Are You Feeling Stuck, Distracted And Consumed By Worrisome Thoughts?

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Do you move through the day feeling overwhelmed by a sense of worry? Do you lay awake at night ruminating about a conversation you had earlier in the day or an upcoming presentation at work? Do you find that once you get a thought in your head, it feels impossible to “let it go?” Perhaps you are fearful of asserting yourself in your relationships or feel undeserving of your achievements, like an imposter waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re looking ahead to a personal conversation or a professional project, you might over-prepare because you believe that you must perform flawlessly just to appear competent. As your stress levels increase, you may feel as though you’re not devoting enough time or energy to your personal life, ultimately leading to feelings of guilt or inadequacy. Perhaps your anxiety has started to manifest physically through migraines, stomachaches, nausea or even panic attacks. Regardless of your anxiety symptoms or severity, you likely crave the tools needed to effectively relieve stress, balance responsibilities and experience greater joy.

For women living and working in Fairfield County, anxiety poses unique and varied challenges. You may find it easy to bury your thoughts beneath a flood of e-mails on or at the bottom of a bustling social calendar. But, in rare quiet moments, an overwhelming sense of pressure or worry may creep to the surface, affecting your sleep, appetite and physical health, as well as your work performance and relationships. While you may desperately want a healthier balance, you may also feel unsure of how to begin implementing positive, lasting changes.

Anxiety Is Increasingly Common Among Women

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Anxiety is a normal response to stress. Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time, and it can even fuel motivation and ambition. “Healthy stress,” like taking on a new assignment at work, preparing for an interview or focusing on an important lecture, can help you to stay engaged under pressure. But, if you feel anxious most of the time or if your anxiety feels hard to control, then it can become counterproductive or even disabling.

According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America, women are twice as likely to develop an anxiety disorder compared to men. The increased incidence of anxiety disorders among women is likely due, in part, to a woman’s unique hormonal adjustments from menses to menopause, as well as reproductive-related experiences, including infertility, pregnancy and adjusting to life postpartum. As a woman, you also likely confront pervasive societal pressures, which are often amplified by the stressful, and at times competitive cultures in our community.

For today’s woman, there are seemingly endless options when it comes to your career, interests and relationships. While it’s likely inspiring to be surrounded by ambition and opportunity, you may also feel an insurmountable pressure to “do it all.” Our “always on” culture, in which checking your phone is the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night, creates a cycle of constant connection that can feel impossible to keep up with.

Although most of us strive toward living full and meaningful lives, the fallacy that you must sacrifice taking care of yourself in order to achieve your goals is simply untrue. With counseling tailored to women struggling with anxiety, you can learn effective ways to set boundaries, quiet your mind, enhance your sense of focus and pursue peace and fulfillment.

Anxiety Therapy Can Provide You With Tools To Shift Your Perspective

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The goal of anxiety counseling is to help you cultivate effective strategies to manage your worry so that you may engage more calmly, confidently and creatively in your life. When treating anxiety, my primary approach is cognitive therapy, an evidence-based approach that is highly effective for most women with anxiety disorders. Cognitive therapy is centered on the idea that one’s thoughts about a situation, rather than the situation itself, determine the emotions and behaviors that follow.

In treatment, I teach you about the three different components of worry-- your thoughts, behaviors and physical symptoms-- to help you distinguish between productive and unhelpful anxiety. I also teach you strategies that help track your triggers, and together, we identify your unique anxiety patterns. Throughout treatment, we work together to alter thinking patterns that continue to hold your symptoms in place and practice techniques that deescalate day-to-day stressors. I also work with you to develop a targeted plan that enables you to gradually and confidently confront your fears and engage more calmly in various parts of your life.

I recognize that the mind/body are an inseparable entity. As such, it’s my aim to help you understand the neurobiological basis of your anxiety. I provide education regarding why we practice specific techniques and how lifestyle habits, such as nutrition, exercise and sleep, actually change brain activity. To this end, I often integrate relaxation exercises, such as mindfulness meditation, diaphragmatic breathing and progressive muscle relaxation, to help relieve the physical components of your worry. With practice and consistency, these exercises can decrease your baseline level of anxiety, so that when you do become physically aroused, you experience a greater sense of control over your mind/body.

The overall goal of anxiety therapy is not to eradicate stressful or worrisome thoughts altogether, as these thoughts can be appropriate and useful parts of your experience. Rather, we work together to identify your goals and develop realistic, compassionate new ways of dealing with anxiety in a healthy and productive manner. With the guidance of an experienced psychologist, it’s possible to feel empowered to take control over your worry so that you can engage more fully in your life.


You may still have questions or concerns about anxiety treatment…

+ I’ve been anxious for so long. I don’t know if it’s possible to successfully cope with anxiety.

Even if you’ve been anxious since you were young, cognitive therapy can help. In treatment, I offer individually tailored, evidence-based tools and techniques that are specifically designed to help you manage excessive worry. Cognitive therapy has helped countless women manage their anxiety. So why not give it a try?

+ If everyone experiences stress, do I really need anxiety therapy?

It’s true that we all feel stressed from time to time. However, if you find yourself feeling stressed most of the time, you’d likely benefit from individualized care and support. If you don’t find appropriate outlets to identify, manage and work-through your stress now, it may get worse and lead to a variety of challenges, including burnout, conflict in relationships, sleep disturbances, and even physical discomfort, such as migraines and stomachaches.

As a woman, you may prioritize taking care of others over investing in your own mental health and wellness. Although being productive, nurturing and loving are wonderful qualities, the goal of anxiety therapy is to help you find and maintain balance so that you can preserve energy and care for your own needs. Ultimately, you will be more present and productive in your life and relationships when you find space to take care of yourself.

+ With my hectic schedule, I’m afraid I don’t have time for therapy.

Many women feel as though there’s not enough time in the week to invest in making therapy a consistent part of their routine. However, taking just an hour out of your week to work with a qualified anxiety counselor can provide you with effective stress management techniques that lead to increased relief, resiliency and productivity. If your anxiety remedies are no longer serving you and you can’t figure out how to control anxiety, therapy is an investment that can help. Some women find that even just a few therapy sessions provide useful tools and techniques for them to practice as they continue working on their own.

 
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You Can Take Control Over Your Anxiety.

If you are suffering from stress or anxiety, I invite you to email drlevine@perennialwelllnessllc.com or call (203) 293-8840 for a free, 15-minute phone consultation. I’m happy to speak with you about how cognitive behavioral therapy can help with depression and anxiety.