Sometimes you may feel nervous, afraid, or overwhelmed with what is going on in your life. This anxiety is a completely normal and natural response to stress. It occurs when life feels extra heavy, busy, or worrisome.

Many people experience anxiety in anticipation of something. You might be nervous about an upcoming life transition or afraid of an upcoming situation or event. A lot of anxiety also comes from not knowing. As humans, we really like to know everything — we like to be in control.

When we can’t control the world around us, our emotions sometimes go a little haywire. This can make us feel even more out of control because we don’t always understand what is going on inside of us.

Anxiety can also come out of seemingly nowhere. We might not have any idea of how it surfaced and therefore feel overwhelmed and lost in making it go away. Sometimes it truly does seem to come on unexpectedly. Other times, if we take a step back and look at the bigger picture, our anxiety is a stress response to a lot of little tiny stresses piled on top of each other.

You might first notice anxiety through a general sense of being overwhelmed — but anxiety is actually a body experience. When you’re feeling anxious, blood rushes to your brain in anticipation of an intense situation. Your body is trying to protect you!

But this change in blood flow impacts the rest of your body. You might feel a little jittery sometimes or light headed. Your heart rate will increase and as your breath becomes faster, your oxygen level will decrease. This means you’re getting less oxygen to your brain, impacting the function of your thoughts. Sometimes this even makes it hard to make decisions or concentrate.

Your anxiety might look very different from the experience of other people and that’s okay.

How Therapy Helps

You might feel ashamed of this anxiety — or embarrassed that it may seem like you can’t “handle” your stress. But there is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about! Anxiety can creep up on anyone, at any time. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong or inadequate about you. It simply means your body is telling you something needs to change.

Therapy can be tremendously helpful in managing anxiety. Your therapist will help you understand your own personal response to stress, identify ways and times it is impacting you, and assist you in finding new tools to help manage and decrease its negative impact on your life.

Anxiety can also negatively impact your relationships. Through work with a therapist, you can learn how anxiety may get in the way of things that are important to you and what to do about it. Knowledge is power.

Oftentimes therapy for anxiety will encourage you to reframe how you look at the world around you. This paradigm shift, paired with increased awareness of what your body is experiencing and effective new skills and strategies for coping, will give you a new confidence in navigating your world.

Our therapists at Kalamazoo Therapy Group want to help guide you in understanding and managing your anxiety — whether it is a temporary part of your life or something you have struggled with for a long time.