Anyone who has ever suffered from anxiety knows one thing: anxiety is a real illness.
It may not look the same for everyone, and it may not be visible from the outside, but to the person suffering from it, there is no doubt that it is just as life disrupting and traumatic as any other ailment. It may not be treated with medication alone, but it can be with anxiety therapy.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
The most common form of anxiety therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. CBT is based on the idea that there are certain patterns of thinking which lead to negative responses. Sometimes the belief that something bad is destined to happen in and of itself is enough to trigger behavior that may be considered inappropriate and even self-defeating.
CBT operates on the theory that by changing the patterns of thinking, you can change the behaviors that come with it. CBT is a method that offers coping strategies which emphasize replacing undesirable responses with positive alternatives.
The CBT anxiety therapy process examines the pattern of emotions that give rise to unproductive actions and provides new techniques for dealing with negative emotions. Once the patterns are identified, they can be broken, and the healing process can begin.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR
Mindfulness has been quite the buzzword lately. Mindfulness is the state of focusing awareness on a certain reality and calmly accepting it. The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction anxiety therapy treatment uses the concept of mindfulness to combat anxiety.
MBSR is based on the theory that anxiety may be caused by automatic cognitive responses that trigger inappropriate reactions. Sometimes it is difficult for us to approach a situation without judgement, and our brains form subconscious perceptions that lead us to act out in an undesirable way.
MBSR teaches people to become aware of their thoughts and making assessments without judgment or blame. It concentrates on bringing people into the present and helps them achieve a higher state of consciousness, holistically, by paying attention to the sensations in the body in relation to the mind.
In the long term, MBSR provides people with the tools for managing and altering the thought process in a more productive way.
Breathing to Treat Anxiety
When stress and anxiety start to take over, many of us have been given the same common advice…”just breathe”! This is more than just a catch phrase as breathing can be quite effective in the treatment of anxiety. Read on to find out the logic behind it and how to breathe correctly to provide the best calming effect.
Simple Breathing Techniques
The proper breathing techniques can work to slow heart rate, automatically providing a calming effect. Breathing techniques don’t need to be very complicated, and one of the simplest ones is performed by just breathing out slowly. Start by ignoring your in breath and focusing on your out breath. You will find your out breath will begin to gradually become longer.
Continuefocusing on making breath slow and gentle and exhale until the last drop of breath is released. While doing this, think about any of sources of tension in your body and try to let go of the tension as you breath out.
Why Slow Breathing is Best
Although many think deep breathing will be most effective in reducing anxiety, it is actually slow breathing that you want to achieve. This is because slow breathing slows heart rate and provides a naturally calming effect on the systems of your body involved in fight or flight responses. Deep breathing, on the other hand, can actually lead to increased anxiety.
Slow breathing can also be combined with other calming physical activities like yoga and meditation. Guided forms of these exercises will often provide instructions that encourage focusing on breathing for optimal results.
For many people, anxiety can get in the way of them enjoying life to its fullest potential. While prescription drugs and psychiatric treatments could be the answer for some, why not start by using a method that is natural and completely free? Just breathe!
Fear is often at the root of anxiety. Sometimes, the brain relays information to the body about a danger that isn’t really there. Exposure therapy consists of having the patient confront his fears in a safe and secure environment, so that he or she can overcome their maladaptive symptoms.
The goal of exposure therapy is to show the patient that the basis of their fear is not as dangerous as they perceive it to be. Once they are able to face this fear in an unthreatening fashion, they should gradually be able to decrease their frightened reaction until it is eliminated. In exposure therapy, the complete elimination of response to fear is known as extinction.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
ACT is another type of anxiety therapy that focuses on mindfulness. ACT focuses on accepting negative situations. It differs from MSBR in that it requires a commitment to change. The first step in that commitment is to identify what your core values are and setting goals toward achieving them. The reward is acceptance.
Acceptance is key to acknowledging that life has difficulties and that facing them is a part of reality. ACT also encourages people to set goals and gives guidance on how to handle obstacles that can prevent them from achieving them.
Anxiety is a very real illness, and like other illnesses, it can be very painful if not treated properly. Consider anxiety therapy as a step toward ending the pain.
Call Dr. Clare Albright, Psy.D. CA Psychologist License PSY11660 at (949) 454-0996 at http://DrCAlbright.com