Following on from our last article of ‘Understanding Anxiety’ we are now going to consider how to beat anxiety Darling.
If you’re interested to see where your anxiety levels currently sit an NHS recommended tool for anxiety assessment is the GAD-7, however, Darling it is never useful for one to self-diagnose without support following. Therefore, it’s good to know in your local area you now have ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapy’ (IAPT) team, just google where you live and IAPT. You can self-refer into IAPT which means you do not have to go and see your egotistical GP.
How To Beat Anxiety
To beat anxiety that we have over a specific event, situation or even person it’s good to retrace our behaviour or physical reaction to a thought that made us feel that way. In a sense, this is what the Hot Cross Bun of CBT attempts to do and this is often the methodology used by low-level Psychological Therapy services such as IAPT.
Understand Your Reaction
So Darling when you next notice your eczema rash breaking out and your mind feeling full retrace your steps, or if you walk into a social situation and notice your body recoiling try to look at the thought creating that feeling. The importance of understanding our reaction is undeniable, you wouldn’t put a plaster cast on a fracture before setting it properly. In a similar stance, it’s important not to cover up anxiety with unhelpful coping strategies or indeed ‘just’ medication, considering the cause is essential to beating it.
Know What You Are Entitled To
As part of this Darling if you do decide to pursue support for symptoms of anxiety (which there is NO shame in) then make sure you know what you are entitled to. NICE guidance tells you everything you need know about what to expect from the NHS with regards to any health condition, here you can find information on the patient referral pathway for Generalised Anxiety Disorder (Anxiety).
Much TV today has very unhelpfully portrayed the best treatment methods of anxiety to be that of ‘exposure’ (please note this is very different to exposure therapy which can be a life saver for some); such as forcing those with a compulsion towards cleanliness to shove their hands down a toilet or purge all their hoarded goods. Funnily enough, we are not allowed to do that in real health care, because without considering why people have the pre-occupation or worry and giving them a new coping strategy, the hoarder will go back to hoarding and the person with anxiety around cleanliness will continue to be fearful.
Therefore, as part of our self-awareness and exploring our anxiety we need to consider the thought that has led to that behaviour – unravelling the past so to speak. Following on from a spot of self-analysis it is then helpful to challenge those thoughts;
Is there any other way to see the situation before me?
What would I say to a friend who had the same problem?
In the future will I even remember this worry?
What you’re worrying about may never happen
The other great thing to know darling is that research has shown 95% of all worries never come to fruition and for those that do people report they handled them better than what they thought they would. We often spend a lot of wasted energy time travelling when it comes to worries, constantly procrastinating about the future and being concerned about the past. Due to this mindfulness can be a very useful tool in slowing the brain.
Mindfulness is derived from meditation and incorporates all of the buzz phrases you have probably been hearing recently such as; ‘being in the moment’, ‘taking notice’ and so on. However, although it has become more fashionable, mindfulness is going to become one of the saviours of modern-day society. Fancy giving it a whirl? A few recommended apps to try it out include; headspace, calm and buddify.
So Darling, take a moment to take stock and be kind to yourself.