At one point or another anxiety will impact you. Most of us have an experience with anxiety that makes us feel scared and stressed. Anxiety is the body’s emotional and physical response to a stressful situation or anticipation of a real or perceived difficult circumstance.
It’s important to understand that anxiety is largely a physical reaction to a real or perceived stressor. Calming your body down when anxious allows you to engage the coping skills you have at your disposal. When working with clients presenting with anxiety one of the first things we do is focus on techniques to cope through physical exercises such as diaphragmatic breathing or progressive muscle relaxation. After clients possess the skills to calm their bodies down when anxious, we are able to work on the emotional, relational and intellectual aspects of this difficult emotion.
Anxiety can often take the role of a secondary emotion – an emotion that presents itself as an attachment to your primary emotion. For example, if you are feeling sad, lonely, stressed overwhelmed you might get a general sense of anxiety. Knowing that anxiety is sometimes a secondary emotion helps you to know dig deeper to see what is really going on. Addressing the previous emotions in a specific and deliberate manner helps anxiety lessen.