Therapeutic Ways to Deal With Anxiety



Anxiety is a kind of emotion described by having worried thoughts, tension, and experiencing physical changes. Most people think that anxiety is an emotion felt only during extreme situations that cause distress. Contrary to this, anxiety is normally felt by many every day.


Anxiety was a useful tool for our ancestors who needed the flight or fight response to survive in the wild. The flight or fight response triggers when a person experiences anxious reactions to danger.


Our ancestors had these anxious reactions when confronted by a predator. The same reactions occur when they face a threatening situation in the wild. For modern people, the flight or fight reaction is echoed by the nervous feelings before an important event or when in an unfamiliar environment.


However, there are instances when a person experiences anxiety excessively. This is when simple anxiety turns into a disorder. Anxiety disorder does not have a single cause. 


People with anxiety disorders have thoughts or concerns that disrupt their everyday lives. They cannot function normally because of their thoughts or apprehensions.


Different people can experience different kinds of anxiety disorders. Some people have a very specific fear, while others have unrelenting worries. There are some people with an anxiety disorder who have obsessive thoughts. Others have crippling panic attacks.


Whatever type of anxiety it is, the most important thing to keep in mind is that there is always a way to cope with anxiety and fear.


Therapy is a popular option for people with anxiety. It is also an effective way to deal with the roots of anxiety rather than tackling it at surface value. Therapy for anxiety equips a person to gain control of anxiety in the long run. There are different therapeutic ways to deal with anxiety. Exploring these options lets you find the best method for you.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The most widely-used therapy for anxiety disorders is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It works with the principle that the internal thoughts of a person affect how that person feels, not the external event. Simply stated, this therapy helps you understand that your feelings are not dictated by what is happening but by what you are thinking.


This form of therapy enforces Cognitive Restructuring which is the process of challenging negative thinking patterns that contribute to a persons’ anxiety. It involves identifying the thought, challenging the thought, and then replacing the negative thought with a positive one.


Emotional Support Animal

Out of all the different forms of therapies for anxiety, the most rewarding therapy may be working with an emotional support animal or ESA. Yes, having a dog or a cat can be therapeutic. 


For instance, having an emotional support dog for anxiety can have many benefits. One benefit is having a constant companion. An emotional support animal keeps a person from feeling isolated from the world.


Another benefit is how calming an emotional support animal can be. Interacting with a trusted animal reduces stress levels which in turn lessens anxiety.


Other than these two benefits, having an animal to care for forces a person with anxiety to move and become active. Animals need lots of love, food, and exercise to remain healthy and strong. In the process of caring for another being, a person with anxiety can find themselves become healthier as well.


Working with an emotional support animal sounds wonderful but not all those who have anxiety qualify to have an ESA. The first requirement to be eligible to have an emotional support animal is to be certified as emotionally disabled. The certification is only valid if it was granted by a psychologist, a therapist, a psychiatrist, or licensed mental health professional.


Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy, as the name suggests, lets a person safely face the cause of their anxiety instead of running away from it. It works within the premise that by being repeatedly exposed to the cause, a sense of control will slowly take over. A therapist can either guide a patient through imagining the fear or it may be confronted in real life. 


Exposure therapy uses the process of Systematic Desensitization. In this process, the therapy starts with a mildly threatening situation then slowly working up to the patients’ actual fear. As the situations intensify, the patient has to go through three parts. These parts are Learning Relaxation, Creating a Step-by-step list, and Working Through the Steps. 


Different people have different anxiety stories. There is no one form of therapy that can cure-all. It is important to understand that it takes time and commitment to overcome an anxiety disorder. Give yourself the best chance to beat your anxiety by making positive choices and being more conscious in your everyday life.