A report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 2021 revealed that one in five U.S. adults suffer from mental health problems. This is a concerning number as mental health problems can lead to fatal outcomes. One such problem that’s got a grip on millions around the world is anxiety.
U.S. health experts recently called for mental health professionals, as well as the general public, to focus on anxiety and how it impacts people’s daily lives. This goes to show how problematic anxiety-related disorders can be. Thus comes the need to know how to deal with it.
Therapy is one way you can deal with anxiety, and here’s how it works.
#1 Identify the Source
When you're feeling anxious, it's easy to feel like the anxiety will never end. You may not be able to identify what's causing your anxiety or think that it's something you'll have forever. Therapy can help you figure out the source of your stress and find ways to reduce it on a daily basis so that it doesn't affect every aspect of your life.
Therapy is often used for treating depression and anxiety disorders, but there are many other issues that therapists can help with too.
For example, if you're struggling with drug addiction or alcoholism, therapy could help teach new coping skills in place of using drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with stressors in life. In addition to these types of issues, some people may benefit from therapy because they are having trouble communicating effectively with others.
Of course, for this to work, you might have to attend multiple sessions. That’s why therapists use special mental health practice management software to keep track of your progress as well as schedule appointments.
Behavioral health professionals have to deal with hundreds of clients each week. That makes it challenging to maintain their day-to-day operations. However, thanks to such systems, it becomes easier to keep track of your progress through electronic medical records and ensure efficient management of appointments.
Thanks to the implementation of these systems, no two visits to the therapist will be the same. They will know how much you have progressed and how to proceed from there onward.
#2 Helps Understand and Process Emotions
Therapy helps you understand and process your emotions.
When you experience anxiety, it can be difficult to know what's causing the problem. Therapy can help people understand the source of their anxiety and how they can manage it.
In therapy, people can learn techniques to control their anxiety or channel it positively. For example, people might learn breathing exercises or relaxation techniques they can use when they start feeling bad.
Therapy also teaches people new ways of thinking and acting that may help them deal with challenges more effectively than before therapy started.
Finally, therapy allows you to explore underlying mental health issues that might be causing your anxiety. That way, you can get better treatment for yourself through medication or some other form of specialized therapy.
#3 Teaches You to Control Anxiety
If you're looking for a more structured solution, many psychotherapeutic techniques can help you manage your anxiety. There is no “one size fits all” approach to therapy. Different techniques work better for different people.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), for example, focuses on the relationship between thoughts and feelings. The goal of CBT is to identify toxic and unhelpful thoughts, reshape them into healthier ones, and reduce anxiety by changing behaviors that may cause it.
Other effective treatments include meditation, deep breathing exercises like diaphragmatic breathing or power breathing, and yoga or tai chi classes. Recently, researchers found daily meditation to work wonders when dealing with anxiety. Therapy will allow you to discover what works for you best and how you can effectively control your anxiety.
Once again, you must attend multiple sessions for your therapist to help you control this issue.
#4 Allows You to Explore New Ways of Thinking and Acting
Therapy is a safe space to explore new ways of thinking, acting, and being in the world. This may mean exploring new ways of thinking about yourself, your life, or how you relate to others.
It may also mean trying out new ways of acting in the world and interacting with others. Therapy can become an arena for experimenting with who you want to be as an individual and how you want your relationships with others to be.
#5 Helps You Build Coping Skills
In psychological terms, coping skills are actions that we take to help us manage our thoughts and feelings when something stressful happens.
To cope with anxiety, you could try deep breathing exercises, talking to a friend, going out for lunch, taking a walk, etc. You might not be aware of these coping skills or understand which one works for you best. However, through therapy, you can work on these techniques with the help of your therapist and build on them gradually.
Anxiety is common, but the good news is that it’s also treatable. Therapy can be a powerful tool for addressing your symptoms and helping you deal with anxiety.