One of the issues most of my clients deal with these days is anxiety. It may arise in many forms, but the common denominator the vast majority of their experiences is anxiety. I remember one of my professors in graduate school once saying the latest research she was aware of suggested up to 50 percent of our anxiety is inherited, and it makes sense. After all, it was our ancestors who had the sense to get out of the way of the charging elephant or beast and lived to see another day. Part of this is owed to the primary feeling underlying anxiety, which is fear. In their case, it took the form of fight (as in fight or flight) to allow them to get out of the way.
These days it can be more disabling than helpful, especially when it shows up in the form of freezing or procrastinating with some important task that needs to be done. The underlying feeling in both cases is fear, but it results in these cases in inaction. Sometimes anxiety can spur people to action, of course; but this can be equally troublesome if someone is unable to stop their incessant activity and rest from time to time. Sometimes people can choose to self-medicate their anxiety with alcohol and other drugs, or with behavioral compulsions that provide a short-term ‘fix.’ These only serve to postpone the inevitable return of the anxiety once the ‘high’ or ‘buzz’ has worn off. In some cases, such as with marijuana use, a part of the brain that is associated with long-term motivation can be damaged. In such cases the anxiety can be particularly troublesome because it instead of leading to purposeful and constructive activity, no activity results and it only worsens the experience of the eventual return of anxiety.
What Helps Beat Anxiety
What I instead try to have my clients do is to regularly practice one or more types of relaxation activities. These can range from what Dr. Andrew Weil referred to as deep relaxing breathing (which comes from the yogic tradition) to mindfulness exercises. Regular use of these can make it more likely you will remember to do such things when the anxiety is particularly high. I also sometimes suggest using something called Cook’s Hook-Up, which involves clasping one’s hands over the breastbone and crossing one’s ankles and doing a series of deep breaths while doing so. Image Transformation Therapy (ImTT), and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) are also helpful for anxiety arising one its own or as a result of traumatic incidents in the past. You can also use the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to help in treating anxiety. This practice works with acupressure points in the body to help promote calmness and resolution of difficult emotions. Although not scientifically validated, many people report EFT helping them in coping with difficult emotions and addictive habits.
In addition to the above behavioral interventions, vigorous exercise has been shown to help with anxiety sensitivity in at least one study. This type of exercise is more aerobic and relies on one getting their heart rate up to the higher end of their target aerobic zone. General aerobic exercise has mood benefits for depression, but it doesn’t have to be as vigorous.
There are also nutritional supplements that can help with calming one’s nervous system. One such supplement is Inositol, which is a B-vitamin. There are others, but one should consult with one’s prescribing doctor before starting a regimen of such supplements to prevent interactions that may be detrimental to oneself.
Substance Use Actually Can Worsen Anxiety Instead of Help
In case it wasn’t apparent from my comments above, use of depressants and other illegal drugs actually serves to increase one’s overall stress level and tends to promote rather than inhibit anxiety. These serve to increase the toxic load on the body and individual cells, and lead to more stress after the intoxicating effects of the medication wear off. Even benzodiazepines can have long-term negative effects, such as leaving one more prone to Alzheimer’s Dementia as recent studies have suggested; and the short-term negative effects include dizziness and being prone to falls. The long and short of it is that reliance on drugs and prescription medications to deal with anxiety is only a short term solution to the problem of anxiety. Lifestyle changes such as the ones I spelled out above are the best long-term way to counter anxiety’s effect on your life.
There Is Hope for You in Getting Anxiety Help
I offer specific instruction in all of the ways to cope with anxiety mentioned above, and if you find yourself with major anxiety in the form of panic attacks, social anxiety, GAD, anxiety disorder, and anxiety attacks; I can help you find relief with the anxiety treatment I practice. Numerous clients of mine have found relief from use of EMDR, ImTT, and the mindfulness and relaxation techniques I teach to help them find stress relief, practice stress management, and to help alleviate the anxiety they suffer from. I encourage you to reach out and call or e-mail me at 512-374-0100 or firstname.lastname@example.org to have a free 15 to 30 minute consultation on how I can help you in dealing with your anxiety and it’s effects in your life.