Having an anxiety disorder can lead a person to feel extremely helpless as they get caught up in the frustration and confusion about what’s happening to them and why. In desperation, people will try lots of different self-care techniques for anxiety with varying results.
Sometimes this is due to the technique itself, or the amount of time and effort the person is prepared to invest in following it through. Other times its because the person has not identified the real cause of their anxiety and therefore is trying to apply an inappropriate technique. It may also be that they have over-estimated the benefits of a particular technique.
These type of self-care techniques for anxiety can really help. Sometimes the causes for increased anxiety can be very basic. It’s quite ironic that while people with an anxiety disorder are so attuned to all their bodily sensations, they can at the same time be completely disconnected from the cause of those sensations.
For example, most people will experience light-headedness, nausea or headache if a meal is missed. Sometimes people with an anxiety disorder, especially if these symptoms have been experienced previously as part of their disorder; will interpret the symptoms from not eating as anxiety, rather than the body’s distress due to hunger.
Likewise, the symptoms of a fuzzy head and loss of concentration can be misinterpreted as anxiety, when repeated late nights or insufficient sleep could be the culprit. Exercise is well documented as a means of relieving stress and contributing to a feeling of well being. Paying attention to diet and daily habits can also point to any food allergies, addictions and patterns of behavior which result in negative outcomes.
Support Groups favorite
What is a support group?
Among different self-care techniques, if you could be included in a support group you can get many suggestions. In many instances, a support group will be formed and run by a person or people with personal experience of the topic. They may also elicit the guidance of a worker in the mental health sector, such as a social worker or, even a psychologist.
These self-care techniques for anxiety can play a positive role in the process of recovery. Some of the benefits are:
- an opportunity to meet new people
- a chance to talk with others about a common experience
- sharing information
- gaining self-confidence
- encourage the individual to take responsibility for their recover * a non-judgmental environment
Support groups are most beneficial when members understand the role of anxiety, its management and the practice of skills. In this way, a group will become a positive force in recovery, rather than simply being a group for emotional support.
These self-care techniques for anxiety is familiar to everyone. It’s the most common advice we receive and the first we try ourselves when we start to think negatively. Why…because it can work when dealing with ‘low grade’ anxiety. Low-grade anxiety is anything from 1 to 6 on the anxiety scale where 10 is a panic attack.
With low-grade anxiety, you’re more likely to believe the positive thoughts you create to combat negative ones. Up to 6 on the scale, it can be useful to reflect on the fact that there will always be someone worse off than you. You can convince yourself that the boss who yelled at you yesterday will probably be in a much better frame of mind today; that the party you spent months organizing will go off without a hitch.
The trouble with positive thinking is that as anxiety levels increase, it’s harder to believe what you’re saying to yourself. The more you don’t believe it, the more frustrated/angry/anxious you become. Rather than being helpful, using the positive thinking technique once you’re anxiety is in the upper ranges, can make you feel more anxious! However, it can play a useful role in a much broader approach involving the use of other cognitive self-care techniques for anxiety.
Meditation when used as one of the self-care techniques for anxiety that can produce some benefits. However, on its own, it’s not enough to bring about recovery from an anxiety disorder. The reason meditation produces a relaxation response is that for 20 minutes or so, the meditator has interrupted the normal, habituated thought process; the one which had produced anxiety on a daily basis.
The problem is: once the person gets up from the meditative position, they enter into the same habituated thought patterns and soon the anxiety returns and the benefits of meditation are lost.
However, meditation, when practiced as a means of self-awareness, can teach us much about ourselves. It shows us our difficulties in letting go; our need to be in control and our expectations and perfectionist attitudes. It shows us our resistance to giving time to ourselves and our fear of new experiences and change.
If you fail to notice all the things meditation can show you because you were only wanting to feel relaxed, then you will miss so much of what meditation is all about. But if you meditate to cultivate awareness of who you are, then you begin to notice how pre-conceived ideas/beliefs stop you from achieving freedom.
If you take what you learn in meditation and endeavor to link it to your every-day life experience, then you begin to understand many of the causes for your anxiety.
Meditation is most useful when combined with CBT and/or psychotherapy.
Hypnosis or self-hypnosis is sometimes from a chosen list of self-care techniques for anxiety because it appears to offer an ‘easy’ cure. The difficulty with hypnosis is that it focuses on the behavior, rather than the cause of the behavior. A patient may tell the hypnotist, ‘I get anxious traveling on public transport’.
As part of the therapy, the hypnotist will often teach the patient how to induce a hypnotic trance at home so the hypnotist’s suggestions about feeling relaxed on buses, etc can be reinforced. A hypnotist may not recognize low self-esteem, vulnerability, the need to be in control, and similar issues.
Hypnosis and self-hypnosis can be very successful self-care techniques for anxiety in receptive subjects provided the need is very specific e.g. wanting to give up smoking. However, anxiety is a very complex issue not defined by resulting behaviors.
One may learn not to feel anxious on a bus, but if the underlying cause is not addressed, anxiety usually finds another outlet and soon the person is back to the therapist seeking a means to eliminate the fear of another situation.
These kind self-care techniques for anxiety can be really hard as working with dreams can be fascinating. In a sense, dreams are a direct window into your subconscious mind in that they are not restricted by the rules employed by us in our waking state.
Dreams can tell us how we feel about things and express emotions we may feel too inhibited to express normally. Dreams can also indicate when we have reached a point of release from a certain issue, or show us how we’re clinging on. Providing we develop an understanding of our unique dream symbols, dreams can teach us many things about ourselves.
Most people wanting to explore their dream imagery start by buying a few dreams of interpretation books. Keeping a dream journal is a good idea. Keep in mind though that your dream symbols are unique to you and may not necessarily have the same meaning as the interpretations you read, so use books only as a guide.
Even nightmares; rather than being a premonition of doom, can actually mark a significant psychological turning point when interpreted correctly!
Above mentioned are only some of the popular self-care techniques for anxiety. You can also research on your own to know some more techniques to overcome anxiety and depression.