Therapy, Anxiety and Striking While the Iron is Hot

“Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.” – William B. Sprague

Insight is a funny thing y’all. Be careful that it isn’t all you long for in life. Because, when you substitute the constant search for meaning for a more balanced sense of both action and understanding, you are more stymied than if you had never learned anything about yourself at all. Truth.

As therapists, we probably shouldn’t tell you guys this kind of stuff. Honestly, it isn’t great for our bottom lines. I love a good frolic through your emotional landscape as much as you do. Isn’t it intellectually and spiritually delicious when you can put your finger on an attitude or assumption, connect the dots, and realize how you came to think/feel/behave that way? Yes, it is freakin’ fantastic in short. But, it’s also only half the equation. And, if I let you stay there rather than pushing you to change things up a bit, I feel like I will only be doing about half of my job. Now, given that perspective, I’m not the therapist for everyone.  I’m alright with that–it’s part of the reason I offer a free consultation–so we can see how it will go without you incurring a fee.

I am pretty transparent about the parts of my life that have created who I am as a therapist. One of those important factors is a pretty strong dose of anxiety. I am a highly sensitive introvert. It’s one of the things that makes me a fantastic therapist. But, the other side of my exquisite sensitivity is a tendency to vibrate with stress if I don’t keep a good hold on my health. I have a pretty nuanced understanding of where all this comes from (and that’s another interesting blog for another day) but understanding doesn’t do all that much in the practical experience of it. So, I had to actually DO something to change my life and health for the better. In fact, I have to do it every day. I practice transcendental meditation and it helps me feel balanced, loving and grounded. It’s seriously good stuff. My mind was just too active to do much with other forms of meditation, but this one clicked for me. If you’re curious, you can find out about it here: (Just as an aside, you get a discount on the TM training if a health care provider refers you. So, you can say I did. Consider yourself referred.)

What can you do to start making tracks on your concerns?

1. First smallest thing: What is the first, smallest, behavioral thing that you can do differently? We’re not looking for big changes yet. As you guys know, I think if you make those too quickly, sometimes they won’t stick. So, to use couples concerns as an example, if the first thing you can do differently in the service of being a better partner is open the mail every day start there. Don’t trumpet it. Don’t make yourself a nuisance by seeking approval for your change. Mostly this is about you knowing you can do something differently. So, decide for yourself that this small kindness is where you will start. It will teach both you and your spouse that things are always changing, and that even two old dogs like you can learn new tricks.

2. Deal with your guilt/shame bugaboo: There are some things in our lives that we feel terrible about precisely because we know they could be different by now. We give ourselves so much grief about these things that we are too intimidated to change them. (Weight, panic attacks and poor anger management skills are a few of the ones people bully themselves about most). Remember number 1 up there? Yep, it’s small changes that save the day and more importantly set the tone for bigger new choices. When people feel ashamed that they have not reached an obvious goal they try too hard to change things all at once. Then, they fail and feel terrible about failing. It becomes a mean-spirited circle, doesn’t it? Don’t be afraid of examining the ways you bully yourself. Then, give yourself permission to let the shame go as you decide to start your smallest thing.

3. Take an Inventory: How are you doing at marrying the behavioral changes mentioned in #1 with the emotional/insight-oriented changes we discussed in #2? Are you starting to feel like your values and your actions are more congruent? I love that word–congruent. My clients are always using it themselves by the time we are through because it is such a lovely way to denote that what goes on inside you and what you put out into the world are in alignment. When your behaviors and your insights are congruent you feel grounded and alive.

Do you need help getting any of these steps going? I would be delighted to talk about it with you. Why don’t you come in for your free 30-minute consultation so that we can get started now?

Your Partner in Healing,


Are you looking for compassionate individual, couples or group therapy in Raleigh? Call me today to schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation to learn how counseling can help you. Please contact me at (919) 714-7455 or email me at Visit me on the web at or:

Twitter: HollyCoxLMFT


Facebook: Lotus Therapy Center

Google +: Lotus Therapy Center

Leave a Reply