Therapy Blog for Orem, Spanish Fork & South Jordan

Anxiety: How Therapy Can Help

Anxious Thoughts

Performing anxiety counseling over the years, I’ve noticed that clients anxiety comes in many forms. One of the most common ways in your mind – what you think. You become anxious and start thinking anxious thoughts. When this is the case, challenging thinking errors or other cognitive distortions can be helpful. Although it is difficult to change long held beliefs and core value, it is important to try for your emotional health. This goes beyond breathing techniques, that can also be helpful.

Anxious Emotions

Another way anxiety shows up is in your heart. This is where you feel worry, doubt, concern, fear or other uncomfortable emotions. When this is the case you want to take a look to see if this anxiety is a secondary or primary emotion. Sometimes anxiety is a secondary emotion – an emotion that is covering up what is really going on. Your other emotions that are primary, underlying, anxiety in this case. So, dig deeper. Sift through the anxiety you feel so that you can uncover your primary emotions. Then you can feel and cope with them.

Anxiety in this case is distracting you from them. For example, let’s say that you are feeling nervous about a presentation, scared about the feedback you will get, overwhelmed with your to-do list, sad about your dog dying and many other emotions. Anxiety can show up to cover up all of those different emotions because it is just too much. That is a secondary emotion. Although anger is the most common secondary emotion, anxiety can also be one.

What To Do With Anxiety

When anxiety is a primary emotion pick it up, feel it and cope with it. For example, if you are anxious about a social event tonight, recognize that you are anxious and let yourself feel it. Then you can cope with it. In this case, your anxiety is primary. You have a specific circumstance you are anxious about. It is not a blanket emotion covering up others.

A good counselor can help you see the difference between anxiety as a secondary emotion or as a primary emotion. We have many competent counselors in our Orem, American Fork, Spanish Fork and South Jordan therapy offices.

Written by Triston Morgan, PhD

Lauren Adkins

Writer for the Center for Couples and Families


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