Anxiety is very much part a normal life for most people. Many of us experience it in different ways and at different times. However, for some people anxiety can persist and they may find it difficult to control their worries, making aspects of their daily life more difficult.
If you suffer from worries that don’t go away, obsessive thoughts, phobias or panic attacks, you may have an anxiety disorder. Treatment can help, and for many anxiety problems, anxiety therapy is a useful place to start. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be particularly beneficial and will teach you how to control your anxiety levels and conquer your fears.
Symptoms of anxiety
Some of the most common physical symptoms of anxiety are:
- An increase in heart rate
- An increase in muscle tension
- Breathing difficulties
- Frequent visits to the toilet
- Hot flushes
- Increased perspiration
- Dry mouth
- Choking sensations
The most common behavioural symptom of anxiety is avoidance. People suffering from anxiety will often avoid an anxiety provoking situation so as not to experience the physical and other psychological symptoms, which are often uncomfortable or distressing. However, avoidance doesn’t fix the anxiety it just stops people from living full and happy lives.
What is anxiety therapy?
CBT is the most effective therapy for anxiety disorders. Clinical research has shown CBT to be effective in the treatment of general anxiety disorder, social anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias, as well as many other conditions. Find out more on our CBT page >>.
For people with anxiety disorders, negative ways of thinking fuel the negative emotions of anxiety and fear. The goal of cognitive behavioural therapy for anxiety is to identify and correct these negative thoughts and beliefs. The idea is that if you change the way you think, you can change the way you feel.
How does CBT help with anxiety?
Cognitive behavioural therapy is particularly effective as an anxiety therapy because it helps people to challenge the negative thoughts and beliefs that people develop as a result of their anxiety.
Thought challenging—also known as cognitive restructuring, is a technique that the CBT therapist uses to challenge the persons negative thoughts in order to replace them with positive and realistic thoughts.
Replacing negative thoughts with more realistic ones sounds simple, but it is often the case that these negative thoughts have been part of long-term way of thinking. It takes expert guidance from a trained CBT therapist and a lot of practice to break the cycle of negative thinking.
How long does anxiety therapy take?
Because many of the negative thoughts that fuel anxiety are deeply entrenched it can take time to overcome anxiety, but it’s worth putting the time in. A life free of anxiety is a much happier and fulfilling life.