Anxiety Counseling + 10 Easy Tips To Help Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health issues facing Americans. In fact, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 19.1% of American adults–about 40 million–have an anxiety disorder. When anxiety interferes with daily life functions, it may be time to seek a medical professional to discuss whether or not an anxiety disorder may be at play. Despite anxiety disorders being prevalent, only approximately 37% of people experiencing anxiety disorders receive professional counseling treatment and therapy. Many suffering from this don’t realize it’s an entirely treatable condition that can be solved with something as simple as online anxiety counseling from the comfort of their own home. All of our patients at Northstar Counseling & Therapy use or have used online telehealth therapy as a means to help keep their anxiety to a minimum. 

What is Anxiety?

The American Psychological Association (APA) defines anxiety as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.” When the brain senses a potentially dangerous situation, it releases hormones that give us that tell-tale panicky feeling: increased heart-rate, sweating, quickened breath. On its own, anxiety is a normal, healthy emotion everyone experiences. We even benefit from it. Anxiety signals to us that we may be at risk and may keep us from making poor decisions or avoid danger. When anxiety is a normal emotion, it comes and goes and does not impact our overall experience of life. 

Here are a few examples of what anxiety is:

  • Feeling nervous before a big presentation or interview
  • Feeling uneasy or worried about a future event or situation
  • Having a sense of impending doom or danger without a clear reason
  • Avoiding certain places or situations due to fear or discomfort
  • Experiencing physical symptoms like sweating, shaking, or heart palpitations in response to stress or anxiety-provoking situations.
what is anxiety?

What are Anxiety Disorders? Who Gets Them?

Who Gets Anxiety?

In some people, panic responses switch on very easily. That’s an anxiety disorder. Individuals with a chronic anxiety disorder experience panic symptoms for no reason, or very easily and they often don’t go away. They feel hopeless or debilitated. For those suffering from a disorder, having this feeling never go away only compounds and worsens those initial feelings over time. 

Imagine putting on a winter coat to protect yourself from the cold. You went out without a coat, maybe for a whole day, and you’re concerned you’re never going to warm up. and being convinced that you’re always going to be cold. So you put on another layer, and then another, despite the seasons changing. You’re protecting yourself from the next winter because you’re remembering how awful the cold was. When midsummer comes and you have four layers on and it’s 100 degrees, your body won’t be able to take it. You’ll likely pass out. 

This is an apt metaphor for an anxiety disorder. The bad feelings, dread and worry heap on leading to the person being unable to leave their bed or house. This also explains why anxiety and depression often go hand-in-hand.

The American Psychiatric Association finds women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. 

Difference of Anxiety vs an Anxiety Disorders?

Whats the difference of Anxiety vs Anxiety Disorder

The feeling of anxiety can be a normal reaction to certain situations. However, an anxiety disorder is an excess of anxiety symptoms at times when an anxious response is not needed and beneficial to the individual. 

If you were blindfolded and asked to cross a busy street, anxiety would be beneficial. The discomfort of anxiety symptoms would likely lead you to politely decline. Your body’s reaction to danger (anxiety) is an innate response that helps keep you safe. 

On the other hand, if you had the same symptoms any time you heard the sound of a busy road, this could be the sign of an anxiety disorder requiring help like counseling. This is an unhealthy and unproductive anxiety response signaling that there is danger when there isn’t any. Anxiety disorders can impair people’s day to day lives and can impact their quality of life.

anxious woman

Anxiety disorders can have multiple causes and risk factors. One potential cause of anxiety is genetics, as certain genetic variations have been linked to an increased risk of developing anxiety disorders. Additionally, environmental factors, such as stress, trauma, and childhood experiences, can also play a role in the development of anxiety. For example, experiencing a traumatic event such as a car accident or a physical assault can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a type of anxiety disorder. Similarly, growing up in a household with parents who have anxiety or other mental health disorders can increase a person’s risk of developing anxiety disorders themselves.

Another possible cause of anxiety is brain chemistry. Neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, are chemicals in the brain that regulate mood and emotions. Imbalances in these chemicals or changes in the way they are processed by the brain have been linked to anxiety disorders. For instance, low levels of serotonin have been associated with increased anxiety symptoms. Additionally, certain medical conditions, such as thyroid disorders, heart disease, and chronic pain, can also cause anxiety symptoms. Substance abuse or withdrawal from drugs and alcohol can also trigger anxiety symptoms or worsen existing anxiety disorders. Overall, anxiety disorders are complex conditions with multiple causes, and a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors may contribute to their development.

How Anxiety Disorders Develop

Brain Chemistry. The areas of your brain that control your fear response may be altered and affected by traumatic experiences such as combat and being a victim of abuse, making them more reactive to stimuli. 

Genetics. Anxiety can run in families. Just like specific, physical traits pass from parents, anxiety disorders pass from parent to child.

Situations and Experiences. Stressful situations such as losing a job, relationship conflict, or financial stress can lead to an anxiety disorder requiring counseling. Not handling the stress of these situations, or ones like them, in a healthy manner can lead to an anxiety disorder.

No matter the cause, anxiety counseling assists in getting to the root cause and treating it to manage anxiety with the goal of reducing overall symptoms.

What Are The Different Types of Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety disorders are a group of mental health conditions characterized by excessive fear, worry, or anxiety. The most prevalent type of anxiety disorder is:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) which is diagnosed when individuals display excessive anxiety or worry most days of the week for six months or more. People with GAD often experience chronic worry about everyday issues, such as work, health, and finances, which can interfere with their daily activities and quality of life.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

(OCD) is another type of anxiety disorder characterized by unwanted, intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors or mental rituals performed to alleviate anxiety. These compulsions can be time-consuming and disruptive, and individuals with OCD often feel compelled to repeat them to prevent perceived harm.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is another type of anxiety disorder marked by recurrent, unexpected panic attacks, which are sudden episodes of intense fear or discomfort. Panic attacks can be accompanied by physical symptoms such as sweating, palpitations, and shortness of breath, and can lead to feelings of loss of control.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event such as combat, natural disasters, or sexual assault. Individuals with PTSD often experience intrusive thoughts or memories of the traumatic event, avoidance of reminders of the event, and hyperarousal symptoms such as hypervigilance and difficulty sleeping.

Social Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia

Is another type of anxiety disorder characterized by intense fear or anxiety in social situations or performance situations. People with social anxiety disorder often fear being judged or embarrassed in public, leading them to avoid social situations or endure them with extreme discomfort.

Overall, anxiety disorders can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, and seeking treatment can help manage symptoms and improve daily functioning.

Do I Have an Anxiety Disorder Requiring Counseling?

It’s important to note that these symptoms can vary from person to person and may be more or less severe depending on the individual and the type of anxiety disorder they are experiencing. Additionally, experiencing occasional anxiety is a normal part of life, but when these symptoms persist and interfere with daily functioning, it may be time to seek professional help. If you experience the following symptoms frequently, you may be experiencing unnecessary (and avoidable!) anxiety. 

  • Excessive worry or fear about everyday situations or future events
  • Restlessness, feeling on edge, or difficulty relaxing
  • Fatigue or trouble sleeping
  • Difficulty concentrating or racing thoughts
  • Physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, or rapid heartbeat
  • Avoidance of situations that trigger anxiety
  • Obsessive or compulsive behaviors
  • Panic attacks, which can include symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, and dizziness.

10 Easy Tips To Dealing With Anxiety

Social Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia

Deep breathing exercises, such as diaphragmatic breathing, can help calm the body’s stress response and reduce anxiety symptoms. To practice deep breathing, find a quiet place to sit or lie down, and inhale deeply through your nose for several seconds, allowing your abdomen to expand. Hold your breath for a few seconds, then exhale slowly through your mouth, allowing your abdomen to contract. Repeat this process for several minutes until you feel more relaxed and calm.

Get regular exercise

Physical activity can help reduce anxiety and improve mood by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural mood-boosters. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week, such as walking, cycling, or swimming. Exercise can also help reduce muscle tension and improve sleep, both of which can be beneficial for managing anxiety.

Avoid caffeine and other stimulants

Caffeine and other stimulants can increase anxiety symptoms and interfere with sleep, so it’s best to limit or avoid them if possible. Try switching to decaf coffee or herbal tea, and avoid energy drinks and other stimulant-heavy beverages. Be aware that some medications, such as certain cold and allergy medications, may also contain stimulants and should be used with caution.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation or yoga, can help reduce anxiety by promoting relaxation and focusing the mind. To practice mindfulness, find a quiet place to sit or lie down, and focus on your breath or a calming image or phrase. When your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your breath or the present moment. Regular practice can help reduce stress and anxiety over time.

Challenge negative thoughts

Anxiety is often fueled by negative self-talk and catastrophic thinking. Try to identify and challenge these negative thoughts with more realistic and positive self-talk. For example, instead of thinking, “I’m never going to get through this,” try reframing the thought to something like, “This is challenging, but I’ve overcome difficult things before and can do it again.”

Connect with others

Spending time with friends or loved ones can help reduce anxiety and improve mood. Social support can be a powerful tool in managing anxiety. Try to make time for social activities, even if it’s just a quick phone call or text message to a friend.

Get enough sleep

Sleep is crucial for both physical and mental health, and getting enough rest can help reduce anxiety symptoms. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and establish a consistent bedtime routine to help improve sleep quality. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed, and limit screen time in the evening, as exposure to blue light can interfere with sleep.

Seek professional help

If anxiety symptoms persist and interfere with daily functioning, it may be time to seek professional help. A mental health therapist can provide effective treatment options, such as counseling and therapy. They can also give you a recommendation to speak with a Psychologist or Doctor that can prescribe medication to manage your anxiety. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help – taking the first step can be a crucial part of managing anxiety and improving overall your well-being. If you feel like your anxiety is putting you in immediate danger, please contact 911 immediately for help.

Why Anxiety Counseling Is Effective Treatment​

Anxiety Therapy Helps

The most effective way to treat and manage this condition is through a combination of psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and in more intense cases, medication. Anxiety counseling is a great way to learn about where your anxiety is stemming from. Once you and your counselor identify the catalyst for your anxiety you’ll move onto learning techniques to decrease your symptoms. Anxiety counseling is personalized. Your therapist will work with you to practice and integrate the strategies that are best for you. Everyone is different. Anxiety counseling is a time to discover the approaches to managing symptoms that is best for you. Some are:

How Do I Find Anxiety Counseling Near Me?

If you’re looking for an anxiety counselor in your area, there are several resources available to help you find a qualified professional. One option is to search online for therapists in your area using directories such as Psychology Today or GoodTherapy. Another option is to ask for a referral from your primary care physician or from a trusted friend or family member. In addition, many mental health clinics and counseling centers offer anxiety treatment and can help connect you with a therapist who specializes in anxiety disorders.

If you’re looking for help, we at Northstar Counseling & Therapy are here for you. Our anxiety counseling services are comprehensive and designed to support you as an individual, a couple, or family in the Frisco, TX area. Our team of licensed therapists in the states of Texas and Minnesota are highly trained and experienced in working with anxiety. They can provide you with specialized treatment options to better manage your symptoms and improve your overall well-being. Nobody understands more than us that anxiety can be a debilitating condition, but with the right treatment, it’s possible to overcome and live a fulfilling life.

What questions should I ask to qualify an anxiety therapist?

When searching for an anxiety therapist, it’s important to find someone who is a good fit for your needs and who can provide effective treatment. Here are some questions to ask when qualifying an anxiety therapist:

  • What experience do you have treating anxiety disorders?

  • What types of treatment do you offer for anxiety disorders?

  • Do you offer cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or exposure therapy?

  • What is your approach to treating anxiety, and how do you tailor the treatment to each individual?

  • What kind of training and credentials do you have?

  • Do you have specialized training in treating anxiety disorders?

  • How often do you typically meet with clients, and what is the expected duration of treatment?

  • How do you involve clients in their treatment plan, and what is your approach to client-centered care?

  • What is your availability, and do you offer flexible scheduling options?

  • How do you handle emergency situations, such as a client experiencing a panic attack during a session?

  • What is your policy on confidentiality, and how do you ensure client privacy?

  • What is your fee structure, and do you offer any sliding scale or reduced-cost options for clients who may not be able to afford full-price services?

Asking these questions can help you determine if a therapist is a good fit for your needs and can provide the support and treatment you need to manage your anxiety symptoms. Above all though, you should feel a connection with your therapist. That connection will allow you to trust the process and heal much faster as you put the work in.

Northstar Counseling Can Help Your Anxiety​

10 Easy Tips to Healing Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are 100% treatable, but without some sort of professional treatment they tend to get more severe over time. There is no need to harm yourself further by living with an anxiety disorder. Schedule a free and secure individual consultation with us today.  

With the proper counseling you will live a much happier life.


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin
Megan Corrieri

Megan Corrieri

Owner, Clinician, Wife & Mom