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The Fearful Brain | How to Control Anxiety

Feeling like I can't control anxiety

The Fearful Brain and Anxiety


In this post you will learn about the various types of anxiety disorders, how to control anxiety and the importance of making changes at the subconscious level to manage and change your life.

Table of Contents:

  • What is Anxiety?

  • What are the Types of Anxiety Disorders?

  • Why the Role of your Subconscious Affects Anxiety

  • Treatment Methods to Control Anxiety

  • Treat Anxiety at the Root of Fear

What is Anxiety?

According to National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 19.1% of U.S. adults had an anxiety disorder in the past year and that an estimated 31.1% of U.S. adults experience an anxiety disorder at some time in their lives. Anxiety seems to be growing more prevalent and as well as the inability on how to control anxiety. There are also many views on why this is so from previous under reporting to social media and an anxious older population.

In the United States alone, people with anxiety disorders are roughly about 40 million.(NAMI)

It’s important to first understand that anxiety is the natural way through which your body responds to stress. It’s a mixed feeling of apprehension, uncertainty, restlessness or fear of something that is about to happen, a fear of the future. It can also be a cloud of emotion that can be distinguished by feeling worried, tense, and even physical changes such as an increase in blood pressure. These emotions and physical symptoms make it feel impossible at times to control anxiety.

This is because since the beginning of humanity, when the body senses incoming danger, it alarms itself to allow the action of anxiousness. Examples of these alarms are visible sweating, sensitivity to the things surrounding you, and increased heartbeats.

Fear Response

When an individual perceives incoming danger, the brain goes into a stress response which leads to a rush of adrenalin. Adrenalin is a hormone that acts as a messenger to the human, which causes an anxious (alert) reaction. This psychological process is often referred to as the fight-or-flight response.

Collectively, anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders experienced by Americans. (Society for Neuroscience)

Its purpose is to help the ready human body flee or face potential danger. However, in modern society anxieties often orbit around issues such as school, family, money, work, health, relationships. Issues that, understandably, are heightened with emotions and concern but often do not require a fight or flight reaction. 

In the early days of human existence, we had to have intense awareness and concern. We had to know when to flee from very real life- threatening dangers. Today, not so much, but our brain continues to operate from this evolutionary perspective.

Feeling Nervous

how to control anxietyFeelings of nervousness and fear can occur when a significant or even insignificant occasion is about to happen. It can be commonplace for a person to feel nervous. For example, taking a test, going on an interview, doing a presentation at work or interacting with strangers. An individual’s body may start to start experience racing thoughts, sweaty palms and even dry mouth. But for the most part, that can be fleeting or resolved after the occasion is complete.

This mental anguish and restlessness can arise also when a new situation emerges causing a feeling of being “unfamiliar” that provokes a sudden false fight-or-flight reaction. False because there is no possibility of death even though the anxious emotional part of the brain associates death with the non-threatening experience.

The truth of the matter is that most people will experience some form of anxiety for one reason another and it is necessary, to a degree. The experience can bring introspection and personal growth and we do need to feel the emotion of anxiety at times to legitimately keep us safe in times of true danger. But when does anxiety actually a become psychological disorder?

Severity of Anxiety Disorders

We all from time-to-time will experience situations that make us and it’s absolutely normal. However, anxiety disorders often are demonstrated through the expression of excessive worry or concern over various aspects of everyday life. With an anxiety disorder, mental worry doesn’t go away; as time continues, it increasingly gets worse and will interrupt normal life activities.

People with anxiety disorders are defined as having experiences with feelings and behaviors that may interfere with an individual’s daily activity, such as job performance, focusing in school, interacting with others, driving or behavior adaptations that cause the individual additional duress. Consequently, the anxiety can lead to health issues requiring medical attention and treatment.

There can be two levels of anxiety disorders: mild anxiety and severe anxiety. In mild forms of anxiety, the worry is limited and could cause the person to feel uneasy and unsettled. Severe anxiety, can significantly affect an individuals mental and physical health. The severe anxious feeling will exceed the average proportion to the stressor.

Some of the physical signs related with severe anxiety, include sudden sweating, nausea, increased blood pressure, and heartbeat.

What are the types of anxiety disorders?

Image of women with anxiety

There are various types of anxiety disorders with clinical definition: Generalized anxiety disorder, Panic disorder, Specific phobia, Agoraphobia, Selective mutism, Social anxiety disorder or Social phobia, Separation anxiety disorder. However we will look at a few of the common adult anxiety disorders here as examples:

Generalized anxiety disorder

It’s a type of chronic disorder involving anxiety that lasts for a long time and worries that are not about a specific occasion, item, or situation. Generalized anxiety disorder is the most prevalent disorder that affects many people. It is common since most people often, cannot determine what is causing their feelings with the anxiety.

Panic disorder

Panic disorder can be defined as short or sudden attack of apprehension and terror. The effects it has on the one experiencing the panic attacks, involves symptoms that may include difficulty breathing, confusion, dizziness, nausea, and shaking. When a panic attack occurs, it may take anywhere from a few minutes to 10 minutes or more to reach it’s peak. However, during this time, one often fears intense psychological catastrophizing thinking such as possible death due to the internal feelings of the mental anguish.

Several issues will increase the chances of developing panic attacks and panic disorders. These could include genetic factors, substantial life changes, alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, sugary foods, recreational drugs, and sleeping issues. Because the attacks are often unpredictable, people who experience them often live in fear of having an attack in public or while driving — further increasing their anxiety

The following is a list of symptoms and emotional experiences associated with a panic attack:

  • Discomfort and pain in the chest
  • Feeling lightheadedness and dizziness
  • Fear of dying
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Trembling and sweating
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Stomach ache and nausea

Anxiety is a natural reaction to life issues.

But when the physical issues take over, often consciousness and conscious reasoning cannot override the feelings. As the conscious mind becomes associated with the bodies response, thinking and emotions can get out-of-control. This out-of-control feeling heightens the sense of danger which the brain receives and then subsequently alerts the adrenal glands. The adrenals release adrenaline which is also known as epinephrine. When the adrenaline rushes, it can cause a rise in blood pressure and breathing rate exacerbating the anxious experience.

Often clinical treatments for this illness are psychotherapy and medications. When an individual is experiencing panic disorder for the first time, it can be extremely scary and feel life-threatening. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of therapy that can help identify the initial thinking associated with the behavior.

Other clinical treatment methods include relaxation techniques such as visualization and slow breathing. Prescribed medications can often include: benzodiazepines (Example, Xanax and Klonopin), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (Example, Zoloft and Paxil) or beta-blockers, to regulate the heartbeat.

Specific Phobia

The definition of a phobia is an overwhelming and debilitating fear of an object, place, situation, feeling or animal. Phobias are more pronounced than fears (NHS). They develop when there is an exaggerated or unrealistic sense of danger about a situation or object. The anxiety experienced in the body to a specific phobia could include difficulty in breathing, increased heartbeat rate, chills, choking feeling, pain in the chest, drying of the mouth, disorientation, nausea, dizziness, and headache.

Examples of some specific phobias

Claustrophobia: It’s the fear of being locked in constricted space or room

Aerophobia: Fearing to fly

Arachnophobia: Fearing spiders

Driving phobia: Fearing driving a car

Emetophobia: fearing to vomit

Erythrophobia: Fearing to blush

Hypochondria: Fearing getting ill

Zoophobia: Fearing animals

Aquaphobia: Fearing of water

Acrophobia: Fearing heights


This type of anxiety disorder involves a psychological fear of being in a place where getting help or feeling in control is difficult. Examples of feelings that may lead to agoraphobia include feeling of helplessness, embarrassment, and being trapped. This can happen in or just thinking of being in crowded areas, public transport, on a bridge, at school, in an elevator or high rise or any place outside of one’s own home.

To help treat and control anxiety of this type it is helpful to do the following:  Exercise outdoors to get acclimated to expanding ones environment, eating a healthy diet, sufficient and consistent sleep, relaxation techniques and and avoiding or limiting alcohol, soda, or anything that may be overly stimulating when experiencing the anxious state.

Examples of what an individual could experience when agoraphobia occurs is an increase in heartbeat, excessive sweating, feeling uncomfortable or sick, pain in the chest, feeling dizzy, vomiting and hyperventilating, flushing and trembling.

Social phobia or social anxiety disorder

Individual’s with social phobia are often very anxious about being in a situation with other people, known or unknown. Social anxiety disorder’s sources differ with this particular state of fear. Often someone experiencing this kind of phobia does not necessarily seek help because they believe it could be related to traits in their personality and the false sense of fear may override logical reasoning.

As similar to other phobias, a common component underlying the cognitive reasoning for this state is the personal and internal psychological evidence to the person of fear and the failure to accept a perspective or even evidence of safety.

Why the Role of your Subconscious Affects Anxiety

Subconscious mindThe references that define the medical model for anxiety is commonplace both in press advertisements and journal articles. What’s more limited in understanding is the role of the subconscious and how this deep internal part of the self contributes to keeping the mind aware and conditioned to holding on to this state of fear.

Conscience and consciousness are part of a system of information that governs our experience and decision making process. Consciousness is the function of the human mind that receives and processes information, crystallizes it and then stores it or rejects it with the help of the following:

1. The five senses

2. The reasoning ability of the mind

3. Imagination and emotion

4. Memories

The five senses enable the mind to receive information, then imagination and emotion process it, reason judges it, and memory stores or rejects it. (National Library of Medicine)

The Effect of Childhood Experiences

The information that the mind receives from this process happens from events experienced in life that could have happened in childhood decades ago or more recently. The issue is that the mind stores a history of all memories and holds an awareness of those memories that often was triggered by something traumatic or unexplainable.

A word to be aware of is that trauma does not need to have life threatening, the brain can also experience events that appear minor as threats of rejection and not fitting in.

Subconscious mind programmed in childhood

The idea that leads the mind into anxious thinking is the idea of what will happen in the future is negative (Example, rejection, loss, disappointment, ridicule, neglect…) and because an individual cannot control the future, the brain will keep it in a heightened state of being at risk.

To control anxiety more effectively is to treat the root cause which is often deep within the subconscious mind, a place that often overrides awareness and consciousness. The subconscious is an automatic function of the mind that holds the belief which creates the thinking and will lead the behavior.

Treatment Methods to Control Anxiety

The tools to treat anxiety varies with the type of anxiety as well as the person being treated. Standard treatment protocols often utilize Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), medication and other health approaches to compliment the treatment plan (Example, meditation, breathing exercises). However, incorporating changes at the deep subconscious level is highly beneficial to treating the root cause and not just the symptoms of anxiety. This is done effectively through the use of techniques like hypnosis or through the combination of CBT and hypnosis (see Rapid Transformational Therapy).

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Psychotherapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy and one of the gold standards to treat anxiety disorders in clinical settings. This is because research has shown that our thoughts affect our behavior and in anxiety it is our thoughts specifically that is triggering the looping experiences. What is actually missing from is the the “feelings” part because the thought creates feelings which creates the behavior. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a place to start in to treat and manage the symptoms of anxiety. A skilled and professional therapist can be highly beneficial in helping individuals manage symptoms related to anxiety using tools and techniques of CBT to lead the person to establishing more control of managing their anxiety.

Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT)

Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT) is a revolutionary method of therapy. The treatment method can help you to achieve phenomenal, permanent outcomes as  you truly identify the root cause the issue to control anxiety, not merely place a band aid over the symptoms. Understanding is power, and once you have understanding you will be able to to heal and rewire your thoughts, beliefs, actions and behaviors related to anxiety.

Rapid Transformational Therapy originally developed by Marissa Peer, involves a combination of the most valuable aspects of Hypnotherapy, Neurolinguistics Programming (NLP), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Psychotherapy.  It works by communicating directly with your subconscious mind. Rapid Transformational Therapy enables you to uncover the age-appropriate meaning and interpretation attached to events that have been causing the anxiety.  RTT then rewires into your subconscious healthier and more beneficial beliefs and thinking patterns.

Treat and Control Anxiety at the Root of Fear!

Are you ready to control anxiety at the root of the issue, in the subconscious?  Once you are able to change  the actual internal mental programming in the subconscious mind, the limiting or debilitating symptoms of anxiety will no longer control your life. 

There are many obstacles in life, don’t let anxiety be one of them


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With more than 17 years of expertise and an individualized approach to mental healthcare and coaching, Jacqueline Connors is transforming the way people find healing.


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