My life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened.
Sketch of Michel de Montaigne, French PhilosopherMichel de Montaigne


Clients often come into the initial session asking if they need medication to help deal with challenges relating to anxiety. My general position is that medication management has its place, but I do not see it as a long term solution. I see medication like a band aid – it can cover the problem, but it does not help treat the problem, just as pain medication can minimize pain, not treat the injury. With that said, every case is different and are there are some occasions that medication is quite beneficial to an individual, though my preference is to try address anxiety in a more natural way and if no progress is made then consider medication as the alternative.

Some of the easiest treatments are actions that people can take on a daily basis, such as reducing or avoid caffeine and other stimulants, increasing physical exercise, getting ample sleep and engaging in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and meditation. As a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, I also emphasize challenging negative thinking. I find that anxiety roots from a “what if” style of thinking in which we tend to catastrophize and work ourselves into the state of anxiety. By changing our thoughts and thinking in a more realistic manner we can reduce the symptoms of anxiety and regain control.

Additionally, I have found our ability to visualize positive outcomes and work through anxiety provoking stimuli through guided imagery to be extremely beneficial in conquering anxiety. Using Rational Emotive Imagery, Exposure Therapy and sometimes hypnotherapy are some of the tools used in counselling which I have had great success in reducing symptoms of anxiety. The most effective tool being relaxation. The body is not able to be stressed and relaxed at the same time, so by triggering our parasympathetic nervous system though relaxation exercises we can actually create a relaxation response which allows the body to relax. Once the body relaxes and the mind is thinking more rationally, we give ourselves the ability to master anxiety and live the calm peaceful lives we desire.


“Michel de Montaigne 1”. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons –