What is Anxiety and Depression?
Anxiety disorders are characterized by worried, fearful thoughts, and tense feelings. This is not the same as regular fear - anxiety revolves around a future response to a threat.
On the other hand, depression is characterized by unresolved, long-lasting sadness, you may be experiencing depression. Depressive disorders involve extreme sadness or despair that disrupts daily life, resulting in a lack of focus, feelings of worry and guilt, or even death.
1. Develop new perspectives
Counseling can help develop new perspectives. This strategy is called “perspective taking,” or the ability to see things from another point of view. This can either be a hypothetical perspective or the perspective of someone else.
Developing new perspectives can attest to a calmer mood and better tolerance of others, which can help reduce anxiety and depression. By cultivating new ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving, you can feel less defensive and be prepared for future situations.
In addition, you can improve your relationships by understanding where someone you know is coming from. Perspective taking can help embrace a more diverse and insightful approach to life.
2. Better Coping Strategies
When we’re anxious or depressed, sometimes we turn to unhealthy ways of coping that will ultimately harm us. This includes things such as impulsiveness, binge eating, social isolation, or even more serious matters such as substance abuse.
Ultimately, these kinds of coping methods do not solve anything, and in fact, can worsen your condition. Counseling can help identify your current coping strategies and find better ways to deal with anxiety or depression by addressing the root of the problem.
Proven, effective coping strategies suggested by a counselor are great to add to your “toolbox” for the next time you’re feeling anxious or depressed. You can then check in with your counselor to discuss what strategies worked and what didn’t work.
3. Reflect on “Stuck” Feelings
Oftentimes, people refer to having anxiety or depression as feeling “stuck.” Whether you’re experiencing overwhelming sadness or feeling trapped in a cycle of fear, it’s difficult to shake off. Once you feel stuck, it’s hard to know how or if you’ll ever get unstuck - or ever feel better.
The first step to feeling unstuck is acknowledging your anxiety or depression. Facing the truth can be empowering because once you acknowledge the problem, you can begin to solve it. With counseling, you can start digging deeper and reflect on what’s really causing the issue. Then, slowly, you can begin to feel unstuck.
4. Identify and Manage Triggers
Triggers are anything that elicits an intense or emotional response. While triggers are often a central point of counseling for trauma, it can also apply to counseling for anxiety and depression. For example, someone can experience heightened anxiety at parties or social gatherings - that would be a trigger.
Anxiety and depression can contribute to negative thoughts, which may make identifying and managing triggers difficult. Counseling can help identify and manage triggers through talk therapy, journaling, or other proven methods.
It’s important to be patient with yourself, as your counselor will be patient with you, in exploring what amplified your anxiety or depression in the past, understanding how it affects you today, and managing triggers in the future.
5. Talk through your issues
This may sound simple, but talking through your problems and feelings can be incredibly healing. A licensed counselor or therapist will allow you to talk and listen to you without any judgment or inhibitions.
Individual counseling for anxiety or depression involves talking one-on-one with a therapist or counselor. You’re allowed to talk, shout, cry, or even just think.
By talking things out, counseling helps guide you to answers to problems. While talking therapy may not make your problems disappear, this approach can make them easier to handle, as well as make you feel happier.
6. Create a Support System
With counseling, you’re not facing anxiety or depression alone. A counselor is there to support and guide you through anxiety and depression. You can always go to your counselor with any questions or concerns.
Counseling sessions are always a safe space. As per HIPPA, everything you discuss with a counselor is completely confidential and will not be shared with anyone.
7. Improve Overall Well-being
Mental health is connected to physical and emotional health. Improving one facet of your health contributes to your overall well-being.
Reduced anxiety and depression leads to more energy, improved focus, increased appetite, regulated heart rate, and better sleep. These are just some of the benefits that you’ll see physically in mitigating your anxiety and depression.
If you’re experiencing severe physical symptoms, it may be best to consult a doctor or see a psychiatrist to prescribe appropriate medication and/or additional treatment.
Start Counseling for Anxiety and Depression Today
Are you ready to take the next steps to conquer anxiety and/or depression? Get in touch with Bright Future Counseling with Valinda Harlan (LMHC, LPC, LPCC), located in Vancouver, Washington. Call 360-831-2345 to begin your counseling journey today!