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4 Effective Ways to Deal With Anxiety

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Anxiety is a common reaction to stress and often, it’s short-lived and relatively harmless. Yet, when it becomes persistent and disruptive, it’s time to pay attention.

Most people are familiar with exercise or therapy services when it comes to coping with anxiety. While helpful in their own right, these methods are not always immediately accessible at the exact moment anxiety strikes.

That said, here are a few effective anxiety management tips you can incorporate starting today.

Practice Guided Imagery

Anxiety can take a hold of your mind, leading to a whirlwind of worries about the past or future. One way to manage these anxious thoughts is through guided imagery, or using your imagination to take you to a place of comfort and safety. When anxiety strikes, close your eyes and picture yourself somewhere that brings you joy. Maybe you’re in this place with a specific person that you feel comfortable with.

Try to picture as many details as you can. Think of things you hear around you or feel.

For example, if your happy place is on a beach, imagine yourself there. Think about how the sand feels underfoot you and the warmth of the sun on your skin. Do you hear waves crashing to shore? Are there birds chirping above? Can you smell the saltiness of the ocean?

By immersing yourself in comforting imagery, your brain responds positively, directing your mind away from an anxious spiral and offering relief.

Try Diaphragmatic Breathing

Anxiety can disrupt your normal breathing pattern, which indicates that your autonomic nervous system — the system responsible for involuntary processes like breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure — is experiencing stress.

When you’re feeling anxious, shift your focus to your breath. One thing you can try is the 4-7-8 breathing technique. This technique has roots in the yogic practice of pranayama, which involves intentional breath work. To start, get comfortable and close your eyes. Then:

  1. Inhale through your nose for four counts.
  2. Hold your breath for seven counts.
  3. Exhale through your mouth for eight counts.

This activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps to trigger a calming effect, informing your mind and body that you’re safe.

Perform Light Stretching

An anxious mind often comes with a tense body. To help combat this, address as much of that tension as you can.

Start by noticing the area(s) you feel are carrying extra tension and do some light stretching that targets those points. The jaw, neck, shoulders, and back are common areas that hold anxious tension.

Try to release your jaw and let your mouth hang open. Relax your tongue. Slowly circle your head around clockwise and then repeat counterclockwise. Roll your shoulders forward and back. Do some forward and side to side bends.

When your body releases some of this tension, your mind typically follows suit.

Bonus: Evaluate Your Sleep Routine

Stress often disrupts sleep, and a lack of sleep can further fuel anxiety and affect your overall well-being. Assess your current sleep situation and work to improve your sleep routine, focusing on quantity, quality, and consistency.

Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Even if you feel you can function on less sleep, the human body has specific needs for rest and recovery.

If you’re sleeping the right amount, but still feel fatigued when waking up, you may not be getting quality rest. Try optimizing your sleep environment to promote restorative rest — limit technology use before bed and monitor temperature and lighting in your bedroom for ultimate comfort.

Finally, consistency is key. Getting eight hours of sleep only twice a week isn’t going to make up for the other nights where you sleep less. Aim to get the same amount of sleep each night, both on weekdays and weekends.

Have you tried some of these methods but still find yourself struggling to get your anxiety under control? We can help. Contact us to schedule an appointment today or learn more about CBT for anxiety.

Frequently Asked Questions

Evidence-based therapy involves interventions that are scientifically proven to be effective for particular issues. In this approach, a strong partnership based on trust and collaboration is formed between you and your therapist. Within this supportive and unbiased environment, you can freely express yourself without fear of judgment. Over a series of sessions, you and your therapist will work together to address obstacles and set goals aimed at personal growth and fulfillment. This method ensures that the techniques and strategies used are not only supportive but also empirically validated to help you achieve your therapeutic goals.

The Bay Area CBT Center provides therapy services for everyone, from children to adults, and welcomes individuals, couples, and groups. We help with various concerns like anxiety, depression, trauma, relationship issues, and behavior challenges. We value diversity and cultural differences, offering personalized and culturally sensitive care to each client.

Studies show that the bond between you and your therapist, known as the therapeutic alliance, is a key factor in treatment success. This alliance is characterized by the strength of your relationship and how well you both agree on treatment goals. Research indicates that individuals with a solid therapeutic alliance experience better treatment outcomes including greater productivity at work, more satisfying relationships, improved stress management, and decreased engagement in risky behaviors.

You can expect a 15-30 minute phone call with our care coordinator, who is extensively trained in ensuring the perfect match for you. During this conversation, our matching expert will collaborate with you to understand your therapy needs, preferences, and scheduling availability. This discussion builds upon the information you provided during sign-up and offers an opportunity for you to address any personal questions or concerns you may have about therapy or our services at The Bay Area CBT Center. Following your conversation, we’ll pair you with the therapist who best aligns with your needs, goals, and preferences.

At your matching appointment, we will match you with a therapist specifically chosen for you and schedule your first session. Depending on your availability, you can expect to meet your therapist anywhere from one day to a week after this appointment.

Our approach to therapy includes a flexible hybrid model, blending both online and face-to-face sessions. This option is perfect for clients situated close to our clinics in the Bay Area who prefer the flexibility of choosing between virtual consultations or meeting their therapist in person. Our aim with hybrid care is to ensure every client is matched with the ideal therapist and therapy environment, be it from the convenience of your own home or in one of our clinics.

At the Bay Area CBT Center, we accept PPO insurance plans that allow you to use out-of-network providers. This means if your insurance plan is a PPO and it includes mental health benefits, you could get back some or all of the money you pay for our services, depending on what your insurance company allows. When you see one of our therapists, they’ll give you a superbill. You can send this superbill to your insurance company to ask for reimbursement. If you’re not sure if your insurance covers services from providers not in their network, it’s a good idea to give them a call and check.

You may be eligible to have 60-80% of your costs covered by out-of-network benefits.

Also, if you have an FSA (Flexible Spending Account), you can usually use it to pay for individual counseling sessions. It’s wise to double-check with your FSA provider or talk to your accountant to make sure that counseling sessions are considered an allowed expense.


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