Anxiety is normal and can even be helpful at times. Like other emotions, anxiety and fear serve adaptive purposes, at reasonable levels. They motivate us to prepare for difficult undertakings such as tests or presentations. They help us perform well. They help notify us of potential dangers in our environment and enable us to plan for safety.

For many, however, anxiety does not feel helpful. It doesn’t appear in temporary circumstances to help improve performance or escape danger. For some, anxiety is constant. Worrisome, racing thoughts (e.g., overthinking situations or imagining fearful outcomes), physiological agitation (e.g., feeling tense and restless), difficulty sleeping, irritability and other symptoms of anxiety can have a negative impact on important areas of life, including work, school, and relationships.

Intense anxiety can be related to specific things or situations, such as performing, social interaction, animals, cleanliness and other items or actions.  Anxiety can also be more general or diffuse, regarding most situations or interactions. Anxiety can become so intense that people experience panic attacks, involving sudden episodes of intense fear that may be accompanied by sweating, heart palpitations, trembling/shaking, loss of breath/choking, tightness in the chest and thoughts of impending doom or being out of control.  Panic attacks are often accompanied by fears of dying and fear of more attacks. Sometimes people develop cognitive or behavioral rituals such as hand washing, checking, or counting, erroneously believing that certain actions can prevent bad things from happening. In all cases, symptoms can become so debilitating that people significantly restrict their activities, sometimes to the point of never leaving home.

Internal psychological processes and genetic, environmental, nutritional, sleep-related, and physical health factors can all contribute to anxiety.  Approximately 22% of people will meet criteria for an anxiety disorder each year, and 31% of people will meet criteria for an anxiety disorder at some point in their lifetime.

Whatever form your anxiety takes, it can feel frightening and unbearable.  At Chrysalis we’d like to help you better understand your fear and its intended communication. We can help you adjust perceptions when necessary and feel more capable of working in collaboration with your emotional experience.  Your fear and anxiety have something important to offer when they’re not disproportionate and coming at you unpredictably and from all directions.  Your emotional experience shouldn’t be an enemy that you constantly battle, but rather a known companion who offers you a deeper sense of connection to yourself.   At Chrysalis, we are here to help you manage what feels unmanageable, and use it to your advantage for improved focus and direction in your life.