Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions globally. Modern life has brought stressors such as work pressures, financial concerns, environmental concerns and living in the age of fast-paced technical advancements. All these changes happened in the last century and contributed to the significant rise of anxiety.
Considering our ancestors were not born into such a constantly changing world, it is understandable that we might not have up-to-date coping tools to keep up with the demands of the modern life. As a result, it becomes vital to have access to both online therapy and in-person therapy for coping with anxiety, as it allows individuals to choose the modality that best suits their preferences, comfort levels, and practical needs, thereby enhancing the overall effectiveness and accessibility of mental health support.
Anxiety could be defined as worrying unreasonably or excessively. People suffering from anxiety or anxiety disorders constantly worry and cannot control the negative thoughts that come to their minds. Common worries might be related to health, money, family, or work. While every individual may feel anxious about such issues from time to time, those with anxiety disorders always expect the worst, and this becomes an obstacle to the person live a normal life. Anxiety disorders, in addition to a high level of anxiety, can manifest itself with different physical symptoms such as fatigue, sweating, sleep problems.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder:
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) presents itself in the individual’s life with being constantly and excessively anxious. The main symptoms are attention problems, muscle tension, and sleep problems accompanied by restlessness and fatigue. GAD differs from other anxiety disorders that the trigger for the individual’s anxiety is related to more than one situation. For the other disorders of anxiety, the source is limited to a specific situation or cause (e.g., sudden attacks in panic disorder, shyness/timidity in social phobia). The nature of GAD is that the individual worries about many things, not just one or two.
Social Anxiety Disorder:
Social phobia is one of the common anxiety disorders characterized by various symptoms triggered in social environments. It usually begins in childhood or adolescence. People with this disorder tend to feel quite nervous or uncomfortable in social situations. They might be seen by others as shy, quiet, or introverted. On the contrary, they enjoy making friends, joining groups, and participating in activities that involve social interaction; however, they might not be able to socialize because of their high anxiety.
Panic disorder is characterized by recurring and unexpected panic attacks. Panic attacks usually lasts 15-20 minutes and ends spontaneously. However, they can feel very disturbing. Since severe fear is accompanied by physical symptoms, individuals may think that they are having a heart attack or stroke or may fear losing their minds. Contrary to popular belief, panic attacks occur unexpectedly and suddenly, without any triggering situation. However, severe stress can predispose to panic attacks in general.
Coping Tools for High Anxiety
Get enough quality of sleep: While anxiety can cause sleep problems, not getting enough quality sleep can worsen anxiety. For this reason, it is necessary to get quality sleep. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day helps achieve a good sleep pattern. Taking a hot shower before sleep, moving away from screens, and stopping caffeine consumption 4-6 hours before sleep will help you have a good quality sleep.
Journaling: One of the best ways to deal with anxiety is to write down anxious thoughts. In this way, anxiety takes a physical form. Although the emotions we express in writing might be more realistic, it also helps us to look at our feelings from a distance. Writing about topics of concern allows you to think with a clearer mind and calm down.
Physical Activity: One of the best ways to deal with anxiety is movement. Activities such as walking, running, swimming or yoga help to cope with anxiety by emptying the mind instead of stopping and thinking and experiencing more stress. Being active and exercising regularly positively affects the release of endorphins. In this way, the human body reacts less to pain or stress.
Breathing Exercises and Mindfulness: Feelings of anxiety often bring physical reactions such as sweating, dizziness, heart palpitations, and nausea. When you get this feeling, stop everything you are doing and focus on your breathing. Fast and frequent breathing causes the feeling of anxiety to increase and breathing deeply and slowly and exhaling loudly helps relax and calms both the mind and body.
Get Professional Support: Although anxiety is a part of daily life, if it starts is at a level that negatively affects daily life and the individual is aware that their quality of life has decreased due to anxiety, it might be best to seek support.
How Online Therapy Can Help You Cope with Anxiety
Online therapy can help to manage high anxiety by providing convenient access to professional support and offering flexibility in scheduling to equip the individuals with useful coping tools. Online therapy is not limited to your location so it would bring a variety of choices of anxiety therapists and give access to different methods of therapy so you can decide the best fit. Considering some individuals with certain types of anxiety disorders such as panic disorder and phobias might struggle to commute, having online therapy options might make it easier to start therapy. Individuals with generalized anxiety issues might also struggle to commit to therapy and make time for it in their lives, online therapy might be a more convenient option due to offering flexibility.
Online therapy can be provided in various forms such as video calls, audio calls and chat based. Video calls work like an in-person meeting because it also gives the opportunity to include non-verbal interaction. Audio calls could be chosen for the conditions with limited internet connection. Chat-based approach are used mostly for applications designed for therapy.
If you are considering online therapy for anxiety, make sure to choose the therapy approach recommended for anxiety which fits your needs well and arrange an initial consultation session for anxiety with the therapist. Make sure to have good internet connection and have a confidential space at home.
Real-Life Strategies for Coping with Anxiety Through in-person Therapy
If you are interested in having in-person therapy for anxiety, it is important to set realistic goals and expectations. Therapy for anxiety takes at least 8-12 sessions and people with long term anxiety might need to work with a therapist longer in some cases up to two years. It’s important to make time for in-person sessions because therapy would require regular attendance and active participation.
Therapy can be considered as investment for yourself, to increase your quality of life, and make better decisions as opposed to your life being on hold or your life quality being low due to having high levels of anxiety. Regular therapy for anxiety has the potential to yield long-term benefits by fostering personal growth, enhancing coping skills, and providing ongoing support to navigate life’s challenges.
Anxiety is on the rise because of trying to catch up with the demands of the modern life.
Although some levels of stress are considered healthy, when it becomes anxiety as in the form of excessive worrying and interfering with your life, it becomes important to seek help to regain the control of your life. Online therapy is a convenient option especially for people with anxiety who struggles with worrying because it is flexible and might fit easier to any schedule. It also provides an easy start to therapy for people with panic attacks and phobias.
Anxiety disorders are highly manageable conditions with the right treatment such as psychotherapy for anxiety and it is possible to overcome it with the right support.