Anxiety that significantly interferes with daily life is one of the most common psychological difficulties people face in the United States. Unfortunately, many people don’t get treatment for it due to a lack of clear treatment information and stigma around help-seeking. Without treatment, anxiety can become debilitating. It fuels avoidance of feared tasks, which leaves people feeling overwhelmed as deadlines on those tasks draw nearer. Feeling overwhelmed can then cause hopelessness and symptoms of depression.
For some people, anxiety is less focused on specific feared tasks and more like a radio station that is tuned 24/7 into all possible things that could go wrong. A layer of dread looms over life, creating persistent stress and edginess. Many DC high achievers fall into this category. Their minds frustratingly won’t seem to turn off, instead forever searching for the next threat.
Fortunately anxiety is highly treatable. I draw on cognitive-behavioral therapy and mindfulness in assisting people. Treatment involves helping people:
- Develop perspectives on anxiety-provoking tasks that make those tasks seem more manageable
- Cultivate greater awareness of what their mind is automatically doing that is fueling anxiety
- Identify and challenge core beliefs that produce anxiety
- Replace stressful self-critical judgments with greater self-acceptance and self-compassion
These techniques, implemented in the context of a warm therapeutic relationship, can help loosen anxiety’s grip, allowing peacefulness and hopefulness to emerge.