What is Anxiety?
Despite its reputation, anxiety is actually a normal, healthy response to stress. For centuries, it has helped us react to threats, keeping us safe.
However, some people may experience anxiety more frequently or intensely than others. When nervousness, fear, and/or worry become a regular part of your life, it can be helpful to seek treatment.
Currently, about 40 million people in the United States cope with chronic anxiety. The good news is that healing is possible, and there are many heavily researched therapies that can help.
How Can I Treat It?
Therapies like Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Brainspotting target the exact spots in your brain that are activated when you feel anxious. These therapies, which require minimal talk, are efficient ways to process through anxieties, including phobias, safely.
Neurofeedback tracks the brain’s activity levels, noting when you become more anxious. It uses positive sensory feedback like sounds and images to reward your brain when you display desired behavior, like lower activation in the face of situations that normally cause worry. Many people enjoy Neurofeedback because even though it is rooted in advanced neuropsychology, it often feels as simple as playing a video game or watching TV.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is one of the most widely recognized evidence-based methods used to treat anxiety. It focuses on challenging unhelpful thoughts (“I’m not safe”) and behaviors (avoiding social situations to avoid fear or panic) and developing healthy, adaptive coping strategies. If you feel like your anxiety is affecting your ability to complete daily tasks, this could be the right method for you.
Mindfulness is another widely recognized form of anxiety treatment. It involves bringing your attention to the present moment and the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that you are feeling without judgment. It can include meditation, but many people practice mindfulness in other ways, like body scans, sensory engagement (eating, creating art), or other activities.
Yoga, somatic experiencing, and other body-based therapies hone in on how we feel and carry worry in our bodies. Breathing, movement, and posture are all factors that may be explored. This is a great approach for those who prefer less verbal and more physically engaging forms of treatment.
Our team has written a number of pieces on anxiety, healing, and more. Check out some of on the righthand side of the page!
The Resilient Brain Project
You can find free mental health tools like apps, interactive games, videos, blogs, and more in our online resource library, the Resilient Brain Project. Tools include:
- Calming exercises you can practice in crowded places
- Sensory tricks to soothe feelings of worry
- A short film about panic attacks
- A podcast covering everything from breathing techniques to dissociation
- Organizations that support people with anxiety across the world