Anxiety Traps: The 3 Most Common Thought Patterns of Anxious People and Strategies to Break Free
Thought patterns play a significant role in anxiety,
If you’ve ever experienced racing thoughts, worry, or dread then you have experienced anxiety.
Wariness was once a survival tactic. Many years ago, our anxiety and attention to things kept us safe. We evaluated our environment for potential danger (snakes, predators, etc.) and made snap decisions on whether or not to fight, run, or freeze. It was a good thing back then but now the very instincts that once kept us alive can make us miserable.
We no longer have to worry that a saber-toothed tiger is out to get us, but our to-do list, family and work responsibilities, as well as the productivity driven culture we live in can be just as anxiety producing as that tiger lurking in the dark.
You’ve likely tried all of the usual tactics such as meditation, yoga, reducing caffeine, and deep breathing to “manage” your anxiety but none of it has seemed to work.
I want to be the first to tell you that it’s not your fault. There are thousands of other people experiencing this with you and there is a way through.
If you’re ready to do more than just “manage” your anxiety, click the link below to schedule a free consultation with me.
Racing thoughts, self doubt, difficulty with decisions, irritability, and a need to be in control of life…all of these are how anxiety can damage your self-esteem, lessen your enjoyment of life, and hurt your relationships.
But, anxiety doesn’t always look like sitting around worrying.
Sometimes it can be an upset stomach after a stressful day, dread of attending an event, fear of answering a phone call or sending a text, or procrastination on important tasks. You may find yourself irritable with your loved ones, and then later feel guilty and confused as to why you struggle to stay calm when things aren’t going smoothly.
You may find that anxiety for you looks like an intense need for caffeine to stay focused or having a hard time relaxing at night an on the weekends.
You might be up at 2am replaying a conversation in you head over…and over…and over.
These are all the little way anxiety can rob you of joy and reaching your goals.
Thought patterns play a significant role in anxiety,
For many LGBTQ individuals, internalized shame is a
Communicating effectively with your significant other is essential
Over performing at work and home. If you are naturally anxious, you may try to feel better by doing a “good” job, and always going above and beyond. This may provided relief in the short term as external validation can reassure you that you are OK, but anxiety usually pops back up and attaches to another task or project soon after one “fix” of approval. While doing well at work and caring for our loved ones is important, when it is our primary motivating factor, burn out and resentment can develop and it can become a viscous cycle.
Hiding your anxious thoughts and feelings. It’s normal to not want to share every thought or feeling with the people in your life. But when you are struggling with anxiety on your own it often come out in other ways like irritability or withdrawing. Talking about anxiety in our personal lives can often leave us feeling judged or misunderstood. Friends and family who do not experience anxiety may have a hard time empathizing or even understanding how these thoughts could pop up and how real they can seem, causing us to pretend we’re doing better than we really are.
Over-thinking vs. feeling. Anxiety often keeps us focused on thinking, strategizing, and problem solving. But if you’re over-thinking, you’re not connecting with your body, heart, and emotions. This can feel more familiar (and is more socially acceptable) than feeling and expressing anger, sadness, or even joy. The draw back of this strategy is that you expend a lot of energy managing the anxiety, suppressing how you feel, and lose touch with yourself. One of the ways I help people soften the hold anxiety has over their lives is helping them get back in touch with deeper feelings and experiences, this helps the anxiety let it’s guard down.
The way I do therapy gives you a safe, non-judgmental space to talk about your experiences with anxiety starting from your childhood to today.
Together we can work to shift how you respond to stressful events, hard conversations, and your always full to-do list. Therapy is a space for you to witness before reacting and take a conscious, compassionate look at what’s going on within.
We’ll get you insight into the deep feelings and motivations your anxiety has, and use that insight to help you loosen the ways anxiety keeps you locked in it’s grip.
I understand that anxiety can be difficult to articulate and sometimes even more anxiety-provoking to talk about so we will always move at the pace you are most comfortable with. There is a no “push” policy here.
All you need is a desire to slow down a willingness try on new ways of thinking and feeling about yourself and others.
Before we begin our work together, we’ll have a quick 15-minute phone consultation where I can ask you a few questions and you can get a feel for me and how I work. You’ll have a chance to ask questions to get a sense of if we are a good match, and I will offer you specific suggestions for how my approach may be able to help. Once we know we are going to move forward, you’ll set up an initial appointment.
Therapy begins with a thorough intake during which we will explore your past, family dynamics, and what your history and current struggles are with anxiety. We will also use this time to discuss any previous experience in therapy you’ve had and explore your hope and goals for counseling.
Together, we can clarify what your trajectory is. Though we can’t stop the ups and downs, you can learn to ride the wave of life—knowing you won’t be alone along the way.
If you’re ready to finally be able to relax, to stop letting worry keep you up at night, and to feel like you can take risks and enjoy your life without worrying about “what if…”click the button below.