Anxious woman in bed with her hands over her head.
Anxious woman in bed with her hands over her head.

ANXIETY

Therapy for Anxiety in New York City

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Anxiety often starts in one dimension of our lives and quickly seeps into others. When this happens, it’s like we're surrounded and no matter where we go, we're just met with new situations that trigger more anxiety. It's more than a fleeting feeling of nervousness; it's a constant sense of unease that affects your mental, physical, and emotional states.

Anxiety shows up in different ways for different people. It may come out as you prepare to meet with a certain client at work. Your heart starts to pound, your palms are sweating, and a tightness in your chest takes hold. Your mind is racing with thoughts of everything that could go wrong.

And for what? You know you’re good at your job (right?), so why is your body reacting this way? What is it about this situation or this client that creates anxiety?

Or perhaps in social situations, you feel a knot twisting in your stomach. You’re worried what people are thinking about you, scrutinizing the last thing you said, or judging how much or how little you’re contributing to the conversation.

Later, you find yourself lying awake consumed by thoughts of what you could have done differently. Anxiety has a way of making the simplest tasks feel impossible, robbing you of peace and connection with others.

This is the cycle of anxiety and it's an awful place to be. But you don't have to live here.

The Endless Cycle of Anxiety
What are the Symptoms of Anxiety?

Anxiety shows up in so many different ways and everyone can experience it differently. It typically can be categorized into four different “buckets:” physical symptoms, emotional symptoms, mental symptoms, and behavioral symptoms. Here are some of the most common ways we feel anxiety:

  • Increased heart rate: Feeling like your heart is racing or heart palpitations

  • Sweating: Excessive sweating, often unrelated to physical exertion or temperature

  • Trembling: Noticeable shaking in the hands or other parts of the body

  • Shortness of breath: Feeling like you can't catch your breath or are being smothered

  • Muscle tension: Tight, stiff, or sore muscles

  • Fatigue: Feeling unusually tired or exhausted

  • Headaches: Frequent or intense headaches

  • Nausea or gastrointestinal issues: Stomach aches, nausea, diarrhea, or other digestive problems

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness: Feeling faint or unsteady

Physical symptoms of anxiety
Emotional symptoms of anxiety
  • Excessive worry: Persistent and uncontrollable worry about everyday things

  • Fear: Intense and sometimes irrational fears or dread

  • Restlessness: Feeling on edge or unable to relax

  • Irritability: Becoming easily frustrated or annoyed

  • Sense of impending doom: Feeling that something terrible is about to happen

Mental symptoms of anxiety
  • Racing thoughts: Having rapid or repetitive thoughts

  • Difficulty concentrating: Trouble focusing or keeping your mind on one thing

  • Memory problems: Difficulty remembering things, especially new information

  • Catastrophizing: Always expecting the worst possible outcome

  • Intrusive thoughts: Unwanted and distressing thoughts that are hard to control

Behavioral symptoms of anxiety:
  • Avoidance: Steering clear of places, people, or situations that might trigger anxiety

  • Procrastination: Putting off tasks or responsibilities due to fear or dread

  • Compulsions: Repeating certain behaviors or rituals to alleviate anxiety

  • Restlessness: Pacing, fidgeting, or being unable to sit still

  • Social withdrawal: Avoiding social interactions and activities

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Trying to Break Free

In your pursuit of relief, you may have explored different ways to manage anxiety. Maybe you turned to self-help books, tried meditation, or attempted to push yourself into uncomfortable situations to “confront your fears.” At least that’s what you told yourself.

While these methods work for some, they often fall short for many people struggling on a deeper level.

Maybe you believe that a certain situation “shouldn’t” give you anxiety, so you try to ignore it and push it down through sheer willpower. You might think that other people don’t have anxiety around this, so why should you?

But we’re rarely given the chance to see what’s going on beneath the surface in those people. Convincing yourself that if you ignore the anxious thoughts, they will eventually disappear might seem easier than addressing them head-on, but unfortunately this approach often backfires. It simply intensifies the anxiety and strengthens that cycle.

Light shining through a Manhattan street at sunset
Light shining through a Manhattan street at sunset
Coping Mechanisms
Embracing Actual Freedom

Now, imagine a different narrative. Instead of feeling like your body is hijacked by anxiety leading up to that client meeting, you feel a little nervous, but you’re able to control it.

You’re able to remind yourself that you are good at your job, your job does not define you, and perhaps even able to make the connection between how this client reminds you of a coach, teacher, or parent in your life. Maybe you were anxious about “meeting” with that person, not this client.

Addressing your anxiety in therapy can help you get here. We’ll tackle the root causes of your anxiety so that over time, you can feel more confident, in control, and better understand where that anxiety was coming from in the first place.

Plus, we’ll also go over practical coping techniques to help you regain control when you feel that anxiety creeping back in. The goal is not about erasing anxiety entirely– because 1) that’s impossible and 2) a certain amount of anxiety can actually be helpful–but learning to coexist with it so that it no longer gets in the way of your potential.

Starting therapy is the first step in disrupting that anxiety cycle and embracing a lighter, more fulfilling future.

Similarly, common coping mechanisms like excessive exercise, having a few glasses of wine at night, or working long hours may provide temporary relief, but these solutions merely mask the underlying issues.

It's like tending to the branches and leaves of a tree, while ignoring the trunk and roots. The original cause of anxiety goes untouched, leaving you in a seemingly constant battle.

Struggling with Anxiety?

Schedule a free 15-minute consultation to get started and take back control.

What are Anxiety Disorders?

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Somebody with Generalized Anxiety Disorder usually experiences constant and excessive worry about different aspects of their daily life, such as work, health, or social interactions. Specifically, this might look like restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and muscle tension. When these symptoms reach a point where they interfere with the person’s ability to function in everyday activities, it’s usually an indicator of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Depending on how you experience anxiety and the combination of symptoms you’ve noticed, you might have a specific anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are different from normal feelings of anxiety that everyone goes through from time to time - they’re more intense and usually involve prolonged periods of anxiety that can have a negative impact on your day-to-day functioning and quality of life.

A few of the most of common anxiety disorders are:

Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder involves recurrent, unexpected panic attacks—sudden periods of intense fear or discomfort that reach a peak within minutes. These attacks go hand-in-hand with physical symptoms like heart palpitations, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, and a fear of losing control or dying. Panic Disorder often leads to persistent worry about having more attacks and behavioral changes in order to avoid them.

Social Anxiety Disorder (or Social Phobia)

Social Anxiety Disorder is characterized by an intense fear of social or performance situations where an individual might be scrutinized by others. This fear often leads to avoidance of such situations (or experiencing them with significant distress), along with physical symptoms like blushing, sweating, trembling, and difficulty speaking. Social Anxiety Disorder can have a severe impact on one’s daily functioning and their social/romantic relationships.

Specific Phobias

Phobias revolve around an intense, irrational fear of a particular object or situation. You’re likely familiar with the most well-known phobias, such as phobias of heights, certain animals, or flying. When somebody with a phobia is exposed to the stimulus trigger, they experience immediate anxiety and panic-like symptoms. People with phobias tend to go to great lengths to avoid the phobic object or situation, which can significantly impair their daily life.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder causes people to experience obsessions—repeated, intrusive thoughts or urges—and/or compulsions—repetitive behaviors or mental acts performed to reduce anxiety. Common compulsions include handwashing (or other forms of maintaining cleanliness), checking (an alarm, a locked door, etc), and counting (tiles on a floor, objects in a room, etc), which are time-consuming, distracting, and can cause significant distress when the compulsion is interrupted or restricted.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder–also a trauma-related disorder–develops after somebody experiences or witnesses a traumatic event, such as violence, a natural disaster, or an accident. Symptoms include intrusive memories, flashbacks, or nightmares about the event, avoidance of reminders, negative changes in thoughts and mood, and hyperarousal symptoms like being easily startled or feeling tense. Untreated PTSD can make it difficult or even impossible to maintain personal, social, and occupational functioning.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

A person with Separation Anxiety Disorder experiences excessive fear or anxiety about being separated from attachment figures. Separation anxiety is typically seen in children, but can also affect teenagers and adults. Symptoms include worrying about losing the attachment figure, refusing to be alone or go out, having nightmares about separation, and physical complaints like headaches or stomach aches when separation occurs or is anticipated.

Ready to Start Therapy for Anxiety?

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