Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Anxiety - What does it take to get it under control?

Anxiety. Just typing the word makes my heart beat a bit faster and my breath hitch in my throat. I have two anxiety disorders. Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder. Fun, eh?

Not so much.

It's amazing some of the things that can trigger an anxiety attack. One of the worst for me is being in enclosed spaces or having my personal space invaded. We went to Busch Gardens today. I experienced both those things. But, I stayed in control and didn't let the fear of an anxiety attack hold me back.

In the following article, you'll find other things that trigger anxiety that are easily manageable. Like cutting down on caffeine or alcohol. Avoiding aspartame and controlling your thoughts.

11 Surprising Causes of Anxiety

Learning what your anxiety triggers are can help you stop anxiety symptoms before they start. Being mindful of your surroundings and yourself goes a long way to stopping anxiety triggers before they start.

Have you ever heard of a Fear Journal? It's where you list you fears, write about them, and then say good bye to them. Jodi Lobozzo Aman LCSW-R gives Five Reasons You Should Keep a Fear Journal.

In the book, Don't Panic - Taking Control of Anxiety Attacks by R. Reid Wilson, PH.D. there is a chapter about changing your attitude about anxiety using The Eight Attitudes of Recovery. The author explains it like this:

"Two contrasting statements reflect each of these eight attitude shifts. The first self-statement in each pair reflects a personal position that undermines the task of controlling panic. It is the most likely way that any of us would think about such a difficulty, so it's no surprise if you think this way. It comes quite naturally. The problem is, it doesn't work. When put into action, it works against your desired goal of healing. The motto I go by is this: if what you are doing isn't working try anything else.

The second self-statement in each pair reflects the attitude I encourage you to explore. It moves you away from being a victim of anxiety and toward the freedom of panic-free living. But I must warn you, it might feel quite unnatural to hold these attitudes in the face of panic or anxiety."

The Eight Attitudes of Recovery

Expected Attitudes                                      Healing Attitudes
"I can't let anyone know."              >           "I am not ashamed."
"Panic is evil, bad, the enemy."      >           "What can I learn as a student of panic?"
"I want to avoid the symptoms."     >           "I want to face the symptoms to gain skills."
"I must relax right now."                 >           "It's OK to be anxious here."
"I must stay on guard."                    >           "I won't guard myself against anxiety."
"This is a test."                                >            "This is practice."
"I must be certain that there is no risk." >      "I can tolerate uncertainty."
"This had better work."                    >          "It's OK if it doesn't work."

Practice these new attitude techniques before you have an anxiety attack. You'll be amazed at the benefits of learning new attitudes toward anxiety.

Take a look at the Physical and Social Effects of Anxiety Infographic page in this blog.

As for me, I have a list of distractions I use. Everything from listen to music, read a book, do a jigsaw puzzle to watch a movie or write in my journal. Whatever it takes. Even if that means falling back on a tried and true method - medication. It's always a last resort with me. I'd much rather find a non-medication way to control my anxiety attack.

Do you suffer from anxiety attacks? What are some techniques you use to get them under control?


  1. Love this post. My hubby read that book a few years ago, and it really helped him a lot. The fear journal is also a very good idea.-Ashley

  2. Hi Ashley, I never heard of the Fear Journal until I wrote this post. It makes sense.

  3. Thanks for sharing an insightful article, Everyone suffers from anxiety from time to time: there’s public speaking, job interviews, the dentist, flying on airplanes and many more situations that can be triggers for anxiety.

  4. I'm glad you enjoyed the article. Yes, you've listed many triggers for anxiety. Some people experience the anxiety and then it's gone. Others, like me, experience the anxiety on a daily level, all day long.


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