• Emily Stetzer / 0 comments

Ever wondered why therapy tools disappear in the face of anxiety? We did.

In our journey living with OCD and anxiety, my sister Lindsay and I have encountered countless challenges. Despite arming ourselves with an array of coping mechanisms and insightful tools from therapy sessions, there's a stark reality we've come to understand: when anxiety hits hard, applying these tools can feel next to impossible.

Anxiety has a way of hijacking our thoughts and emotions, plunging us into a spiral where rational thinking becomes clouded.

In those chaotic moments, trying to grab hold of our coping tools feels like searching for a lifeline in the middle of a storm. The calming mantras and strategies we learned in therapy suddenly seem out of reach.

So, why does this happen?

The sheer intensity of anxiety is a tough opponent. It fills our minds with fear and worry, making it hard to find the clarity needed to use our therapy techniques.

With anxiety’s racing thoughts and physical symptoms, it’s no wonder we struggle to access the tools we've worked so hard to practice.

Here are 5 reasons you may struggle to apply therapy tools during moments of intense anxiety:

  1. Overwhelming Emotions: High anxiety can flood your mind with intense emotions, making it difficult to think clearly and remember therapeutic strategies. When you're in the midst of a panic attack or a high-stress situation, your brain's fight-or-flight response can take over, sidelining rational thought and learned techniques.

  2. Physical Symptoms: Anxiety often comes with physical symptoms like a racing heart, sweating, or shortness of breath. These physical sensations can be so overwhelming that they distract you from using the coping mechanisms you've learned in therapy. It's challenging to focus on mental exercises when your body feels out of control.

  3. Negative Thought Spirals: During high anxiety, your mind can get caught in negative thought loops, making it hard to access more balanced or positive perspectives. These spirals can reinforce feelings of helplessness and make it difficult to apply cognitive restructuring techniques.

  4. Impatience for Immediate Relief: When anxiety is intense, there's a natural desire for immediate relief. Techniques learned in therapy often require practice and time to be effective, but during an anxiety episode, you might feel too desperate for quick fixes to stick with these methods.

  5. Lack of Practice Under Stress: Techniques taught in therapy are often practiced in a calm, controlled environment. Applying these strategies in real-life high-stress situations requires practice and gradual exposure. Without enough practice in progressively more stressful situations, it can be difficult to remember and apply these techniques when anxiety is at its peak. 


So, what can we do?

In response to these challenges, we've created Presently, a line of bracelets engraved with CBT-inspired reminders.

These bracelets serve as tangible prompts of our therapy tools, designed to be worn daily as a source of comfort and grounding.

When negative thoughts begin to overwhelm, a glance at our wrists reminds us to pause, breathe, and engage in practices that help us face anxiety.

Take the quiz to find the best reminder for your anxiety.



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