Sep 20, 2023 Thriving in the Storm with CBT for Anxiety: Overcoming Anxiety to Feel Capable of Facing Any Situation
When confronted with new, unfamiliar, or challenging situations, many people may experience mild discomfort. Their bodies respond through a slight sweat or maybe a few butterflies in their stomachs. But, for some others, these situations can trigger greater nervousness, fear, uncontrollable shaking, rapid breathing, shortness of breath, and intrusive thoughts. Does a more intense uneasiness indicate the presence of an anxiety disorder?
It’s possible, but not necessarily the case.
As distressing as the psychological and physiological symptoms brought on by certain situations can be, if they subside relatively quickly once the triggering circumstance resolves, it’s likely a case of situational anxiety. But when the situations you face cause you to experience out-of-control intense emotions and unrelenting negative thoughts, it’s time to consider treatment for anxiety.
Utilizing the intervention strategies, coping techniques, and other anxiety treatment resources you’ll receive in CBT for anxiety sessions led by Susan Delia, LICSW, at Delia Counseling Services, you can learn how to stop intrusive thoughts, self-soothe your worked-up body, and overcome situational anxiety.
Overcoming anxiety requires understanding anxiety
Anxiety is a natural response rooted in the body’s stress mechanisms. It serves as a warning system for potential threats and entirely normal in some situations. However, this response can misfire and occur at inappropriate times. If the reaction becomes debilitating and interferes with daily living, it may indicate the presence of an anxiety disorder.
Recognize the symptoms of anxiety
Nervousness, tension, feelings of worry and panic, rapid breathing, and an increased heart rate and blood pressure all come with the territory of anxiety.
A sign that anxiety is excessive, however, is when a person is constantly drained of energy because they’re sweating profusely, suffering from frequent headaches, shoulder and neck pain, and panic attacks. Anxiety may also be disordered when it leads to an unending, unwanted, negative internal dialogue that leaves a person wanting to know how to stop intrusive thoughts.
Other anxiety signs and symptoms include
- Muscle tension
- Nausea and diarrhea
If you notice that anxiety makes it hard to concentrate, make decisions, socialize, sleep, and carry out daily tasks, your search for ‘anxiety treatment near me’ may have brought you here. Good news! Seeking CBT for anxiety and additional anxiety treatment resources can help you learn how to stop intrusive thoughts and regain control of your mind and body.
Common anxiety triggers
Everyday situations like speaking and presenting in public, asking someone out for a date or going on a first date, starting at a new job or school, visiting a new place, talking with strangers or making small talk, or running into someone from your past or present in public can all spark this type of anxiety. In other cases, more extreme circumstances like health crises or uncontrollable events like hurricanes, floods, wildfires, an epidemic or pandemic, and sudden death or loss can also bring on anxiety.
What is situational anxiety?
Situational anxiety is a specific form of anxiety that occurs when we anticipate and respond to high-pressure experiences in our lives. It’s a normal reaction to stressful events, but when the mental and physical manifestations that arise become debilitating and overwhelming, it can disrupt a person’s daily functioning.
The temporary nature of situational anxiety and its tendency to be triggered by specific circumstances distinguishes it from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), which involves constant worry. Ultimately, once the situation resolves itself or concludes, symptoms disappear. The mind, mood, and body return to normal, typically without leaving behind any lasting health consequences.
Still, situational anxiety can stop you from pursuing what you want out of life, mostly because anxiety is intertwined with fear. Our body responds to both real and perceived threats with the same reactionary impulses, leaving us on edge. Even potential fear leads to avoidance, and soon, you may feel disengaged and disconnected from your life as you attempt to avoid anything that threatens your control or pushes you out of your comfort.
Understanding the specific fears that impact you and their underlying causes can be the initial stride toward stopping intrusive thoughts and conquering situational anxiety.
Fear of the unknown
Many situations that provoke situational anxiety often revolve around novelty and unfamiliarity. It’s a typical response to experience anxiety when confronted with circumstances where the outcome or expectations are uncertain.
Fearing the unknown can make you experience intense anxiety about a mundane action like taking the elevator. Concerns and fears over the elevator breaking down can make you sweat and fret as your stomach knots. This fear can also keep you from pursuing life events like going on adventures to other cities and countries or moving someplace new. Not knowing in advance if you’ll have easy travels to and from each destination, not knowing anyone in the locations of interest, and having no idea of what it’s like there can keep you from taking a chance.
Fear of failure
A similar fear is the fear of failure, a psychological apprehension related to the possibility of not succeeding in a specific endeavor, task, or goal.
It’s this fear that causes your mouth to go dry and your head to start spinning with dizziness when you try asking someone on a date—you become paralyzed by a fear of failing by being rejected. Likewise, you’re experiencing situational anxiety when your heart races, your jaw clenches, and you’re picking at your skin or biting your nails in a professional meeting or social conversation. Perhaps you’re too afraid to speak out for fear of failing by being long-winded, offending someone, going off-topic, or having your comments disagreed with and dismissed.
This fear can create intense anxiety for individuals who worry and obsess over avoiding failure and making mistakes because of perfectionism. Folks with perfectionist ideas have excessively high, often unrealistic personal standards, goals, and expectations. They tend to have overly harsh self-criticisms, making them prone to negative, anxiety-riddled, intrusive thoughts.
Seeking situational anxiety treatment from a mental health professional
The fears in certain situations and the resulting situational anxiety can manifest as a powerful emotional barrier. It can lead people to avoidant behaviors, meaning they’ll go out of their way to dodge certain situations to keep from feeling, thinking about, and doing difficult things.
A licensed clinician who’s an expert in CBT for anxiety and has additional anxiety treatment resources can help individuals see that avoidance isn’t an effective way to stop intrusive thoughts or intense emotions. If you’re in Washington state or Florida, and you’ve been searching “anxiety treatment near me,” look no further. Susan Delia, LICSW, is ready to support you. In collaborative sessions with this CBT therapist, clients learn that behaviors they think are protection against life’s adverse events, awkwardness, pain, disappointment, and uncertainty can keep them from confidently living fulfilling lives.
Start regaining control of your life with CBT therapy for anxiety
Talking to a mental health clinician can help you learn how to stop intrusive thoughts, thrive in the storm, and overcome situational anxiety more quickly and easily than you could on your own because professionals provide:
- Expertise and experience. Psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists have extensive training and experience in understanding and treating anxiety disorders. They’re well-versed in situational anxiety and other anxiety disorders’ causes, triggers, and nuances. They know how to use structured, evidence-based treatment strategies, such as CBT for anxiety. They can guide you through specific therapeutic techniques, exercises, and provide access to practical anxiety treatment resources.
- Objective perspective-taking. Clinicians offer unbiased viewpoints. They help clients see their triggers, thought patterns, and behaviors objectively, which is often challenging for clients to do independently due to personal biases and emotions.
- A safe and supportive environment. When searching online for “anxiety therapy near me,” you’re looking for a safe, non-judgmental space to openly discuss your fears, anxieties, and concerns. CBT therapy with Susan Delia, LICSW, provides a safe space where self-expression and exploration are encouraged and supported to lead to better understanding and resolution of anxiety-related issues.
- Customized treatment. No two people experience any mental or emotional health challenge the same. With Susan Delia, LICSW, as your nearby anxiety therapy provider, you’ll receive CBT for anxiety implemented in a treatment plan tailored to your needs. She works with clients to help them understand the root cause(s) unique to their struggles.
Learn how to stop intrusive thoughts and find peace within in CBT for anxiety
CBT-inspired interventions employ techniques that empower individuals to gain control over their thoughts and reduce the impact of intrusive thoughts.
- Relaxation techniques, including deep breathing and mindfulness meditation, are integral to CBT for anxiety. They help individuals reduce overall anxiety levels and create a calm mental state, making confronting, managing, and stopping intrusive thoughts easier.
- Thought challenging encourages individuals to identify and challenge irrational or distorted beliefs associated with intrusive thoughts. This involves asking questions like, “Is this thought based on evidence?” or “What’s the worst that can happen?” By challenging the validity of these thoughts, clients can broaden their focus, include the bigger picture, and recognize that their fears are unfounded.
- Thought reframing teaches individuals to view intrusive thoughts from a different, more rational perspective. They are guided to find alternative interpretations or explanations for the thoughts that are less distressing and more realistic.
- Thought monitoring is another way to stop intrusive thoughts. Keeping a record of intrusive thoughts, their frequency, triggers, and associated emotions helps individuals identify patterns and develop strategies for managing or avoiding triggers.
- Exposure therapy is particularly effective for addressing specific fears and intrusive thoughts. It involves gradually and systematically exposing individuals to the situations or stimuli that trigger their anxiety. Through repeated exposure, individuals can learn that their feared outcomes are unlikely to occur, reducing anxiety and intrusive thoughts.
Begin thriving in in-person and online CBT for anxiety near you today
Avoiding taking risks, attempting new challenges, or pursuing your ambitions because you’re worried about experiencing inadequacy or disappointment if you don’t achieve your desired outcomes can keep you from getting the most out of your life and worsen the cycle of anxiety and stress.
If you’re ready to work towards the life you’ve always wanted through CBT for anxiety and you’ve been searching “anxiety treatment near me,” to learn more about Washington or Florida counseling services, let’s get started. In therapy sessions at Delia Counseling Services, you’ll receive the anxiety treatment expertise, support, and encouragement you need to address the stuck areas in your life. In a judgment-free collaborative process, you’ll do solution-focused work that instills confidence in you and empowers you to make positive changes that move you toward meeting your personal and professional goals and more.