I can help you too!

My treatment will help you learn to:

  • Identify the causes of your anxiety
  • Develop tools to cope with emotional, physical and cognitive symptoms effectively
  • Strategically manage stress
  • Relax and enjoy better sleep
  • Feel confident and self-aware
  • Increase self-esteem and self-worth

To accomplish those goals, we will:

  • Establish a safe, mutually respectful relationship
  • Employ gentle curiosity to help you open up in ways that you haven’t before
  • Explore your current experience of yourself
  • Observe elements of your life that hinder you and jointly work toward change
  • Shed light on your blind spots and challenge self-defeating patterns
  • Examine relevant life experiences that have impacted you
  • Process and heal wounds, historic or recent, that hold you back
  • Develop self-compassion and improve your understanding of yourself

My hope is that you feel encouraged and supported to find the help you need. If you or a loved one struggle with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues, contact me today. Together, we can begin the journey of healing, self-awareness, and long-term wellness.

Is there really a way I can feel better and not worry about everything?