In psychotherapy, hope represents the capacity of patients to identify strategies or pathways to achieve goals and the motivation to effectively pursue those pathways.Read More
Check out this great episode of The Cut, where they tackle anxiety and what it looks like for various guests of the podcast.
Making new friends as a kid was simple and easy. You didn’t have to think about conflicting schedules or the awkwardness of getting to know someone. You played and spent time together just for fun. As adults, we often think that friendships from our youth can never be replicated as we get older. It’s true that the element of time can be missing from new friendships, but they are, nevertheless, valuable and don't need to be decades old to be powerful.
Yet making friends as adults seems to be really tough. We are afraid of getting hurt or wasting our time. We use excuses, like being too busy, to convince ourselves that a new friendship isn’t worth the effort. It takes energy and work to create and sustain a friendship. To do this, we are required to be vulnerable and take a leap of faith. That's hard! We've had our share of hurt and disappointments, so we are cautious. More often than not, we let a potential friendship fizzle because of fear. Making friends is like dating- you'll need to put yourself out there and go on a 100 "dates" before you find someone who is compatible. You need to be prepared to experience frustration, excitement and maybe a bit of anxiety.
Yes, the fear of all of these emotions are real and can sometimes prevent us from pursuing new networks of support. In Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, we work together on challenging the beliefs that inhibit you from trusting or cause you to avoid any situation where you might be disappointed. You have the ability to cope with a friendship that doesn’t work out in such a way where you aren’t paralyzed from pursuing a new one.
When your definition of and expectation for a friendship is flexible, there is less at stake. New friendships don't have to be deep or super meaningful. You can foster genuine friendships by putting in some effort, like making concrete plans (not "oh, we should get together some time") to do something you both enjoy or connected on. Be interested and curious! You'll have to give before you get, but it'll be worth it to make a new friend.
Anxiety is a complicated series of emotions that manifest in physical, emotional and behavioral symptoms. We all feel anxious and worried from time to time. Anxiety is normal and was designed by evolution to keep us aware and consider consequences/outcomes. Really, it boils down to how frequent, intense and out of proportion the feelings of anxiety are related to a specific event. If you’re unsure, going to therapy is the best way to get a professional take on what might be happening. You can learn effective coping skills and evidence based practices to help alleviate daily stress. In therapy, we work on unconditional acceptance of ourselves, others and the world around us. We learn that we have quite a lot of control over our anxieties. Part of that process is understanding the unrealistic expectations we put on ourselves and others.
It can be tough asking for help even without having anxiety! But for those who experience daily anxiety, tack on fatigue, worry and apprehension about asking for help. There is still a lot of stigma around caring for our wellness and mental health. Here in the U.S., hard work, little sleep and ‘well-roundedness’ are highly valued. Anything that gets in the way of achieving those goals is considered weakness and a personal fault, making it even more difficult to ask for help.
But reaching out is super important. When anxiety takes over, it is very hard to get out of your own head and negative self-talk. This makes it harder to objectively see what is happening and inhibits examining the anxiety. Asking for help can provide you with multiple alternatives and points of view and, of course, professional support.
The most accessible way to get extra support actually comes from you by learning to say ‘no’ to others and yourself. Saying no to others can sometimes be easier than saying no to yourself. The “shoulds” we put on ourselves- I should be more productive today, I should take on this extra project at work and so on- contributes to over-exertion. Saying ‘no’, although can sometimes be uncomfortable and out of character, is a wonderful, free, inadvertent way to alleviate anxiety. Not like you? Try it for a week and see if it makes a difference!