Anxiety is Normal

Anxiety is Normal, three question marks

Anxiety is Normal

All of us experience varying degrees of anxiety at times, sometimes to unmanageable degrees. Work, kids, friendships, finances, and our spouses are just some examples of what bring on anxiety. Anxiety can make us uncomfortable, apprehensive, and give a sense of being fearful and agitated. Any or all of these may be  symptoms of anxiety. It is normal and even helpful for us to experience anxiety, as it usually tells us that it is time to consider making a decision or make a change that has been pending for some time.

What is referred to as an “anxiety attack” is different from the usual daily level of anxiety we all experience. An anxiety attack is the sudden onset of debilitating fear and discomfort that has real physical, emotional, and even spiritual impact. An anxiety attack can leave you paralyzed and exhausted. People who experience anxiety attacks are not making it up. They are real. People who have anxiety attacks need to seek help from a mental health provider and often a medical professional as well.

When high anxiety becomes a recurring and overwhelming experience, it’s time to make an appointment to see a therapist. A mental health professional can help ease the anxiety itself, ease the impact on your ability to enjoy life, and help reduce the number and frequency of recurrences.

How do you know when it’s time to seek out a mental health professional? If you have anxiety attacks, or if high levels of anxiety persist over time or recur enough to interfere with your enjoyment of life, it may be time to see a mental health professional. In dealing with anxiety, the experience of the therapist matters. This is why at CenterLife Counseling, we encourage potential clients to ask about the experience of therapists when they call.

A few simple insights can help put anxiety into perspective.

First, the idea that life can always be in “balance” and without anxiety is a myth.  Many things compete for our attention, and we are not able to give equal attention to everything in our life. We make choices about what is important at any given time in our lives. We all have multiple roles: spouse, parent, employee, child, friend, and many more. All of them call upon our energy and attention. Circumstances will demand that we make choices, and we all will experience a certain level of anxiety when we make such choices. In other words, manage your expectations. Anxiety may find you, however, experiencing anxiety is not always an indication that you have done something wrong or made the wrong choices.

Second, anxiety impacts our sense of control over our lives. Persistent and/or recurring high levels of anxiety are exhausting and overwhelming.

We can feel that we have lost control of our lives.

We get paralyzed by that sense of “out of control” that anxiety can generate.

We compare ourselves with friends or family that appear to “have it all together.”

Comparing is not helpful because it is simply not based in reality. Everyone has that “out of control” feeling at times. It sounds trite, but when anxiety brings on that “out of control” and “I am paralyzed” feeling, take a deep breath! Really, slow your breathing down, and focus on your physical awareness: “Where am I right now?” “Can I feel the ground under my feet; the chair under me?” Then move to: “What is first, and what is second?” to give yourself perspective on what is actually in your control right now.  Break it down to taking one small step at a time. If that does not work, reach out to somebody (a friend and/or a professional), and talk through what is happening. Just don’t keep facing recurring high anxiety alone.

Lastly, make a list, either in your head or on paper, of what is currently making you anxious.

Ask yourself three questions:

  1. What on this list is mine to solve or do?
  2. What is not mine?
  3. Which of these can I actually do something about, and which is beyond me?

Only take on what is yours and what you can do something about. Let go of the rest. Again, if the level or frequency of high levels of anxiety stops you from facing those questions, it’s time to ask for help from a friend, a professional, or both.

A certain degree and pattern of anxiety is normal, so expect to be anxious at times. Accept that you actually need that in your life to motivate growth and change. Learn to recognize anxiety that is either a situational anxiety attack and/or is frequently recurring and is at a destructive level, indicating that you may need help from outside, such as from friends and/or a professional. Only take on anxiety-inducing problems and issues that are properly yours and that you can influence, but don’t always do it alone.

Anxiety is normal, & we can help. Call us today. 

Fill out our online form, email or call one of our locations:

Centerville, MN 
7039 20th Avenue S
Centerville, MN 55038

Phone: 651.288.0332
Fax: 651.288.0493

White Bear Lake, MN
4444 Centerville Road, Suite 235
White Bear Lake, MN 55127

Phone: 651.289.3111
Fax: 651.289.3113

Our dedicated staff of experienced professionals is here to work with you. We want you to feel comfortable and safe when you’re visiting with us, so we would like to introduce ourselves to you. As you consider selecting someone to schedule with, we encourage you to read through several bios to find the therapist who may be the best match for you.