6 Surprising Benefits of Therapy for Anxiety

According to reports, 90% of Americans believe we’re facing a mental health crisis. Rates of anxiety and depression have been on the rise for some time, and the pandemic didn’t help. 

Anxiety can be debilitating and challenging to live with, eroding everything from your confidence to your relationships, and even your physical health. The good news is that anxiety is highly treatable.

Yet, only 36.9% of people with an anxiety disorder seek treatment. 

Getting help takes courage. But, the benefits of therapy for anxiety are incredibly valuable. 

Anxiety therapy isn’t just about “having someone to talk to.”

Effective behavioral therapy targets the root cause of anxiety and provides you with a toolbox for when symptoms strike. 

Continue reading to find out 6 surprising reasons why therapy for anxiety can be such a game changer.

1. Enhanced Self-Awareness

One of the biggest overarching benefits of therapy for anxiety is it enhances self-awareness. 

Why is self-awareness important?

Without self-awareness, we’re essentially operating on autopilot. Instead of being able to evolve how we deal with situations and process emotions, we’re stuck in our default reactions to life.

Self-awareness allows us to get outside of ourselves and be able to observe why we feel and act the way we do. This can have big payoffs if you’re dealing with anxiety. 

With enhanced self-awareness, you can gain a deeper understanding of your anxiety patterns, its triggers, and the underlying causes. From this threshold, you can start to shift things. 

For instance, you might start to recognize negative thought patterns. Do you catch yourself engaging in the same type of negative self-talk on a daily basis? 

Let’s say you struggle with social anxiety. After you interact with people, you’re consumed with emotional discomfort, and you feel convinced you said or did something wrong. 

This is one example of a distorted thought pattern that stems from an anxiety disorder. Even though you logically know that you didn’t say anything inappropriate, you can’t stop your mind from feeding you anxiety-inducing thoughts about how you appeared to the other person.

Social anxiety therapy can give you a deeper understanding of why this happens. It can help you identify and challenge any negative and distorted beliefs (i.e., I make people uncomfortable). This is known as cognitive restructuring. 

2. Better Emotional Regulation

Another benefit that a lot of people don’t expect from anxiety disorder therapies is better overall emotional regulation. Anxiety can often lead to intense, almost unmanageable emotions, including:

  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Panic
  • Worry

A big part of anxiety disorder therapy is developing the skills to regulate, process, and express emotions in a healthy way. When these types of emotions do come up, you have a game plan. 

The self-awareness that behavioral therapy develops is also key for emotional regulation. The more self-aware you are, the easier it is to examine your emotions, have compassion for yourself, and understand the root cause.

Once you truly understand why certain emotions are coming up, suddenly you can look at what’s behind them, rather than be swept away by their momentum. 

Not only can this help reduce anxiety, but it can also overflow into other areas of your life. The skills that you learn in anxiety therapy don’t just work for managing anxiety-triggered emotions. 

You can use them in any situation, from feeling disproportionally frustrated in traffic to being annoyed with a loved one. 

3. Better Relationships

Speaking of your loved ones, better relationships can be another unexpected side effect of therapy for anxiety. 

Anxiety can negatively affect relationships in all kinds of ways. The emotions that come with anxiety don’t just affect you, they also affect the people around you.

Even if you try to bottle up the worry, fear, irritability, or anger, people can still sense you’re unhappy. They might even think they are the cause of your emotions. 

Anxiety can also create the need for ongoing reassurance in close relationships. The person struggling with anxiety might be prone to jealousy and fear of losing the other person. The constant need for reassurance can be highly stressful for both people in the relationship. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, anxiety can contribute to avoidant detachment tendencies. This can alienate loved ones and leave them questioning whether their feelings are reciprocated.

Besides helping you deal with emotions, anxiety therapy can also allow you to work on communication skills, boundary setting, and assertiveness. All of which are essential for healthy relationships. 

4. More Confidence

Anxiety can be a confidence killer. Therapy can give you a level of control over your symptoms. This can spill over into many areas of your life, leaving you feeling empowered and able to handle whatever comes your way. 

Do you feel anxiety around anxiety? This is entirely understandable. But it can also be crippling. 

Not being able to answer text messages, enter certain work situations—or go to the store without a sense of dread—can have far-reaching impacts on your life. 

Instead of being a victim of anxiety, therapy can allow you to relax in the certainty that you have the knowledge and tools to deal with situations as they arise. 

5. Therapy for Anxiety Can Trigger Long-Term Improvements

A lot of people seek out therapy for anxiety because of an immediate need. They can no longer handle the feelings of fear, worry, or dread. Or, their symptoms are severely impacting a current situation, such as a relationship or their career. 

But what many people don’t realize is that therapy can have long-term benefits that span your entire life. The self-understanding, communication skills, and emotional regulation techniques can serve you far, far into the future. 

6. Therapy and Your Physical Health

One of the most unexpected benefits of anxiety therapy is that it can have potentially positive impacts on physical health aspects. 

This is because the body is an interconnected system. Mental health and physical well-being go hand in hand and are inextricably linked. 

Science is still uncovering the different ways that anxiety affects the body. But research has already revealed a link between anxiety and increased risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. These risk factors include heightened:

  • Blood pressure
  • Inflammatory markers
  • BMI
  • Blood sugar levels
  • Cholesterol

At the same time, science is also establishing links between happiness and youthfulness. Happy hormones can boost numerous areas, from the health of your skin to your brain, heart, blood pressure, and immune system. 

A happy disposition could even extend your lifespan. 

But here’s the thing. You can’t force happiness. And anxiety isn’t something you can simply “choose” not to feel. 

Instead, you need the right tools in your toolbox so you can understand it and successfully manage the symptoms. 

Are You Considering Therapy for Anxiety?

Therapy for anxiety isn’t just effective for reducing and managing symptoms. It can also have multiple knock-on benefits, from better relationships to increased confidence. It can even lay the ground for better physical well-being. 

Are you looking for the best therapy for anxiety, but are worried about the logistics? 

Everybody deserves to access effective therapy, no matter where they are or how tight their schedule is. 

I specialize in remote anxiety therapy. If you would like to experience the benefits of therapy for anxiety for yourself, book an appointment here. 

About Michael Hilgers, M.MFT

I’m a Licensed Professional Counselor working remotely with clients around the world. I believe that everyone has the potential to change; to create new paths, to go in new directions. Life is hard. Counseling can help.

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