Is it necessary to go to psychotherapy to manage anxiety?

Most everyone, at some point in their life, suffers from excessive anxiety.

Sometimes it’s more stress that arises when facing a specific challenge that we face at home or at work, such as meeting a productivity goal in the office or coordinating a series of household chores to complete during the day. In other cases it is an anxiety which keeps us alert without knowing very well why, a discomfort with diffuse causes and which seems to serve as an excuse to worry us and with the accelerated pulse.

However, while all of these types of experiences are relatively common, the most common is that those who suffer from it in their daily life do not seek psychotherapeutic help. Is it a problem? Let’s see.

    Is it necessary to go to the psychologist in the seasons when one suffers from anxiety?

    First of all, it should be noted that anxiety itself is not necessarily a bad thing, Or an experience that should worry us when it affects us directly. In fact, all healthy people are prone to anxiety relatively often: it is a phenomenon that is part of the basic emotional states of human beings, and if it exists, it is because it has caused us. helped to survive for millions of years.

    Thanks to her, we can adopt high sensitivity to risks and dangers and react in time to avoid direct or indirect damage: It is part of such an important adaptive mechanism that it appeared long ago in the evolutionary lineage that reaches us, and is in fact present in virtually all vertebrate animals (and possibly many invertebrates as well).

    Thus, it is more helpful to understand that anxiety problems are in a relative sense: what needs to be corrected is the excess anxiety and the way we deal with it, not the presence of anxiety. In fact, if we try to “eliminate” the anxiety that we feel, we will become frustrated and therefore feel even more anxious.

    This is already giving clues as to whether it is still a problem not to go to the psychologist when we notice that we have an anxiety level that remains relatively stable for a while. The key is not to identify the presence of anxiety in us, but to determine if it is affecting our quality of life. in a significative way.

    In other words, the criterion for deciding to go to therapy must be based not on the qualitative knowledge that we experience anxiety or not, but on the quantitative: is it sufficiently intense or constant to take us away from the true good- to be? He believes that psychotherapy lasts for several weeks and is generally seen as a way to overcome problems which, if not treated by specialists, may continue to affect you in the medium to long term.

    If you feel that this is not the case for you, you can always learn some tips for dealing with anxiety on your own.

    And what about anxiety disorders?

    It’s true that it’s not all about having a lot of or a little anxiety. After all, there is something called anxiety disorders, which are psychopathologies in which anxiety and stress compromise mental health. of the person who suffers from it (and by extension, also of their physical health).

    However, from the perspective of someone who is considering going into psychotherapy or not and who has no background in psychotherapy or psychiatry, it is best not to become obsessed with these concepts. Mental health professionals diagnose psychological disordersAnd, in general, we should not become obsessed with these “labels” used in clinical psychology and limit ourselves to valuing our own satisfaction with life and how anxiety influences it or not.

    Establish the degree of discomfort due to anxiety

    Check out these guidelines to determine if you need psychological help. in the face of anxiety:

    • Does the way you try to relieve anxiety (binge eating, hair pulling, smoking …) hurt you?
    • Does anxiety stay high enough for several hours at a time?
    • Do anxiety spikes make you notice that you are losing control of your body?
    • Does anxiety go hand in hand with disturbing thoughts or even suicidal thoughts?
    • Does anxiety make you find it difficult to avoid certain normal everyday situations?
    • Are you having very intense physical symptoms from anxiety?

    What can I do if it doesn’t pay me to go to therapy yet?

    If you think that anxiety is not hurting you enough to go to psychotherapy, you can always try to apply some psychological keys on your own which, although much less effective than professional accompaniment to consult a psychologist, can help you. Here are some examples of these recommended habits and behaviors.

    1. Live a healthy life

    The better you are physically, the less likely you are to suffer easily from high levels of anxiety.. Above all, give it a lot of importance on getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet that provides you with all the vitamins and macronutrients you need.

    2. Don’t try to block the discomfort

    As I argued earlier, trying to keep anxiety from entering our mind is totally counterproductive. It is better to practice acceptance and let go of total and absolute control over what is going on in your consciousness, and instead focus on directing your attention to things that are satisfying or stimulating.

      3. Get aerobic exercise

      Aerobic exercise is a big help to prevent and combat anxiety, both by releasing hormones linked to physical activity and by inducing you to a mental state in which you must focus your attention on immediate goals and sensations associated with it, so that the intrusive thoughts that were bothering you will weaken and you will be able to “disconnect”.

      4. Plan your hours well

      The tendency to waste time and postpone responsibilities is a great source of anxiety, and in an age when the digital world constantly exposes us to distractions, it is very common to fall into these kinds of mistakes. To avoid such situations, creates detailed schedules that include breaksSo you can meet them and be realistic (so you can engage more with them).

      5. Train

      There are slightly more elaborate techniques and strategies that can help you deal with moderately high levels of anxiety in your daily life, and in that sense courses and workshops focused on this area of ​​emotional management can help. .

      If you want to start a course on this topic, I invite you to participate in the online course that I teach on the basis of my more than 25 years of experience as a psychologist: “Anxiety Management”. You can contact me to receive more information on this and other training programs.

      Bibliographical references:

      • American Psychiatric Association -APA- (2014). DSM-5. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Madrid: Panamericana.
      • Gottschalk, MG; Domschke, K. (2017). Genetics of generalized anxiety disorder and associated traits. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience. 19 (2) ,: 159 – 168.
      • Hofmann, SG; Dibartolo, PM (2010). Introduction: Towards an Understanding of Social Anxiety Disorder. Social anxiety.
      • Kasper, S .; Boer, JA and Sitsen, JMA (2003). Handbook of Depression and Anxiety. New York: M. Dekker.
      • Valent, C., Vázquez, C., Peinado, V., Contreras, A., Trucharte, A., Bentall, R., and Martínez, A. (2020). VIDA-COVID-19. National study representing the responses of Spanish citizens to the Covid-19 crisis: psychological responses. Preliminary results. Symptoms of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress on COVID-19: prevalence and predictors (Technical report 2.0. 2020.05.02). Complutense University of Madrid and University of Sheffield.

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