By Zoe Reyes
Are you feeling more stressed, anxious or insecure than you consider normal? At one point or another, most of us do. These feelings can stem from both positive and negative life circumstances. Life circumstances require adjustment and this often increases stress levels until you become accustomed to your new norm. Below are a few examples.
Happy life events that can serve as triggers:
- A new job or promotion
- Moving to a new city
- Becoming a parent
Unhappy life events that serve as triggers:
- Work-related stress
- Family problems
- Relationship issues
Whether the change is positive or negative, it can leave us feeling insecure. Many young professionals have described this as experiencing the “imposter syndrome” in college and/or when adjusting to new roles in the workplace and relationships.
Similarly, a lack of change or stagnation can trigger feelings of stress, anxiety and/or insecurity. Many people feel stuck when they’ve been in the same job or relationship for a long period of time and desire change. The thought of changing such an important part of your life can be frightening because it can become part of how we identify ourselves. The idea of separating from that job or person seems too great of a loss.
In these circumstances, you may have said to yourself, “But I have so many friends and family I can talk to about it.” If you have supportive friends, family or a partner then that is wonderful. It is also true that those close to us are limited in their ability to help us especially when the conflict is with someone in our support network.
Therapy can help you learn to manage stress/anxiety/insecurity by teaching you to:
- Make connections between your thoughts/feelings and behaviors
- Use coping skills to reduce how much stress/anxiety/ insecurity you experience
- Recognize your physical signs of stress such as tension in the jaw, neck/shoulders and back; headaches, dizziness or nausea
- Reward yourself
- Radically accept yourself
- Gain/regain confidence in your abilities
- Set goals in an achievable and healthy way
- Identify/reduce/eliminate triggers that can intensify anxiety such as alcohol, drugs or misuse of prescription medications, caffeine and sugar
As the therapist, I act as a neutral third party to help you look at situations from different perspectives and test out new ways (coping strategies) to manage the problem(s). It is important to understand that anxiety will not completely go away overnight. The good news is that it will get better over time as you practice using coping skills. Taking the step to open up to someone you don’t know might not be easy, but you may find a better and brighter life ahead of you.
Zoe Reyes is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with My Wellbeing who is bicultural and bilingual (English and Spanish). She works with individuals on a wide range of issues that include managing stress, anxiety, depression, family relationships, romantic relationships, work stress and career challenges. She uses an eclectic approach incorporating strategies from psychodynamic treatment and Cognitive Behavior Therapy. She also practices spiritually informed psychotherapy with those who believe it is important to incorporate their spirituality in their journey.
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