Self Help For Anxiety Disorder

There are many self help techniques for anxiety disorder. While psychologists and prescription drugs can help to some extent, most people that have really recovered from Anxiety Disorders have helped themselves.

Ultimately a lot of the stress around suffering from anxiety can come down to Facing Fear and Anxiety of the Unknown. It is important to learn to be able to embrace changes and except new beginnings, as that is a key aspect of life.

In our lives we can often feel like we lack control and that can in itself cause us anxiety. Those around us sometimes try to exert pressure on us to make us do what they want us to do. Learning to say NO can free you from some of this turmoil, and people will quickly learn to respect your opinions and space.

Getting Over Anxiety can take various forms. For some people it’s all about what’s going on now, but for others the problems possibly lie in the past, or at least can be accessed by accessing parts of you that developed during childhood. Speaking to the Inner Child can be helpful in this.

Anxiety and Guilt are often linked and it is important to learn how to forgive yourself and be a fair judge if yourself. It is often wise to look at how you would judge others that had done what you have done. Often, you are much harder on yourself!
Boosting Confidence and the link between Anxiety and Motivation are both important. Confidence in your social and physical abilities is often the first casualty when anxiety strikes.

Physical and mental relaxation are essential. You can get everything off your chest by writing it down. Blog to Relaxation and Morning Pages can help you to release the thoughts whizzing round your head.

When it comes to sleep that mental relaxation will pay off, so will this Sleep Technique that further relaxes the mind and helps your drift off.

The Power of the Subconscious Mind can be improved through Visualization to focus on what you want and image good outcomes, which are thought to make achieving easier.

I hope some of these tips help you. If you have any more or tips or comments please share them using the comment space below

Anxiety Stress

Anxiety and Stress go hand in hand. They have a symbiotic relationship meaning that they both feed off each other.

What’s the difference between anxiety and stress?

Anxiety has specific mental and physical symptoms, and is clinically identifiable. Follow this link for an explanation of anxiety symptoms. Stress on the other hand is a much more common phenomenon. Stress also much more commonly expresses itself as anger, irritation, short patience and irritability. Anxiety, on the other hand, tends to manifest itself as fear, hyperventilation, dizziness, feeling dislocated, or having stomach discomfort.

Both Anxiety and stress have been related to IBS .

If one lives constantly in a state of stress then anxiety and even an anxiety disorder are likely to follow. However this is not the case for everyone. Some people “thrive off stress” in the same way that adrenaline junkies effectively thrive off anxiety. but that does not mean that daily stress is good for you. In fact it is much better for you to be able to unwind and de-stress.  While stress might motivate you through the day and give you a buzz, when the working day is over your body needs a chance to relax.

The same tricks that help you overcome anxiety cam help you deal effectively with stress: meditation and yoga, exercise, herbal supplements and everything else mentioned on this site.

One of the main features of stress may be difficulty in getting to sleep. Insomnia can be caused by muscle tension, dwelling on the events of the day or worrying about the future or by having too many stimulants in your system.

Caffeine is an obvious candidate for removal if you want to sleep better. It can stay in your system for as long as twenty hours (although it effects different people in different ways.) Also, some people think they are unwinding from stress when they have an alcoholic drink. This is in fact not the case. Alcohol actually becomes a stimulant after it is broken down by your liver and this is one reason why many anxiety sufferers get anxiety with a hangover or even while drunk!

NLP The Promise of Salvation from Anxiety

NLP, or Neuro Linguistic Programming to give it its full moniker, has been around for several decades now and seems to promise the world to anyone with issues from anxiety and depression to anorexia and poverty. Does NLP work? I have blogged about this elsewhere.  There is a lack of peer reviewed evidence that NLP is effective, this may in part be due to the fact that lots of peer reviewed journals are too snobbish to cover NLP. Certainly mainstream medicine and psychology don’t like NLP. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t work however.

Well, in my own opinion and experience some aspects of NLP are very useful tools for anyone who is suffering from some negative emotions be they anxiety or anything else. Changing how we see pictures in our mind can alter the way we feel about past events and future events that are worrying us. Changing how we hear the voices in our heads, where they come from and what they sound like can alter how much we believe of what we tell ourselves. Taking the feelings in our bodies and concentrating on them, seeing how they seem to move within us and then speeding up or slowing that movement down, or changing its direction. All of these things can have a profound effect on our mood because how we feel physically within ourselves, what images we see and what we tell ourselves are basically what makes up our mood.

You could spend hundreds or even thousands of pounds on learning NLP from a qualified and certified practitioner, they really know how to charge and finding a good one can be tricky. The great thing about NLP though is its simplicity. You really can learn it from a book.

Let me say a slightly less positive word about NLP practitioners. Lots of them are now selling what they call ‘breakthrough’ sessions. These are day long sessions that they say will cure you of anxiety or whatever brings you to them. I have been quoted anything from £800 to £2000 pounds for this day long session. It is in my opinion not worth doing. The skills you can gain from NLP can be learnt far cheaper from a book such as that described above. The eight hour long session, although it may be full of promises, is probably not going to be very helpful and like all therapists NLP practitioners know how to make money from people that are suffering from anxiety and other problems. They also know how to promise a money back guarantee without ever having to give money back. The last thing I would add is that Breakthrough sessions rely a lot on timeline therapy. I am very cynical about regression type therapies and am still waiting to hear from one single anxiety sufferer who was cured by releasing negative emotion from the past. My advice: avoid.

Posture anxiety and stress

In this post I want to talk a bit about posture…not the kind of Victorian deportment stuff, although that does come into it. What I really want to talk about is the link between posture and how we feel…I think there is in fact a much greater link than people realise.

Firstly, let’s get down to some basic physiology and anatomy…your spine carries all the nerve messages from your brain to the rest of your body, this includes parts of your body which are very important to your mental health, such as your stomach (which in itself produces neurotransmitters although medical science is not entirely sure why) and your adrenal glands. Your spine is very important and you need it to be functioning properly. A poorly aligned spine, brought on by bad posture, can put pressure on your spinal column and cause it to work less efficiently. It’s not just back pain you have to worry about, it’s also anxiety, depression, insomnia, stress and tension headaches, panic attacks etc.

Now, that doesn’t mean you can blame all your emotional problems on poor posture, but it may well be a (significant) part of the problem. And solving posture problems can be a great help towards feeling better.

So, how does one go about improving posture? You can of course seek the help of an osteopath or a chiropractor, and this should definitely be done if you are experiencing pain or have serious postural difficulties.

If however you want to feel more confident and relaxed, and have less anxiety and stress, sleep better and improve your mood, then some simple posture exercises might help you get into the good habits you need re-acquire.

Try standing in front of a mirror. Gently push your shoulders back and down, don’t force anything or push to the point of pain or discomfort. Next, push your hips forward, again, don’t exaggerate it, just push them forward so your bottom is tucked in. Now, without pushing your chest out like a sergeant-major, try to imagine your ears becoming aligned with the centre of your shoulders, hips and ankles, so they all pass through one vertical line.

Now, imagine your body is a string of pearls. Imagine that the top pearl is being held up, this is your head. Imagine it floating up to the ceiling, pulling you taller. As before, don’t force anything and stay within what is comfortable, good posture takes time and practice. So as your head floats up, imagine the rest of your body as the other pearls, pulled gently towards the ground by gravity.

Hold this position for as long as feels comfortable, but more importantly come back to it in your daily life as often as you can imagine, as you walk, work, sit and eat. The more you do it the more habit-forming it will be and the better your posture will become.

rimonabant – Risks too high

Rimonabant (also known as Acomplia) is a drug which is used to treat obese patients with a risk of developing diabetes.

As I blogged about a month or so ago, the drug is considered controversial. There is now evidence to suggest that one in every ten people that take the drug suffer from some kind of psychiatric side-effect.

We say this is too high! Mental health issues are not taken seriously enough, and any drug which has this much potential to cause psychiatric side-effects should be banned (as it is already in the USA).

Treating diabetes and obesity related cardiovascular disease is important, but not at the risk of causing suicidal thoughts, depression, and, in one known case, self-harm.

It is time for some joined up thinking when it comes to medication which effects how our brain functions. The organisations and bodies that licence drugs need to be better prepared to stop harmful drugs reaching patients. This habit of stopping drugs which have now been used , and done harm, for some time has to be replaced by a more efficient system.

Perfectionists IBS link

Researchers from Southampton university have found a link between stress and IBS.

For a long time many people who suffer from IBS (and many self-styled nutritionists) have suspected that the symptoms are caused, exacerbated, or lead to stress.

The study found that those people who were anxious about their symptoms or who were generally stressed in terms of pushing themselves at work were more likely to suffer from IBS.

There could well be 3 million people in the UK with IBS, many of whom contracted it after a gut infection.

The type of person who does suffer from IBS is likely to be “driven”, carrying on regardless until they were forced to rest.

Dr Rona Moss-Morris commented that “These people were not hypochondriacs. But they did have a negative attitude towards their symptoms.”

She added: “These are people who have high expectations of always doing the right thing – and going off work goes against their beliefs.”

It is thought that CBT might help bring anxious and perfectionist thinking under control.

Professor Robin Spiller gave two possibilities:

“It might be that stress and anxiety affects the immune system. “But it could also be that if you don’t rest, it might do you more harm.”

The important things are to get checked out, rest until you completely recover from gut infections, and learn to relax and let go.

Anxiety, stress, depression – positive steps to feeling better

Stress is everywhere at the moment. When you are feeling anxious, suffering from panic attacks, stress or depression there are relatively simple changes you can make to your life in order to improve your situation. I am not talking about specific cures or solutions for complex anxiety and depression disorders, I am talking about ways to get your body, physically speaking, to optimum efficiency and peek performance.

A healthy mind equals a healthy body and vice versa. You are likely to feel better physically after relaxing your mind and you are likely to feel better mentally and emotionally after spending some time looking after your body. There are several easy steps you can take to improve your physical well-being.

Below, we shall examine some of those methods. Of course you should always check with your doctor before making major lifestyle changes.

Your body needs more than fifty essential nutrients in order to function well under stress,. They mainly come from these four categories:

Vitamins A (retinol), B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, E, K (this is not an exhaustive list).

Essential Fatty Acids (Specifically Linolenic acid omega-3 and Linoleic acid omega-6 )

Essential Amino Acids (E.g. Tryptophan, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Valine, Leucine, Isoleucine)

Minerals, E.g. Chromium, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Selenium, Zinc, Calcium, Phosphorus, Sodium, Sulphur (This is not an exhaustive list).

And, as if that weren’t a daunting enough list already, your body also needs sufficient antioxidants (which may help prevent cancer and promote longevity), plant sterols (to help block cholesterol and other functions) and bioflavonoids (which are thought to aid blood flow and increase vitamin c inter cellular absorption).

You could spend a lot of time trying to work out a diet that included all of the above, and by the end you would probably be more stressed, anxious and depressed than you were when you started (and much poorer!). But luckily there is an easy way to ensure that your diet gets the lions share of what you need.

Eat some fresh fruit (especially citrus) and veg everyday, separate from eating sugary foods or foods high in simple carbohydrates. Drink a splash of red wine and try and develop a taste for green tea. And if you want a sweet treat go for dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids.

Take a Cod Liver Oil supplement every day. Or use flax seed oil if you are vegetarian. (Does the same job but is a bit more expensive!)

Take a multivitamin and mineral supplement everyday.

Eat as much whole wheat, whole grain fresh non-processed food as possible

When we get stressed or feel anxious or low our quality food intake tends to reduce. Sugar rich food and simple carbohydrates like pizza and pasta seem extra tempting. We also look to foods which give us short term pleasure such as salty foods. We tend to eat faster, clogging up our digestive system and making us feel worse later. And of course we can’t be bothered with the preparation of all that healthy food, so low-nutrient junk and convenience foods seem much more appealing.

It is at exactly this time that you need to make the effort to eat better. Eating better will not instantly make us feel better. By and large, a good diet does not eliminate anxiety or depression, or solve stress related issues. But eating better can do one vital thing: it can ensure that we don’t make ourselves even worse by going for the junk food options. Also, long term, a good diet will build us up so we can deal with life in a relaxed and controlled fashion.

Alcohol, coffee, sugar, and simple carbohydrates are the main villains in terms of diet. It is also important to chew food and eat at a more relaxed, slow pace. Eating quickly causes indigestion and all sorts of unpleasant Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms.

Apart from diet there are other steps you can take to improve overall well-being. We can take steps to reduce our exposure to toxins by filtering water, taking time in the countryside away from air-pollution, using natural soap products and organic foods. Think about the number of chemicals around you and the emissions from electronic devices like mobile phones and computer screens.

Get into the habit of using herbal bath oils, indulging yourself with a massage and taking regular exercise. Reflexology may or may not help with anxiety and depression, it certainly does reduce stress and promote restful sleep.

A new hair cut and a clothes shopping trip may go some way to improving your self worth and making you feel more able to tackle life’s trickier questions.

One last word of advice. Don’t stress yourself out by trying to change your whole life in one go.
Take gradual steps and allow yourself time to make them habit.