The ‘How To’ of Anxiety Self-Management

This blog post is the sixth in a series of posts that are excerpts from my full length published article, ‘Five Simple Steps To Managing Anxiety’ available for immediate download from my website by this link:

The ‘How To’ of Anxiety Self-Management

Of course, what you really care about is the ‘how to’ of getting your anxiety under control, and not the academic typology and research on anxiety. To sum up the majority of research studies on treating anxiety disorders, what works best in most cases is: learning to be aware of and modifying the anxious thoughts that are telling your brain that danger is at hand; learn to increasingly tolerate the uncomfortable sensations that arise; gradually exposing yourself to the feared situation. That is the simple, but not easy, path that is usually the most effective approach to diminishing the grip anxiety has on your life.

Before moving on to my particular treatment approach for helping clients with anxiety problems I want to say that all anxiety treatment should begin with a good physical exam with your primary care doctor. This is because, while rare, there are a handful of medical problems & medication side effects that can cause high levels of anxiety or panic.

For instance, hyperthyroidism and hypoglycemia can cause panic attacks, as can deficiencies of certain minerals, and certain kinds of allergies. You don’t want to embark on a self-management strategy when an appropriate medical intervention might remove the cause of the anxiety or panic altogether.

Along similar lines, there is some pretty good indication that consumption of stimulating substances such as caffeine and sugar may contribute to higher levels of anxiety in certain individuals. You may want to cut back on these substances and notice the effects it has on you if you reintroduce them.

This would be a great topic to discuss with your physician, who may also recommend other lifestyle changes and nutritional suggestions. Please don’t skip this step!

Next post in this series: “The Five Steps To Managing Anxiety

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