Unfortunately, many of us feel as if we are on the verge of burnout. We feel as if we have to worry about our children, our jobs, and our relationships. At times, we may feel as if we are spinning out of control. It is as if we are engaging in a high wire act without a net. We become frustrated and angry with ourselves because we don’t think we’re achieving our potential. We can literally become lost in a sea of worry.
At one time, seeking therapy for such feelings of anxiety would have been considered socially unacceptable. A few decades ago, many people considered therapy to be an indulgence. Mental health counseling had an incredible stigma attached to it. However, today we see celebrities including Brooke Shields, Anne Heche, Marie Osmond, and Jane Pauley who speak openly about seeking counseling for their problems. Cognitive Behavior Therapy is no longer considered the domain of the crazy and the weak.
Therapy can come in a variety of forms. It can involve face-to-face counseling, self-help books, CDs, and online forums. It has been said that there are as many as 100 therapy programs on the market today. These programs share some common traits. First, they assess how the individual is thinking and identify any disruptions in thought patterns. It is important to get these thoughts out into the open in order to deal with them effectively.
Second, the programs attempt to figure out an individual’s basic beliefs and whether these beliefs are founded on reliable principles. Say, for instance, you become anxious about flying. Through talk therapy, it is determined that this fear can be traced back to your concerns about your grandmother, who once had an unpleasant flying experience en route to Oklahoma. You might have been worried about your grandmother’s safety and that, in turn, has led to an irrational fear of flying.
The next step is to gather evidence in order to combat negative thinking. For instance, you might look for a statistic indicating how many crashes a given airline has during a year. When you discover how infrequently accidents occur, your belief that flying is dangerous may be thrown out the window. The one sure-fire way to fight negative thinking is to counteract it with reliable facts.
Another technique you can use to combat anxiety is to develop coping mechanisms. In other words, in order to not let your worry get the best of you, you might try prayer and meditation, exercise, dancing, reading a good book, or soaking in a hot tub. You should keep a list of relaxation techniques handy so that you can turn to them any time you are feeling particularly stressed out.
You will have to get into the habit of relaxation. This can be quite difficult, especially for those with high-stress jobs. You may even consider taking a class in relaxation techniques. Once you utilize these techniques, you are likely to find yourself better able to concentrate…better able to manage your feelings…and better able to cope.
Literally millions of people have been assisted through cognitive behavioral therapy. While herbal remedies and prescription medications can alleviate symptoms, they do not address the root causes of anxiety. Until we begin to think positively, we cannot hope to attack the crux of our anxious feelings.
How do you find the therapist that’s right for you? To begin with, consult some of your trusted friends. Chances are someone in their families has been to a counselor within the past six months. You’ll want someone who is easy to talk to, with whom you can share your innermost thoughts and feelings. If you try a therapist and you feel uncomfortable, by all means switch to someone else. Sometimes, finding the right counselor is a matter of trial and error.
Going through therapy can be a tough experience. You may have to delve into areas that you find to be uncomfortable. But it can be highly rewarding in the end. You may find that you gain greater insight into your thought patterns, that you are better able to communicate effectively, and that you are feeling much less anxious. There is no reason to apologize for undergoing therapy. Seeking help is actually a sign of strength.