If you are looking for self help for an anxiety disorder we have put together a brief guide of key questions to consider about reducing anxiety levels.
Firstly it’s important to remember, that here we are talking about reducing, not eliminating your anxiety. This is particularly important to remember as you complete any anxiety disorders self help therapy, as anxiety is a perfectly normal emotion. In fact anxiety in some situations anxiety can be helpful in keeping us safe. However anxiety disorder self help involves targeting unhelpful anxiety that may be particularly intense or occurring in inappropriate situations.
1) Identify What Types Of Situation Trigger Heightened Anxiety.
Anxiety is a mood or emotion, but here we are talking about anxiety disorders and so it is important to understand how anxiety affects you in particular. For example, often there will be particular situations that might lead you to feeling more anxious. For example, being around people, being in certain places – or away from places that you feel safe. Try to keep a diary of anxiety levels across a week and see if there is a pattern of triggers. The particular mix of different triggers will help you to better understand if you are experiencing an anxiety disorder and if so, which type. For example whilst people with a Social Phobia and with Agoraphobia both feel anxious one may have heightened anxiety around people, whereas the other person’s anxiety might actually reduce by being around others.
2) Notice How You Deal With Anxiety.
Whatever you find triggers your anxiety most often, a good approach towards anxiety disorders self help, involves you not only noticing when you feel anxiety, but also understanding what keeps it going. Often the things we do to reduce anxiety can actually keep it going in the long run. For example, you may have heard of a ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response to anxiety. Most often people will describe avoiding the thing that makes them feel anxious. Whilst this makes the anxiety go down in the short term, it leads to your brain learning that you struggle to cope with that trigger – therefore keeping the problem going.
3) Plan How To Make Changes
There are a number of anxiety disorder self help materials you can draw on. Most good resources will help you explore how to face your fears in a targeted and useful way. Some anxiety self help resources allow you to work on your problems completely independently, whilst some work will with the help of a therapist. For example our clinic offers clients access to a wide range of worksheets and information whilst you complete therapy. These are designed to support your therapy to move as quickly as is possible for you, hopefully cutting down the number of sessions you require.
There are also many good pure anxiety disorder self help guides available too. For example the ‘Overcoming’ series of books (published in the UK by Robinson) can provide a good start to helping you understand and work with problematic anxiety.
Keep in mind, that there are many anxiety disorder self help guides on the web, and not all of them provide the most up to date or useful ideas for working with anxiety. As a rule of thumb, a good anxiety disorder self help guide will invite you to face your fears in a structured way, and reduce unhelpful ways of dealing with anxiety when you notice it. If you struggle using a guide on your own it is best to seek professional support (for example from a CBT Therapist or Psychologist) in working with the problem areas you have identified.
If you are interested in discussing anxiety problems with a professional, why not contact us?