By: Nathan Houck, M.S., M.A.
Why Does Anxiety Operate That Way?
sails, people running around grabbing ropes, and some person way up top scanning the horizon. That lookout person scanning the horizon has the job of spotting and anticipating danger. They need to watch out for things like icebergs, rocks, and storms. If the lookout sees the enormous tentacles of a kraken emerge around the ship, they are going to raise the alarm immediately because the danger is clear and present – this is a fear response. On the other hand, if they see a vague shadow on the horizon (maybe land, maybe pirates, maybe an optical illusion), they are going to start thinking about raising the alarm because something not entirely clear might be a danger in the future – this is an anxiety response.
How Therapy Can Help Anxiety
- learning how to assess a situation and respond in a manner proportionate to the concern
- learning mindfulness skills to increase awareness of anxiety and its nuances
- cultivating a collaborative relationship with your anxiety
- learning how to utilize grounding, breathing, self-soothing, or distraction techniques to reduce the intensity of anxiety experiences
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