Anxiety

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You can get past this

The high achiever’s relationship with worry and anxiety is a complicated one. Many high achievers identify as “worriers,” but credit their worrying as partly responsible for their success because “it keeps [them] on [their] toes” and “helps problem solve” – They treat worry a badge of honor or a battle wound to be proud of. The irony is that the experience of “worry” is more likely to impede productivity and analytical thinking than it is to support it, impeding professional success.

Worry is also a significant symptom present in every type of anxiety. Generally speaking, these disorders all include a combination of 1) worry; and 2) worry significantly impacting one’s behavior. Diagnoses that fall within this category include: Generalized Anxiety; 2) Social Anxiety; 3) Phobias; 4) Separation Anxiety; and 5) Panic Disorder.  OCD, Acute Stress Disorder, and PTSD have recently been re-categorized outside of the Anxiety umbrella, but are still considered very closely related to the other anxiety disorders.

Our Brains and Anxiety

Anxiety is another word for a stress response. Humans are actually wired for anxiety as a survival mechanism. Unfortunately, in our modern world, this brain system which developed to help us survive out in the wild, can often end up hurting us. What would otherwise be a helpful very temporary experience to aide us in surviving a predator’s attack ends up becoming a repetitive harmful experience that our brains have learned to rely on as a go-to coping mechanism for life’s stressors. For many of us, this reliance results in much suffering and interferes with how we want to live (and, dare I say, maybe even enjoy) our lives.

The very capability that allows our brains to learn to rely on anxiety as a go-to coping mechanism for life’s stressors is what also allows it to break those harmful ways. We have the ability to change the structure and function of our brains. Every time we learn or experience something new, our brains lay down a new neuropathway. While our brains may be inherently wired for an anxiety/stress response as a survival mechanism, the thoughts and behaviors we engaged in as a result of that very brief initial reaction to a stressor are learned, resulting in neuropathways. Those thoughts and behaviors are what cause the problematic suffering and symptoms of anxiety. We can create alternative neuropathways in our brains so that we have other ways to respond. The more our brains use a neuropathway, the more likely they are to rely on it as a go-to for responses to the world and the less likely they are to rely on “old” neuropathways. With practice, the new neuropathways become the go-to responses and the “old” ones become weaker and, in some of us, disappear. We can change the structure and function of our brains.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Anxiety

CBT, generally considered the gold-standard treatment for anxiety disorders is, a science-based treatment technique centered on addressing the unhelpful thinking patterns that result in symptoms of anxiety. The “Cognitive” element centers on unhelpful cognitions, or thoughts, and the “Behavioral” element focus on behavioral patterns that contribute to or worsen anxiety. These unhelpful thoughts and behaviors are the results “old” neuropathways that our brains reply on. By addressing and changing these unhelpful thoughts and behaviors, CBT helps our brains create new neuropathways that our brains can use to cope with the stressors inherent in life in ways that are helpful instead of harmful. CBT helps us choose how our brains respond to stress, and thus how much it interferes with the lives we want to live.

Everyone worries to some degree, but you are starting to wonder if you are worrying more than others?  Maybe you even started to worry about how much you worry? Chelsy Castro can help you sort out your relationship with worry, and support you in finding a different and more productive path.

Anxiety Symptoms
  • Do you worry on most days?
  • Is it difficult to control the worry?
  • Is it tough to concentrate?
  • Do you experience muscle tension/body aches?
  • Do you often feel wired-up or on edge?
  • Do you have trouble falling/staying asleep?
  • Are you irritable?
  • Are you easily fatigued?
You don’t have to accept the status quo. Click here to schedule your complimentary 10 minute phone consultation.