reducing anxiety

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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Why laughter is good for our health

My parents have always been a little wacky. My dad is a regular Billy Connolly and my mom is quite zany too. During a typical day with them the sound of laughter fills the room. My laugh takes after my mom’s; an all out ‘you either love it or hate it’ chuckle that you can’t help but find infectious.

 

My parents have always instilled the importance of laughter in me, often saying that if you can laugh at the most dire of times it will see you through. The older I’ve grown, the more I’ve realized just how true that is. I’ll never forget how, whilst receiving treatment back in 2009, I went to watch Ruby Wax (who also suffered from depression) and how I gasped for breath during my gut wrenching laughs at her accounts which poked fun at the depths of depression. Laughter really is the best cure.

 

Although I’ve always valued laughter, recognizing it’s importance and how essential it can be to play, I’ve only recently discovered its proven health benefits. Of course there are the obvious psychological benefits such as lightning burdens, reducing stress, fear and anxiety, an increased sense of intimacy and happiness but there are physical benefits too.  For example, it actually strengthens our immune system, reduces pain, gives us a surge in energy and perhaps most surprisingly of all, helps to prevent heart disease.

 

Below are just some of the ways you can introduce more laughter into your life, enjoy!

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