Racing thoughts, feelings of overwhelm, rapid heartbeat, trouble sleeping, excessive worry, irritability … these are some of the common symptoms of anxiety.

To a certain extent, everyone experiences anxiety and it can actually help keep safe and protected from dangerous situations. But when anxiety starts to interfere with your daily life and is no longer helpful, it may be time to ask for help.

One way to understand how anxiety works is through an example using cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT.

Start by imagining a situation or trigger. We will have some thoughts or interpretations to the situation, which lead to feelings or moods. These moods impact how we behave or act in certain situations. All of these thoughts, feelings, and actions impact how our bodies react.

Situation:

Giving a presentation in front of colleagues

Thoughts:

What if I forget something?

I should have prepared more

I will probably stumble over my words

Body sensations:

Fast heart rate

Difficulty breathing

Sweaty and shaky hands

Emotions: 

Anxious

Stressed out

Fearful

Behaviours: 

Rushes through the presentation

Forgets some content due to racing thoughts 

Learning and applying the tools of different therapeutic approaches to our daily lives can help us identify negative thought patterns, choose balanced thoughts, and understand the root causes of our symptoms. Working to heal the root and not just what we see on the surface is what will lead to healthy thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.

 

It is not only about thinking differently but also feeling differently.