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East Bay Counseling Choices

East Bay
Counseling Choices

(877) 525-6678
(510) 525-6678

Serving Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Castro Valley and other SF East Bay locations

Fears, Anxiety, Chronic Worry and Stress

Fears and Anxiety

When you are confronted with a threat and feel fear, your body mobilizes to cope. Hormones like adrenaline and cortisol flow through your blood stream; your muscles tense for action, and your senses become more alert. A convenient way to understand fear and anxiety is to think of fear as the emotional response to threats happening in the moment and anxiety as the response to dangers you imagine might occur in the future.

There are many sources of real and perceived danger, and there are many manifestations of problematic fear and anxiety.

One example of fear that some experience is panic attacks. For no apparent external reason, our hearts start pounding, our muscles contract, and we become overwhelmed with feelings. Another example of fear is phobias. Common phobias are fear of spiders, air travel, open spaces, public speaking, or germs.

Anxiety is frequent worry or apprehensive expectation that is difficult to control. The specific worries may change, but one worries about something much of the time. Anxiety may interfere with sleep, the ability to concentrate, and can result in muscle tension and fatigue.

The antidotes to fear and anxiety involve regaining your perspective on reality. Our professional counselors help you regain your perspective and reduce your fear and anxiety in a context of safety and support.

Chronic Worry and Stress

When you don't have confidence in your ability to cope with events and situations, difficult feelings can arise: helplessness, anger, frustration, and grief, among others. Under the impact of these stressors, your body becomes tense, your heart rate goes up, hormones flow through your blood stream, and you say, "I'm stressed out". Stress even has an impact on your immune system.

Easing stress involves doing something about this physical reaction. Easing stress can mean taking a walk around the block, gardening, going away for a weekend, yoga, meditation, jogging, anything that helps your body dissipate these effects. It also means taking action to resolve your stressor whenever possible, and learning to let go if there is in reality nothing to be done.

One way to look at worry is as the mind's reaction to the sense of helplessness. You find yourself plagued by repetitive thoughts about what might happen, why things are the way they are, how you behaved, what you are going to do, what you said, what you will say, and on and on.

Worry is an ineffective means of self-soothing. Being caught in worry is like being trapped in a movie theater with the same bad film playing over and over. One way of ending the ruminations is by letting yourself really feel the emotions, difficult as they may be, that are driving the mental static.

Sharing your stress and worries with a trained professional helps them abate. Therapy also helps you develop new ways to self-soothe and healthy ways to relax and manage stress.