5waystoahappieryou-300x233 Anxiety Counseling: 5 Ways to a Happier YouThe best way to fight anxiety is to be happy. Sounds easy, right? Maybe not? Wouldn’t it be great if happiness was something that just happened? Of course, that is what we all want. Counseling Services of Parker Colorado specializes in anxiety counseling. We know a lot about anxiety therapy, and anxiety treatment – and we found happiness takes a big part in treating anxiety. We want to wake up every morning with a smile on our face, ready to jump out of bed and see what the day has to offer. However, that isn’t reality. Too often, we get wrapped up in the everyday cycle of going through the motions. Some people may even be afraid of happiness.  Happiness is attainable! It might take some work, but you can find it. Happiness is a state-of-mind. More importantly, it is a choice. You need to work at it at it just like anything else in your life. Look at it like you are having a relationship or friendship with yourself. If you are married or in a relationship you work at loving that other person, you do things to show them you care and to see them smile, right? So why shouldn’t you do that for yourself. Show yourself that you care. By focusing on certain areas of your life that are meaningful to you, you can find happiness. Here are five ways to a happier you:

1.  Exercise Right

Exercise is a natural source of energy. Simply exercising for twenty minutes a day, three days a week will dramatically improve a person’s vitality. Exercise releases dopamine and adrenaline, which help us to feel better. Remember you have to work at it! It takes six weeks to build a habit. Challenge yourself to find twenty minutes three days a week for six weeks. This can be done in combination with breathing exercises to really maximize the impact.

2.  Enjoy Now

Many of us always think about the future or get stuck in the past. Instead of always anticipating what is going to happen or ruminating on the past, we need to take time to be in the present.  Practice the art of mindfulness. Take time to appreciate where you are and how far you have come.

3.  Make Life Fun

Too often we are caught up in the everyday life we forget what it is like to simply have fun. So what is fun for you? Take an opportunity each week to indulge in something you find fun. It simply may be going to the park and having lunch. You may want to join a recreational sports league or a book club. You can also try rewarding yourself in small ways daily. Treat yourself at the end of a long day! Whatever it is, it must be what YOU enjoy to do. If this seems challenging, you may want to think about anxiety counseling.

4.  Be Generous

Giving and making other people happy increase our own happiness. By serving others, we get our minds off of ourselves and focused on those in need. Find time to volunteer or to help friends or family. There are many articles about anxiety counseling and anxiety treatment which show that generosity leads to happiness. happiness. Random acts of kindness are always good for you and your soul!

5.  Laugh Out Loud

Humor is the best medicine. Laughter has positive effects on the body. It boosts immunity and lowers blood pressure. It takes five positive thoughts to counteract one negative thought, so surround yourself with positive energy. Far too often, people take themselves too seriously. Take time to smile and laugh at yourself.

These are just five ways to begin finding your happy state-of-mind. It takes time and a continual investment in yourself to be content. Investing in yourself is as important as investing in others. Take the time to exercise, enjoy the moment, have fun, give time to others, and laugh at yourself to begin finding YOUR happiness.

**For other resources on happiness, check out The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin as well as Shawn Achor’s TED talk at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXy__kBVq1M.

As a mental health counselor and anxiety therapist, I often times listen to concerns which manifest feelings such as worry, fear, panic, insomnia, and fatigue. These are all common symptoms of anxiety. Other symptoms people may experience include irrational thoughts, muscle tension and nausea. While anxiety is a natural reaction and we cannot eliminate it, there are techniques you can learn to reduce the symptoms and live a less anxious life.

  1. Exercise

    Exercise is one of the best ways to manage your anxiety. Not only does it help work out the stress, but it naturally increases the levels serotonin and dopamine in our brains. Anxiety therapists suggest exercising for 30 minutes a day.

  2. Deep Breathing

    Deep breathing techniques can help reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety such as heart palpitations. It can also help slow down the racing thoughts in your brain. Try inhaling for a count of 5, holding for a count of 5, and exhaling for a count of 5. These techniques are often suggested and used by anxiety counselor and therapists.

  3. Progressive Muscle Relaxation and Meditation

    This technique helps slow your body down. You will want to find a quiet place where you can either lie down or sit comfortably. A good way to start learning this technique is through a guide either in person or through a recording. If you would like to try this Counseling Services of Colorado suggests downloading an application on your phone such as Insight Timer –https://insighttimer.com/.

  4. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol

    Both of these are mood-altering substances and can increase levels of anxiety as well as depression. Many studies have been done stating the negative impacts of caffeine and alcohol on mental health.

  5. Get Adequate Sleep

    While insomnia is common for people who have anxiety, it is important to try to get the recommended amount of sleep. Lack of sleep will also increase anxiety. Try a deep breathing or muscle relaxation exercise to help you relax before trying to go to bed.

  6. Coloring (Yes, with crayons or Markers!)

    Counseling Services of Parker Colorado often suggests breaking out the crayons or markers and buying a coloring book. Adult coloring books have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Give them a try and have a little fun and make something beautiful. Many of my friends who are anxiety therapists shared the following link to affordable and popular coloring books for adults –http://www.amazon.com/Adult-Coloring-Book-Relieving-Patterns/dp/1941325122/ref=zg_bs_books_9.

  7. Acceptance

    Adverse feelings such as anxiety are normal. You’re not alone. The goal is not to eliminate the feelings rather to learn how to manage them. If you need help working through your thoughts and feelings, get in touch with a local anxiety therapist or anxiety counselor. We have a lot of experience helping people through their anxiety.

These techniques done in conjunction with therapy can help you learn your best practices for coping with your anxiety. You may also want to consider talking with your doctor about medications that can help with the physical symptoms. Counseling Services of Parker Colorado is happy to discuss this further with you. Please feel free to contact us whenever you’re ready.

How many times have you heard “just breathe” or “it will all be ok” when you are experiencing a panic attack or elevated level of anxiety? While it is nice to hear these ideas, it can also be frustrating because we know this. We know we should just breathe or tell ourselves it will all be ok, but that is not the problem.

The problem is not that we don’t know this, the problem is in how our brain processes the current situation. In these moments we may be feeling out of control or unsafe. So, we tend to move into fight or flight mode and our anxiety continues to increase.

Also, in these moments our brain and body are typically not in alignment with one another. So, how to we help our brain process what we are experiencing as it is and keep our brain and body aligned? Through coping skills, such as grounding.

As mentioned in previous blogs, anxiety is all about control. The ides behind grounding is it can help us stay present in the moment and be in control of our current situation. Also, what is great about grounding is you can use it anywhere! If you are in public, people won’t even notice what you are doing.

Grounding involves using the five senses. The next time you begin to feel out of control and your anxiety increase, try this:

  1. Stop wherever you are (If you are driving, pull over to a safe place on the side of the road)
  2. Look around
  3. Silently or aloud name five things you can see
  4. Name four things you can touch
  5. Name three things you can hear
  6. Name two things you can smell
  7. Name one thing you can taste

Again, the idea is to keep you present and in the moment. I do like to add deep breathing while completing the grounding technique. To do this, you will take a deep breathe in through your nose, hold for a short-time, and breathe out through your mouth while going through the five senses.

If you would like to learn more about grounding or other coping skills for anxiety, please contact me. I can help you find the techniques that best work for you.

Do you ever feel your anxiety increase during the holidays? If your answer is yes, you are not alone. While the holidays are supposed to be a time of joy, for many it brings higher levels of anxiety.

Why is this you might ask? Anxiety is all about control. When we feel out of control, anxiety begins to increase. Where will I spend the holidays? What should I wear to the party? Will people like me? Where will I be sleeping? Will our family get along this year? Will people like the gifts I get them? What if I can’t leave when I want to? Do any of these thoughts or type of thoughts sound familiar?

It is normal to worry much of the time when living with anxiety. We worry because we do not have control over the outcome of such events. Most of the time our perceived outcome of an event is very much out of proportion with what will actually happen. So how do I stop my constant worry from always reaching worst-case scenario?

Well, the first step is to acknowledge what is happening. You might be wondering if this is how everyone thinks? The answer to that is no. People without anxiety don’t get caught up in the never-ending loop of worry. The reason for this is because their brains process these thoughts naturally. While those who live with anxiety have to do this process “manually”. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with your brain. It is just different, and you will just have to learn how to move these thoughts through a process.

First is to acknowledge it. Second, ask yourself “what do I have control over right now?” The answer to this question is you only have control over you. Instead of trying to control the outcome of an event, the goal is to be able to control the anxiety so you are able to handle the event. Finally, learn what coping skills work for you. For example, deep breathing is something you can do wherever you are. Take a breathe in through your nose for the count of four, hold for a count of four, and breathe out through your mouth for a count of four. Do this for a minimum of ten times. Find a positive affirmation that works for you, such as “I can handle this”, to repeat to yourself while you breathe.

You may be saying to yourself, “this sounds really nice, but it’s just not that easy.” You are right, it’s not easy, it takes work. There is no cure for anxiety, but you can learn how to manage your anxiety and live a happy and fulfilling life through anxiety treatment at Counseling Services of Parker. You can learn how to control your anxiety instead of allowing your anxiety control you.

I can help you understand where your anxiety comes from, learn what your triggers are, and how to manage your anxiety. To set up a time please fill out the form on my website or call me @ 720-507-1907.

Types-of-Anxiety-Disorders Types of Anxiety Disorders

It’s normal to experience anxiety from time to time, such as before a big test or when you’re searching for a new job. Everyone will experience anxiety in their life. However, many people in this country have an anxiety disorder, which means that they experience anxiety that goes above and beyond what is considered normal. People with anxiety disorders have difficulty functioning in their daily lives due to intrusive, anxious thoughts. If you feel like you are experiencing a level of anxiety that is disruptive, it’s important to seek professional help.

Anxiety is an umbrella term for several different types of mental disorders. If you suspect that you may have an anxiety disorder, read on for information about each specific type to see if you identify with any of the symptoms.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

The most common anxiety disorder is called generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD. There are tens of millions of people with GAD across the globe. GAD is characterized by a persistent worried state paired with physical tension in the body that can’t be explained by another medical cause. If you are always feeling nervous, worried, or stressed and it is impacting how you function in your daily life, you may have generalized anxiety disorder.

Common symptoms of GAD include:

  • Restlessness
  • Irritation
  • Persistent, obsessive worried thoughts
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain and rapid heartbeat
  • Excessive sweating and trembling

These symptoms do not go away, like with normal anxiety, but are persistent and unavoidable. If you can relate to this description, it is worth talking to a therapist about GAD.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is different than GAD. It is characterized by panic as opposed to anxiety. While you may feel “panicked” if you are in a dangerous, life-threatening situation, people with panic disorder have feelings of impending doom and mental and physical symptoms that can be so severe that they may even land them in the hospital.

People with panic disorder experience both panic attacks and an extreme fear of having panic attacks. A panic attack involves a variety of mental and physical symptoms, such as:

Physical

  • Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat
  • Excessive sweating
  • Numbness, weakness, or tingling
  • The feeling of being outside of yourself (depersonalization)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness/lightheadedness
  • Stomach pain/digestive symptoms
  • Chest pain

Mental

  • A feeling of impending doom
  • Extreme anxiety, especially about your health
  • Helpless feelings

It is common for the physical symptoms of a panic attack to manifest before the mental symptoms, which is why people often become concerned that they are having a heart attack or something comparable. Panic attacks are difficult to predict because it is possible for them to be triggered by nothing in particular. They are also commonly caused by stress.
If you are experiencing panic attacks, it’s important to promptly seek help. One of the most important tools for stopping panic attacks is learning techniques for controlling them. An interesting aspect of panic disorder is that one may have it without actually experiencing panic attacks; obsessive anxiety about the possibility of a panic attack can also lead to a panic disorder diagnosis.

Social Phobia

Social phobia, also known as social anxiety, is characterized by an extreme fear of social situations. Everyone feels some social anxiety at some point in their lives. You might feel shy or uncomfortable about public speaking, for example. This is different than social phobia. People with social phobia have an intense reaction to socialization or public speaking that is so severe that it is disruptive to their lives. Any public situation is distressing to someone with social phobia, often because they live with a persistent fear of being judged. They may be very fixated on avoiding doing something that would cause them embarrassment. People with social phobia will often avoid social situations at all costs.

Some common symptoms of social phobia include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness around new people
  • Obsessive thoughts about being judged or watched
  • Difficulty coping with overwhelming anxiety about any social situation
  • Intense need to avoid meeting new people or speak publicly
  • Avoiding social situations entirely
  • Anxiety at even the thought of a social situation

In our next blog, we will continue to cover the different types of anxiety disorders. In the meantime, if you believe that you could benefit from anxiety treatment in Parker, contact Counseling Services of Parker today!

 

Everyone has a bad habit or two, but some of these habits may actually indicate that you struggle with anxiety. While most of these habits are not harmful in any way, others can lead to health issues, physical pain, and lowered self esteem. If you are searching for anxiety treatment to help you, it’s time to contact Counseling Services of Parker to learn more and sign up for an appointment.

Top Habits that Indicate Anxiety

See if you find yourself exhibiting any of these habits on a regular basis:

  • Smoking – While smoking is quite common, it is also common knowledge that it’s bad for your health. However, smoking is often a signature sign of anxiety. The repeated motion can be soothing to anyone struggling with anxious thoughts.
  • Nail Biting – This common habit does not do much to harm you, but it can lead to an infection around the nail if you are not careful. Many people engage in nail-biting because they feel overwhelmed or stressed. If you bit your nails, pay attention to when the urge strikes you.
  • Hair Pulling – This is a surprisingly common response to stress and anxiety, and people pull out their hair from all parts of their body. The eyebrows, eyelashes, and hair on the head are all common targets. If this is done regularly or in excess, it can lead to hair loss and might even indicate a case of trichotillomania, which is a close relative of OCD.
  • Leg Bouncing – If you quickly bounce your leg up and down while seated, it could be your body channeling your anxiety through your legs. While this is a harmless habit, it might indicate some underlying issues.
  • Foot Tapping – Much like leg bouncing, this harmless habit probably just annoys the people around you. Your feet may get tired, but that isn’t a serious issue. Keep in mind that this tapping might be more than just a habit. Contact a therapist to know for sure, however.
  • Overeating – In order to cope with stressful situations, many people turn to food. Certain foods with high sugar content can cause temporary highs in your brain that make you feel happier, but these foods can lead to issues with obesity. This habit of overeating may be pointing towards anxiety.
  • Undereating – Those who undereat when they are feeling anxious may lack adequate nutrition and feel the effects all over. They may develop anorexia and see damage in their hair, teeth, and bodies as a whole.
  • Oversleeping – Hypersomnia will not harm you, but it is a common symptom of depression. Since depression and anxiety are often linked, it is best to talk to a professional to see if you may have either of these conditions or possibly even both.
  • Undersleeping – Not sleeping enough can affect your cortisol levels and keep you feeling depressed and on edge. If you suffer from insomnia, this is probably an indicator of a deeper issue, such as depression or anxiety.
  • Skin Picking – This habit can lead to scarring or infection when it happens too frequently. Many people who do pick at their skin are doing it to relieve some of the anxious feelings they may be experiencing.

Contact Us for Anxiety Treatment

If you believe that you may have anxiety due to one or more of the above-mentioned habits, then contact the professionals at Counseling Services of Parker today. Pay attention to what seems to trigger your habits, and write them down in a journal. Together, we can work through your anxious feelings and come up with ways to handle how you are feeling in a healthy way. To learn more, please contact us today and schedule an appointment!