Taking Control of Your Anxiety: How Therapy Can Help You Navigate Nature vs. Nurture

February 8, 2023 By Anna Svetchnikov, LMFT

Anxiety can strike at any time, making individuals feel powerless and overwhelmed. While it’s common to wonder whether anxiety is caused by genetics or environmental factors, the answer isn’t black and white. Research shows that both nature and nurture play a significant role in the development of anxiety. However, the good news is that therapy can help individuals take control of their anxiety by teaching coping skills, reframing negative thoughts, and developing a healthier outlook on life.

“Anxiety doesn’t define you; it challenges you. And with each challenge, you have the power to grow stronger and overcome.”

– Anna Svetchnikov, LMFT

Nature vs. Nurture: Debunking the Myths about Anxiety

Many people believe that anxiety is solely a result of genetic predisposition or life experiences, but it’s not that simple. Studies show that while genetics may account for around 30-40% of the risk of developing anxiety disorders, environmental factors such as stress, trauma, and life events can trigger anxiety symptoms (Hettema et al., 2001). However, genetics and environmental factors don’t necessarily dictate an individual’s fate. Recent research indicates that gene expression can be modified by environmental factors, such as diet and lifestyle choices (Belsky & Pluess, 2013). Therefore, the way you live your life can significantly impact your anxiety.

Taking Control of Your Anxiety: The Benefits of Therapy

Anxiety can feel like it’s controlling your life, but therapy can help you take control of your anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to anxiety (Hofmann et al., 2012). CBT can teach individuals coping skills to manage their anxiety, including relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, and exposure therapy. Additionally, therapy can help individuals reframe negative situations, reducing the impact of anxiety on their lives.

Developing a Healthier Outlook on Life

Anxiety can make individuals feel isolated and hopeless, but therapy can help individuals develop a healthier outlook on life. Therapy provides a safe and non-judgmental space for individuals to express their thoughts and emotions, reducing feelings of isolation and shame. Through therapy, individuals can learn to challenge negative beliefs and replace them with positive ones, improving their overall well-being.

Anxiety is a complex condition that is influenced by both nature and nurture. However, individuals can take control of their anxiety through therapy. Therapy can teach individuals coping skills to manage their anxiety, reframe negative situations, and develop a healthier outlook on life. If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, seeking therapy can be a powerful step towards taking control of your life. Remember, anxiety doesn’t have to control you.


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  • Hettema JM, Neale MC, Kendler KS. A review and meta-analysis of the genetic epidemiology of anxiety disorders. Am J Psychiatry. 2001 Oct;158(10):1568-78. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.158.10.1568. PMID: 11578982.
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About The Author

Anna Svetchnikov, LMFT
With 15 years of rich experience in supporting individuals, couples, and families in navigating through life’s challenges and achieving their goals, Anna Svetchnikov, LMFT is a force to reckon with in the field of therapy. A certified trauma therapist, author, speaker, and presenter, Anna’s advocacy for mental health awareness and stigma reduction resonates in her professional pursuits.