Monthly Archives: April 2016

Wars of the Mind; How to Effectively Overcome Anxiety Part Four

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we explored the lifestyle changes which serve to reduce anxiety. This week we delve into how Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help us to halt thinking traps altogether with just a little practice.

 

Actively Axing Anxiety Through CBT

 

I cannot begin to tell you just how profound an impact CBT has had upon my life and this article would not be complete without my strongly encouraging you to read the free ‘Panic Stations’ CCI InfoPax as featured on my best resources page.

 

Whilst lifestyle choices can certainly lessen anxiety symptoms, if you want to see a vast improvement and learn how to effectively manage and considerably reduce your anxiety I would highly recommend working through this exceptional CBT workbook.

 

Within this workbook I would recommend taking the following modules:

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Wars of the Mind; How to Effectively Overcome Anxiety Part Three

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we looked at the thinking traps that can lead us astray and contribute towards our anxiety. This week we explore the healthy lifestyle changes we can make which serve to reduce our anxiety.

 

Lifestyle Choices to Reduce the Effects of Anxiety

 

Offer your anxiety understanding

 

The first critical step to counteract your anxiety is somewhat counter intuitive and comes from teachings in self-compassion. Surprisingly, in order to overcome anxiety and ‘win the war’ you must first accept its presence in your life and recognize it is your minds way of trying to protect you against a perceived threat or coming to any type of harm. Once you appreciate this you can have a greater level of compassion and understanding towards your anxiety rather than resisting it which often only causes your symptoms to increase. Remember, in psychology, what you resist, persists!

 

Exercise

 

Like most things, anxiety is profoundly affected by exercise. Just five minutes of continuous exercise has been found to reduce the effects of anxiety, so just think what half an hour could do. If you are averse to high impact exercise psychologist studies have found that a ten minute walk could be as effective as a forty-five minute workout and relieve symptoms for up to several hours. Furthermore, if you exercise regularly the effects of anxiety can reduce long term. To explore how to incorporate exercise into your life on a regular basis please read my article titled ‘New Year, New You’.

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Wars of the Mind; How to Effectively Overcome Anxiety Part Two

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we examined the differences between anxiety and stress. This week we look at the thinking traps that exasperate and contribute towards anxiety and how to begin to notice and avoid them.

 

Thinking Traps to Notice and Avoid

 

There are several thinking traps that we can fall into which can either cause or contribute towards anxiety.

 

The key is to notice when we exhibit such thinking and dismiss the credibility of those thoughts, thereby stopping these thinking patterns becoming established.

 

I have listed them the most common thinking traps below so you too can recognize them when they emerge.

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Anxious? Me? How to read the signs you might be suffering from anxiety

It’s true that both anxiety and worry relate to the future but the similarities end there. One of the key differences between anxiety and worry is that worry is about a single, specific situation, whereas anxiety may impact several situations that fall under a common theme. For example, my anxiety impacts me when I am in the company of new or unfamiliar people.

 

If you find that you are experiencing anxiety one of the easiest ways of identifying it is by recognizing that you may think everyone can visibly see you are anxious. With worry the sense of everyone seeing you are worried does not feel like a burden but with anxiety thinking others can see your anxiousness is draining and actually feeds into your anxiety. There is a sense that you want to hide it at all costs.

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What your anxiety reveals about you (and why you need to know)

In recent years I have fought against anxiety as if it were the enemy, only to realize that it was trying to tell me something very important. Maybe I wasn’t ready to hear it, maybe it had to get worse in order for me to pay attention. Recently I’ve learnt that deep down it was trying to tell me that there are parts of my past that haven’t yet healed. Although I’ve come a long way, my anxiety reminds me that I still have a long way to go. That even though I like myself and have forgiven my bullies, the fear of being bullied still remains when I am in the company of new or unfamiliar people.

 

If you think about the times when you were most anxious, what did it surround? Whilst the literal cause of anxiety might relate to something quite specific, the root cause is often something much more generalized. For example, do you get anxious about keeping everyone happy? Is there something unresolved in one of your close relationships and / or do you have a need for all of your relationships to be conflict free? When you were a child did you witness a lot of conflict?

 

For everyone the cause of our anxiety will be different but I would encourage you to delve deeper into the root cause of your anxiety as when you do you may discover your anxiety is trying to show you that you have a deeper issue that needs your attention.

 

Try these three key questions to unravel the message your anxiety might be trying to convey:

 

  • What does my anxiety relate to specifically?
  • What does my anxiety relate to generally?
  • Did I experience what my anxiety relates to generally in the past?

 

Then ask yourself this key question:

 

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Wars of the Mind; How to Effectively Overcome Anxiety Part One

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I have to admit, anxiety still grips me sometimes; my mind racing through many equally horrid outcomes. Whilst my mind races in destructive patterns of thought, I fuel my fear which is immediately accompanied by an impending sense of dread.  It’s true that I have made several lifestyle choices to reduce the effects of anxiety but, being a huge advocate of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (or CBT) as I’m sure you know, I decided to investigate a more structured approach in how to tackle anxiety.

 

Today I share the lifestyle choices I learnt with you and explore the CCI InfoPax featured on my best resources page named ‘Panic Stations’, so you too can live a lighter life, one where you control your mind, rather than being held hostage by it. So take heart, when it comes to wars of the mind, this is a fight you can definitely win!

 

The Difference Between Stress and Anxiety

 

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