What are 3 Treatments for Anxiety?

Anxiety Treatments

Living with anxiety? You’re not alone

Anxiety can feel like you are being smothered under a blanket of constant worry, stress, and panic. It can seem like your mind magically developed an uncanny ability to imagine everything that could possibly go wrong in life. Individuals living with anxiety disorders can experience symptoms such as debilitating distress, tense muscles, restlessness, dread for the future, and intrusive thoughts. If you have anxiety and are curious about treatment options, this message is for you.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) focuses on identifying and altering unhealthy thought processes. Though we do not always realize it, we have the ability to trigger certain emotions and responses as a result of the thoughts we have. When our thought life is maladaptive, our behavior is likely to follow. Even more importantly, individuals who suffer from anxiety are believed to have an overwhelming amount of maladaptive thought processes known as cognitive distortions. These cognitive distortions wreak havoc on your thought life and create an intensified cycle of doom pertaining to the world around you. It is also common to have specific triggers that send you into a whirlwind of anxiety and panic. CBT helps to identify these triggers so that they can be reframed into a healthier perspective.

Exposure Therapy

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy helps clients confront their fears directly through the support and instruction of a trained therapist. The goal is to identify thoughts or situations that induce extreme anxiety and slowly increase exposure. Therapists will then introduce relaxing exercises that can regulate the nervous system and encourage healthier responses. Direct exposure is physically facing a situation or stimuli that causes anxiety. Imagined exposure involves letting your brain access the dreaded fears that are constantly paralyzing you mentally. I know from personal experience that I can be my own worst enemy in regard to my thought life. It is scary to think of facing the thoughts and situations that hold you hostage, but it is possible with the help of a trained therapist.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness helps you to be present and aware of your surroundings. The goal is for you to reach a nonjudgmental state of being that accepts each moment as it comes. Anxiety is often focused on future events and exaggerated fears that may never come true. When we stop to think about it, does worrying protect us from these scary things? Not at all! Mindfulness helps to reduce ruminating thoughts filled with regrets from the past and fears for the future. By openly accepting and processing our emotions, we are able to discern them in an objective manner. Think of mindfulness as increasing your ability to respond to your environment rather than react.

Next Steps

I know from experience how taxing anxiety can be. At New Vision Counseling and Consulting, we have an understanding team of therapists waiting to connect with you. Your anxiety is as unique as you are and it is important that your treatment is as well. We have helped individuals from all walks of life and desire to meet you where you are. It is time to break free from your anxiety. Whether you are interested in the above therapies, or simply want to speak with a professional, we are here for you can be reached at (405) 921-7776. We look forward to helping you design a life that you are excited to be a part of! A life not ruled by anxiety.

How to Cope with Traumatic Events

What is a traumatic event?

A traumatic event is something that you experience or witness that causes extreme distress in the nervous system, mind, and body. It can result from a violent attack, ongoing mental or physical abuse, the sudden death of a loved one, or even a natural disaster. Despite the specific circumstances, trauma scars you emotionally and can become overwhelming. Traumatic events can be both directly and indirectly experienced. Directly experiencing an event means that you went through it personally or witnessed trauma firsthand. Indirectly experiencing traumatic events could involve hearing about something disturbing or seeing a loved one go through a devastating experience.

Trauma has no specific requirements other than the emotional distress that results. What you find traumatic may not affect another person on the same level, which is okay. Your experiences are your own and how they affect you emotionally is all that matters. Also, I want you to remember that your feelings are valid and you deserve to be comforted and heard.

How do I know I am being affected by trauma?

Traumatic stress can be the result of witnessing or experiencing trauma. This affects your ability to function in daily life and can leave lasting emotional scars. You may be experiencing flashbacks of the disturbing event, which are involuntary memories that cause you to relive the trauma repeatedly. Some flashbacks are so intense that you cannot tell what’s real and what is imagined. It is also common to experience difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite, and feelings of helplessness or extreme anxiety. I know from experience how distressful trauma can be.

If you are like me, I imagine you isolate yourself from others or shut down emotionally when your feelings become overwhelming. This is a normal response that your mind employs to avoid dealing with stressful emotions, but will never truly help you move past the trauma. Keep in mind, the longer you suppress your feelings, the more difficult the road to healing becomes.

How do I cope with trauma?

Coping with trauma can be an intimidating experience. I know that it can be daunting to face your trauma and let the hurt in. But in order to move forward, you must allow your mind and body to process your feelings. Below are some helpful tips to help you cope with your trauma.

  • 1. Find a new routine: Trauma can wreak havoc on the life we once lived. To regain security and normalcy, it is essential to create a new routine and stick to it. Providing your mind and body with stability is vital to healing.
  • 2. Exercise: Make it a point to get moving. Whether you jog through a park, take your dog on a walk, or do cardio at the gym, it is important to stay active. Exercise is proven to release “feel good” endorphins that improve mood and help to release tension in your body.
  • 3. Practice creativity: Painting, coloring, or journaling are just a few of the ways you can keep your mind busy and your body relaxed. Art is a great stress reliever and mood enhancer.
  • 4. Deep breathing: When all else fails, deep breathing exercises help to calm the nervous system and reduce stress. This is especially helpful in the moments when you feel triggered.
  • 5. Seek professional help: I know what it feels like to be surrounded by fear and hurt and have no outlet. Healing is a battle that we often cannot fight alone. If you feel like you are drowning in your trauma and need support, you are not alone. Below are some ways you can contact the New Vision team.

Next Steps

If you are stuck in a nightmare of trauma that won’t seem to end, we have the help you need. Our team of highly trained trauma-informed therapists is available to help guide you toward healing. We will teach you techniques to help you cope with your trauma in the short and long term. At New Vision Counseling and Consulting, we understand how daunting it can be to reach out for help, so we focus on providing you with a safe and caring environment where you can feel comfortable telling us your story. Our therapists are waiting to hear from you! We can be reached by calling (405) 921-7776.

Grief – Biblical Help for Those who are Struggling

What does the Bible say about grief?

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

God is no stranger to grief. He sent His only son to die on the cross for our sins. He knew that Jesus was going to suffer, but He made His death mean something. His life and death both had a purpose. Though it may be close to impossible to see right now, your loved one’s life and death have a purpose in God’s design. That doesn’t mean you see it, agree with it, or even believe that losing your loved one could have a purpose other then heartache.

The great thing about winter is that there is always spring to bring new life. There is a season for everything and the Bible provides knowledge on how to face all the storms of life; including death. You may be staring at an empty chair, or sitting in a quiet house that was once filled with laughter and joy, wondering to yourself; “How do I go on without them?” It’s okay to be mad, devastated, or resentful, even toward God. He often reminds us that the world we live in has fallen and now bad things happen to Godly people on this side of heaven. In this life pain and loss are inevitable, but long term suffering doesn’t have to be. God wants us to cast our cares on the Lord and invite him into the pain. You don’t have to go through this alone.

Temporary pain

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

The world we live in is temporary. It can be easy to become short-sighted and forget that we have everlasting life in eternity. When we lose someone close to us, the last thing we want to think about is waiting to see them again in the future when we too join our heavenly home. If you’re like me, you have probably wished that you could bring someone back, or that the pain of missing them would go away. The pain surrounding death can seem like an ocean. As you look around, there seems to be no end in sight and you may feel like you can’t catch your breath. I am here to tell you that one day, you will catch your breath again.

Process your feelings

“The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down” (Psalm 145:14).

Sometimes when we are hurting or grieving, we stay busy to avoid letting the pain in. The busy fills the empty spaces and helps distract you, if only for a moment, that you are missing your loved one. It can feel impossible to remain still in these moments. You want to avoid reality at all costs, but there is no way around grief. Grief demands to be given time to mourn and then process how to live life in the next season. This journey will look different for everyone, and the way you deal with your grief is a personal choice. Let the hurt in, feel their absence, honor their life. Invite God into your heart and let him help you heal.

Grieve with others

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept (John 11:33-35).

As Mary grieved the loss of her brother Lazarus, others grieved with her. Jesus also grieved his death and felt her pain. It can be helpful to reach out to others who know our struggle. Joining a local bereavement group can help you heal with others who are battling the same storm. You can tell your story, and the story of the one who you lost. This will keep their memory alive and provide you with a safety net of confidants who can support you on your toughest days.

Know that there is still a life worth living

“Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again, and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy” (John 16:22).

It may not seem possible in the current moment, but you will find joy again. Worshiping God through life’s pain can be difficult, but he will restore what was lost. He says he will make all things new. I choose to believe that you will get to be with your loved one again without pain or suffering. But that is in heaven and you are still here. So what do you do? Start by working on accepting the reality that life will be different and adjustments will need to be made. Seek God and He will help you pick up the pieces. Death can shatter lives and devastate beyond belief, but God always comes through. Cast your worries and anxieties on Him. Look for people, activities, time with God and other ways you can reduce the pain and eventually start bringing joy back into your life. Each day will seem impossible, but you will look back and realize that He gave you the strength you needed to make it through. If you or someone you know is struggling with grief, we have the resources and help you need.

Next Steps

At New Vision Counseling and Consulting, we have a team of compassionate and faithful therapists who will guide you through your loss. Many of us have experienced grief and we want to provide you with the comfort you need. Some struggle to cope with loss and this is understandable. Everyone processes grief in their own way. We want to help you find your way as you honor your loved one. Grief is not simple and it can get messy, but we are here to help you make sense of the mess. As faith-based counselors, we will sit with you in your pain. We will create a non-judgemental space for you to grieve. We will be by your side to listen, encourage and guide you into God’s healing in a way that is right for you. We can help you experience hope and love again. The natural next step is to contact us at (405) 921-7776.

Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is an intense fear response that causes the nervous system to go into overdrive. When this happens, the body’s fight or flight response kicks in causing increased heart rate, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, and muscle tension. The normal functions of the mind shut down and all attention is directed toward the experience or thought that initiated hyperarousal. Sometimes, we may not know what triggered our anxiety and that is normal too. When we experience anxiety, our body perceives imminent danger and responds accordingly. Anxiety exceeds the normal stress levels that life inflicts on all of us through common stressors such as finances, relationships, parenthood, and careers. Anxiety can strike without warning or cause. If you feel anxious most of the time on more days than not, it may be a sign that you are suffering from an anxiety disorder.

How does anxiety feel?

Anxiety can make you feel out of control. Like chaos is coursing through your veins and thoughts are flashing through your mind. Your skin may become warm or feel like you’re being poked by pins and needles. You may feel light-headed or experience shortness of breath. Your heart may pound and your muscles may tighten. If you have experienced these symptoms, you are not alone.

Other common symptoms of anxiety:

  • Nausea or heartburn
  • Increased body temperature or flushing of the skin
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred or tunnel vision
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Inability to relax
  • Panic attacks
  • Muscle pain
  • Rumination

What does anxiety look like?

Anxiety looks different for everyone. Some experience intense anxiety surrounding a certain event and others experience a general blanket of anxiety on a constant basis. Generalized anxiety disorder causes the mind to worry about anything and everything. The future may seem hopeless and you may dread normal obligations. You may struggle to get out of bed or frequently miss work. Below we have listed signs that indicate you or someone you love is suffering from anxiety.

  • Flaking out on responsibilities
  • Avoiding certain scenarios or people
  • Not answering the phone
  • Perfectionism
  • Needing to be in constant control
  • Isolating from others
  • Fidgeting or chewing on fingernails
  • Talking fast or not at all

Stress or Anxiety?

You may be asking yourself what the difference between stress and anxiety is. Stress is actually your body’s natural way of dealing with the unknown or alerting you to possible dangers. When we encounter a stressful event, it is normal to become irritable, tense, or restless. Anxiety is stress on steroids and can be difficult to deal with because there is not always a clear-cut cause for the anxiety we feel. Anxiety can be more debilitating and crippling. It can cause a person to never want to leave their house or suddenly quit their job. It exceeds worry and minimizes logical thinking.

Next Steps

The New Vision Counseling and Consulting team is here to empower you. We can provide you with coping strategies and provide you with a safe space to work through your fears. We don’t expect you to know how to solve anxiety on your own and want to meet you where you are. The world and the future can be terrifying, but your anxiety does not have to be. Your anxiety is unique and personal, so your journey to wellness should be too. Whether you just want a trusted individual to vent to, or are in desperate need of therapy, we are your answer. We are waiting to hear your story and look forward to meeting you. If you are ready to break free from anxiety the natural next step is to call (405) 921-7776

Trauma – Helping Friends and Family

Knowing how to support someone you love and care for after they have had a traumatic or terrifying experience can be challenging.

Although it’s normal to want to help someone you care about feel better, it’s crucial to accept the painful reality of what happened. Nothing you say or do in the moment can take away their suffering. However, with enough processing, grieving, and healing over time things can get better. Show compassion, sit with them in their pain without giving unsolicited advice. Your loving presence can comfort them in ways words never could.

Trauma

Offering Support

Asking a family member or friend who has gone through a traumatic event in what specific ways you can support them. There are countless ways to give support. Here are a few ideas.

  • Spend time with your loved ones experiencing trauma. Let them know you are there for them and sit with them as they grieve.
  • Refuse the urge to give unsolicited advice.
  • Don’t take any negative responses to the trauma personally. Their mood can be inconsistent and even aggressive at times. A helpful way to be supportive in these moments is through empathy and trying to understand how stressful such a traumatic experience must be for them.
  • Offer assistance in practical ways that are useful to them such as household tasks, helping with any children such as supervision or school pick-ups/drop-offs and providing meals.
  • Don’t be afraid to prioritize self-care, such as reminding them to drink water, eat or shower. In the same breath, it’s just as important to assist them in avoiding self-destruction, such as engaging in excessive substance use or abuse.
  • One way to provide support is by giving your loved one(s) some space to be alone. This can be challenging but helpful depending on what they need.

How to Talk about Trauma

  • Allow your loved one to talk about what happened, even if they become upset. Focus on listening and validating them. Refuse the urge to jump in and give your opinion.
  • Refuse the urge to pressure them to open up and talk about it. Reassure them that you are there to listen whenever they are ready to open up.
  • If they are not willing to open up to you then ask if there is someone else they may like to talk to. Refuse the urge to take this personally. Remember, you are there to help so try to keep giving them what they need the goal.
  • If time sensitive decisions must be made following a traumatic event, offer help to your loved one. If they accept your help; do your best to guide them to make decisions that reflect their best interest. And make those decisions in a way you feel they would if they were in a different mental state.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • It is highly valuable to do your own research on trauma, distress, and depression. It Is important to understand not only what to expect from your loved one during this time, but also to understand what they may be expecting from you.
  • Allow them to talk when they are ready without added pressure or judgment. Make sure to empathize and allow them to see your tears, your anger in ways that let them know you care and are in this with them. Do not allow yourself to get to the point where they feel the need to care for you. If this happens then it would be good for you to seek help so you can process how the trauma is impacting you.
  • You know your person. Don’t be afraid to offer them support in ways that you know how; in ways that you think they need it. You can do all this remaining respectful to their stated desires and their healing process.

If you have found this to be helpful and would like more help, then there is hope. New Vision Counseling and Consulting is here to help you. We are a team of highly trained therapists who care and will meet you where you are and help you heal and move forward. We start by making your therapy sessions safe and non-judgmental. We walk with you and give you the encouragement and resources to heal and start living again. The natural next step is to reach out by calling (405) 921-7776. We look forward to hearing from you and hope to meet you soon.

Conquering Conflict in your Marriage

Every marriage comes with conflict whether that be problems with money, parenting, expectations, intimacy, or a sin committed by a partner. If you are unable to successfully communicate with one another it might feel as though you are on a merry – go-round, constantly having the same conversations about the same topics.

If this is you I have good news. It’s called speaker-listener technique and it can help. This approach will help you and your partner communicate in a clear and safe way. The goal is for both parties to be able to speak their mind, but also get the chance to genuinely reflect on how their partner is feeling as well.

Facing Conflict

How it Works

This technique is successful because both people get a chance to be the speaker and the listener. Knowing your role will help you stay on topic instead of jumping from one subject to the next. It will also avoid dealing with interruptions, mind-reading, and jumping to conclusions.

Helpful Tip: Hold an object like a pen, phone, or a paper with the rules on them when you are the one speaking. This will help clarify and respect the person expressing their thoughts and feelings.

Speaker Role

When you are the speaker it is important to remember that you are going to get more than one time to talk, so you don’t have to say everything all at once. Set a timer and talk for 3 minutes, making sure to give time to for the listener to rephrase what they hear every 30 seconds or less. This gives the listener a better chance of understanding what you are saying because there is not as much information. When its a really hot topic make sure that the speaker keeps statements brief. And never go on and on or you will likely not be heard and the listener may become overwhelmed.

As the speaker you want to focus on your own actions and feelings, not your partners. A good way to do this is by using “I statements”. Using these statements helps keep the topic on how something is affecting you instead of putting blame on your partner. Here are some examples:

  • I feel frustrated when my feelings are not acknowledged.
  • I felt embarrassed the other night when the topic of my weight came up in front of our friends and was hurt when you told everyone how much I weighed.
  • I don’t feel valued when you are playing games on your phone when I am talking to you.

Listener Role

The biggest role of the listener is to paraphrase what you are hearing from the other person. By paraphrasing your partner will be able to identify if you are following along and understanding what they are communicating to you.

It is not your job to rebut, argue, or state your case when it comes to what your partner is saying. This is not an exercise in forcing you to agree with them but to simply understand them. In relationships so many arguments stem from misunderstandings. You will have time to ask questions and speak your mind when you are the speaker. As the listener, focus on the feelings and concerns of your spouse.

This is just a quick overview to help every couple improve their relationship by teaching them ways to better understand each other. There are so many more nuances we could jump into on how to make this amazing for your relationship, business, friendships… And after all that, there is a need to practice with real topics. This is where so many of us start fighting and need help.

Next Step

If you are having conflicts in your marriage and are looking for a change, New Vision Counseling and Consulting is here to help. We have trained therapists who will help navigate you and your partner through whatever struggles you may be facing. The next natural step is to call us at (405) 921-7776. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

How to Face Trust Issues in Your Marriage

If you are reading this I am going to assume that you and your partner are experiencing trust issues. Trust issues are a common theme throughout relationships and will continue to be a problem until you break the cycle.

In any relationship a person is going to go into it with past insecurities that have stemmed from either former relationships or experiences. Just because they were in the past, doesn’t mean that it won’t affect your current relationship.

Whether the trust problems are created by your relationship or external circumstances and people it is vital to address them. You can start by identifying the insecurities, acknowledge feelings and make apologies and changes where necessary.

How to Face Trust Issues in Your Marriage

Step 1: Address Insecurities

Addressing insecurities is important because you want to be able to understand where your partner has been hurt in the past. Whether that be from you or former relationships. Knowing each other’s insecurities helps you to become more sensitive to future incidents that may hit a painful spot in your partner.

If the insecurities are coming from your relationship it is vital that you confront these or the cycle of mistrust will continue. This is not to put blame or shame on your partner, but to better understand the best ways you both can move forward.

Step 2: Acknowledge Feelings

When a person has insecurities there are going to be feelings associated with those insecurities. For example, that could be shame, embarrassment, sadness, or betrayal. One way you can acknowledge your partner’s feelings is by validating them and paraphrasing what they share back to them. This is called reflective listening.

Example:
Your partner tells you a story about how their mother always used to put them down and embarrass them in front of their friends.

Acknowledging Response:
“It sounds like you felt embarrassed and insecure when your mom would degrade you in front of your friends. That’s why you get emotional with any comments about how you look.”

Step 3: Take Ownership of Your Actions

If the insecurities have to do with something that you have done it is significant to be able to address those and take responsibility. Taking responsibility starts with an apology. Something to remember is that apologies should not include explanations of excuses for your actions.

Even if the insecurities that your partner is facing don’t have anything to do with you, you can still empathize with their struggle. Doing this shows your partner that you have empathy and sensitivity to their situation. You can say something as simple as “I am sorry you had to go through that. You didn’t deserve that.”

Next Step

If you and your partner are facing trust issues in your relationship, at New Vision Counseling and Consulting we are here to help. We have trained therapists who are experts in relationships and can walk you through how to address insecurities, acknowledge feelings, and take ownership of your actions. We can be reached at (405) 921-7776. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety

How does cognitive behavioral therapy work?

Anxiety Treatment

The perception you have of the world is filtered through your own subjective lens. This lens operates by analyzing personal experiences, values, culture, and beliefs to form interpretations of the world around you. This means that each person can experience the same thing and form different feelings and opinions about it. Often, our emotional health is dictated by the health of our thought life. If you have a “glass half empty” outlook, your perception of life will match. Negative thought processes that have taken root can be hard to alter because your subconscious mind begins to automatically filter every experience and thought through this viewpoint. As a result, you may be caught in a cycle of negative thinking that can lead to anxiety and unhealthy behaviors without even realizing it. Cognitive behavioral therapy works by pinpointing negative thought patterns and changing them to reflect a more positive outlook. When the inside thoughts change, the outside actions follow!

How can cognitive behavioral therapy help my anxiety?

Therapists can use cognitive behavioral therapy to help you identify and alter the negative patterns that have kept you trapped in your anxiety. It is difficult to truly change what we do not acknowledge. That is why the first step to cognitive behavioral therapy is taking inventory of your thought life. Once you complete this step you then have the ability to trigger your body and emotions to feel a certain way by the thoughts you have. As a result, behavior follows your lead and you are trapped living a life that prevents you from reaching your full potential!
If you are like me, you have likely experienced intense anxiety about a situation only to find out that it was not as scary as you once anticipated. Anxiety is a normal response to potential threats and warns the body of impending danger, but does not have to control your life or affect your well-being.

Cognitive tips to try at home:

  • Reflective journaling- helps you to identify triggers that lead to unhealthy thoughts and behaviors
  • Forming a contingency plan- creating a plan to help you cope with your anxiety when you are triggered
  • Deep breathing- helps you focus on logic and prevent irrational responses to stressful situations by
  • Meditation- helps increase focus and can relax your mind, body, and soul

These tips are a great way to lessen your mild anxiety symptoms and form healthy habits. However, if you are experiencing severe symptoms that are interfering with your ability to function in your daily life, our therapy team is here to help!

treating anxiety

Next Steps

If you are overwhelmed with anxiety, you are not alone. At New Vision Counseling and Consulting, we have a team of highly trained therapists who are here to help you. We want to walk beside you and guide you through steps you can take to break the chains that anxiety has placed over your life. We thrive on creating a compassionate and understanding environment where you can truly find the freedom to heal. Whether you are interested in trying cognitive behavioral therapy or are not sure what you need, we are here and can help. The New Vision team specializes in forming personalized treatment strategies that fit your needs and lifestyle. We can be reached by calling 405-921-7776. We look forward to hearing your story and cannot wait to meet you!


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