Anxiety Counseling Chicago
By Dr. John Moore
Are you looking for anxiety counseling in Chicago? Have you reached a place where the hustle and bustle of city life has caused you to experience high degrees of stress? Do you feel like the proverbial “hamster on a wheel”, never fully able to pause for a moment and catch your breath? If so, you are not alone. Many of our Chicago counseling clients come to us seeking therapy for anxiety and stress.
Stress Counseling Chicago
In the city of Chicago alone, we have an estimated population hovering around 2.7 million people. With that number of people spread across 237 square miles of land, it is safe to say we are a crowded city. The northside communities of Lakeview, Boystown, Edgewater, Uptown and of course the Gold Coast make up some of Chicago’s densest population centers.
When you have that hundreds of thousands of residents living in such close quarters, it’s bound to drive up personal stress levels. If you have ever tried to take the CTA’s Redline at 7am or hop onto Lake Shore Drive at 8 am, you know exactly what we are talking about. Is it any wonder why we encourage our clients seeking out stress therapy to consider deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation?
What follows are five unique reasons why anxiety counseling helps people in Chicago with stress so they can remain calm. Let’s take a look!
1. Uncover Stress Triggers
One of the biggest ways that counseling helps people in Chicago with stress and anxiety has to do with how the talk-therapy process uncovers your personal stress triggers. Does that sound a bit too “new age” to you? Well, keep an open mind and check out this example.
Let’s say you are running late to work because you are waiting in deep traffic at the corner of Marine Drive and Belmont. The clock is ticking and your anxiety is climbing. “Oh crap – I’m going to miss my 9am meeting!” you say to yourself as you shake your fist in the air at the ocean of cars in front of you. Sound familiar?
Stress counseling can help you to recognize how the act of waiting in traffic gets you riled up. Counseling can also assist you with figuring out new and healthy ways of coping with that stress that don’t involve panicking, freaking out or becoming irritable. More on this in the next point.
2. Identify New Coping Strategies
In a perfect world, none of us would experience any stress. If only the world were perfect. The truth is all of us experience some amount of stress. How we perceive anxiety provoking situations and cope with the stress is another story. For example, if you are feeling stressed out at work because you feel bored or stuck, you may have turned to food as a coping response.
Over the course of time, this causes you to experience problems with self-esteem and self-worth because you have gained unwanted weight and belly fat.
Anxiety counseling can help you to recognize unhealthy patterns when coping with stress. What’s more, it can help you to realize that eating those Chicago-style hot-dogs and downing it with a beer isn’t the best way to bring about relieve. Imagine what it would be like if you were to create new coping strategies, such as getting involved with exercise or mindful meditation? Here are a few more examples on how to lose belly fat using mindful strategies.
3. Set Healthy Boundaries
Say there is one particular family member that you have a hard time being around, such as your drunk grandmother from the Southside who makes a fool of herself each holiday season. Imagine every time you see her, you begin to instantly feel anxious and want to leave the room.
An anxiety therapist isn’t going to offer counseling that suggests you never see her again. More than likely, your therapist will help you to set new boundaries so that being around her is less stressful. For example, what would it be like if you put a time limit on time spent in her presence?
This is what setting boundaries is all about. An anxiety counselor can help provide you with developing newer and more efficient ways to prevent and/or work through stressful moments, regardless of the situation you find yourself in. By the way – the point about the drunk grandmother under this area is an issue that pops up in our counseling offices more than you might think!
4. Reprogram Toxic Thinking
Toxic thinking can really be detrimental to your mental and emotional health in a wide range of different ways. One of the most disastrous qualities of toxic thinking is that it has a tendency to feed off of itself and get worse and worse as time goes on.
One negative thought quickly balloons into a snowball of pure yuckiness, which only serves to generate more and more stress. This in turn leads to more toxic thinking and so on. At some point, the anxiety morphs into depression, rendering you a miserable mess. It can even infect your dreams.
When you work with a therapist who is trained to uncover toxic thinking, you give yourself the chance to reprogram your negative tape. The truth, is, there are several tangible things you can do in the here and now to arrest that cycle of ugly self-talk and create positive change.
Part of this involves elements of cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a kind of anxiety therapy focused on the here and now. You can learn more by reading this post on positive thinking.
5. Enjoy a Happier Life
Finally, the most important benefit of anxiety counseling and the biggest impact that it can have on stress reduction in your life is the ability to live and enjoy a happier life.
Millions of people experience stress and anxiety on a daily basis, but it doesn’t ruin their lives. But how are they able to do it? Do they know some secret that you don’t? The simple answer is no. What they have learned to is to identify their stress triggers and train their brains to better cope with anxiety.
This may come off as easier said than done but that’s essentially how they do it. There’s no magic wand involved here. Part of how they learned to better deal stress (at least for some of them) is through education.
One form of education is talk therapy – a tool that you can use to gain new insight into your own thoughts, which directly relate to your emotions.
Much of what we explored here was Chicago stress and anxiety specific. In truth, a good number of the points discussed could apply no matter where you live – be it Evanston or Tinley Park.
Just for fun, we are putting up a poll that asks you to rate your current level of stress. While the poll is open to all, we would particularly be grateful if you voted as a Chicago resident.