In 25 years of practicing psychology, about 90% of clients who come to me for counseling are suffering from anxiety. It comes in so many forms that many people do not even realize that it is the culprit for their misery. Some of my clients have full blown panic attacks: racing heart, shortness of breath, feeling faint, choking sensation, and a sense of impending doom. Others experience anxiety with just one symptom: a tightness in the throat and feeling that they can’t swallow; persistent worry; or a feeling of being detached from their body and from society. Having one symptom can be just as debilitating as having full blown panic attacks.
The good news is, there is no need to suffer in silence! There are natural techniques for managing anxiety which scientific studies have proven can be just as effective as taking medication. Do you need help in managing your anxiety? Take this simple test to find out your anxiety level (credit for this test goes to David Burns):
Based on how you have been feeling for the past week, rate the following 5 items on a scale of 0 to 3 where:
0-not at all
3- a lot
- To what extent have you been feeling anxious, nervous or worried?
- To what extent have you been feeling tense, restless or unable to relax?
- To what extent have you been feeling stressed, uptight or on edge?
- To what extent have you been having frightening thoughts, fantasies or daydreams? (eg. what if my son is in a car accident? What if I get sick? etc.)
- To what extent have you been having physical symptoms of stress, such as racing heart, throat constrictions, shortness of breath or tight, tense muscles?
0 to 2: normal
3 to 5: borderline anxiety
6 to 10: mild to moderate anxiety
11 to 15: severe anxiety
Over the years, I have accumulated an entire toolbox of strategies, techniques and tools for treating anxiety. I have combined these techniques into an organized program called Mindful Anxiety Management, which has helped hundreds of people to keep their anxiety in check. It is a program based on the concept of neuroplasticity, which simply means the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Right now, for example, there are no neural pathways in my brain for playing a musical instrument, since I have never tried to learn that skill. However, if I wanted to learn to play the piano, I could take lessons and practice. Every time I practiced I would be strengthening the neural pathways in my brain for that skill. Eventually, with enough practice, I would be able to sit at a piano and play without even thinking about it, thanks to the neural pathways I created.
Right now, many of you have strong neural pathways in your brain for anxiety, worry and stress, because that is what you PRACTICE on a daily basis. You have made these neural pathways so well worn, that it is the path that your brain will naturally take you on as soon as you open your eyes in the morning. Well, what if you could create NEW neural pathways…..pathways for peace and relaxation? That is exactly what Mindful Anxiety Management does!
What is the opposite of anxiety? Relaxation. It is impossible to feel both anxious and relaxed at the same time. It makes sense then, that the best treatment for anxiety is to build strong neural pathways in the brain for relaxation. How do you do this? You PRACTICE relaxation skills. Remember, “relaxation skills” are not the same as simply “relaxing”. They are a specific set of skills that can be used to calm the body and the mind, and promote a sense of well being.
Because of the success that my clients have achieved with Mindful Anxiety Management, I have decided to offer online groups, so that people can participate from the comfort of their own homes. This is especially useful for people who have social anxiety, as many would find it overwhelming to be in a room full of people. If you are interested in learning more about these groups, please check out my website: https://www.florencestrang.com/upcoming-workshops
Want to start building your neural pathways for relaxation right now? Then find a place that is free from distractions and listen to this 10 minute guided visualization. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KXnALvPIW8