Anxiety and Stress

Holistic therapy for anxiety, stress and chronic worry

Anxiety comes in many forms. It shows up as excessive worry and looping thoughts, panic attacks, physical symptoms, or a general sense of unease. Stress and anxiety are epidemics of our time, especially in cities like San Francisco where sudden economic and population density changes have created overwhelm for many people. Most of us have too much to do in our days and weeks, and so many facets of life to make time for.

When life feels generally calm and stable we can cope well with the occasional stressful event and then return to a state of well-being. However, when we experience frequent stressful events or a sustained stressor, it can overwhelm our ability to cope over time, which can lead to anxiety.

Sustained anxiety often results in feeling drained or exhausted but wired. This is due to stress hormones that flood the body and the mental fatigue of a mind that is working non-stop. Anxiety can become debilitating and affect our ability to enjoy life. It can lead to irritability, anger, and self-criticism. Although anxiety feels like it’s outside of your control it is very possible to manage and overcome it.

Signs and symptoms of anxiety

  • Sleep interruption due to repetitive thoughts or physical anxiety
  • Imagining worst-case scenarios, “what-ifs”
  • Irritability and lack of patience for self or others
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Physical tension or feeling keyed up

Anxiety from avoidance of emotions

We can also feel anxiety when we repress emotions. If we’re afraid of certain feelings or doubt our ability to handle them, we can disconnect from them in an attempt to protect ourselves. The emotions are still there, but what we feel instead is the conflict we have with them – this is often felt as free-floating anxiety.

What you can do about anxiety and chronic stress

There are lifestyle changes you can make to reduce anxiety and increase your resilience to stress. This takes commitment over time but focusing on the following areas can lead to significant improvements:

  • The importance of sleep, nutrition, and exercise to support your physiology
  • Mindfulness and breathing exercises to bring your nervous system to a calm baseline
  • Coping skills to deal with negative thought cycles
  • Interpersonal skills – learn how to be assertive, set boundaries, communicate your needs

In addition to skill-building it is important to gain insight into the roots of your anxiety. Anxiety is a technology our body uses to make us uncomfortable enough to avoid dangers and to address our needs. In therapy we work on managing the overwhelm and then look at what was hiding beneath it that needs to be addressed. This can include understanding emotions and needs, exploring mistaken beliefs that may have been reinforced in childhood, and processing painful experiences that need resolution.

If you would like support and want to explore the possibility of working together, please call (415) 820-3202 or use my online calendar to schedule a convenient time to talk.


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  • The willingness to consider possibility requires a tolerance of uncertainty.

    — Rachel Naomi Remen
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