How To “Get Rid” Of Anxiety | Orlando Anxiety Specialist Shares Information
At GroundWork Counseling in Orlando, many people come to our office looking for techniques to simply “get rid of anxiety”. Quite often, they have met with other therapists and have found that the techniques that the therapist gave them to get rid of anxiety “didn’t work”. What many people fail to realize is that the goal of getting rid of anxiety is not healthy, adaptive or realistic.
When someone has an anxiety disorder, he will likely feel anxious or fearful even when there is no real danger or if danger is very unlikely. Because the physical symptoms (dizziness, shortness of breath, pounding heart) feel so uncomfortable even though they are actually harmless, the anxious individual will come up with strategies to reduce these unpleasant feelings. Unhealthy tactics such as drinking, using drugs or medications (such as Xanax), avoidance and isolating are often used. Even though they are healthier, strategies like deep breathing, praying, repeating a mantra, having a ‘safety person’ around, carrying a water bottle, or avoiding the feared situation are also methods that don’t work. But whatever their form, all of the strategies that are intended to ward off or eliminate anxiety, have the secondary effect of preventing the disconfirmation of irrational beliefs. Which means that because the anxious individual wants his anxiety to go away quickly, he never waits out the anxiety without doing anything about it, and therefore he never learns that anxiety will reduce on its own. He never learns that the strategies that he uses to reduce anxiety are actually what keep it hanging around. Although these strategies all seem like a good idea in the short term, they are counterproductive in the long run.
Thinking errors and attempts to get rid of anxiety actually maintain anxiety and keep people stuck in a vicious cycle that prevents them from learning and coping with anxiety. This includes the use of breathing exercises. Most therapists working with anxious individuals teach breathing exercises as a primary method of reducing anxiety. So do breathing exercises work? In a sense, yes. Deep calm breaths will temporarily make you feel calmer and less anxious, but so will listening to calming music, or engaging in a calming, repetitive activity, such as knitting. However, anything that distracts us or helps us to escape from the feared situation keeps us from learning to manage distress without any type of safety behavior or calming strategy. In short, any type of behavior that acts as a distraction or helps us to avoid a situation in order to feel ‘safe’ from a false threat, keeps us from learning that we can handle being uncomfortable and that anxiety is not dangerous.
At GroundWork Counseling in Orlando, Cognitive Behavioral Therapists (CBT) that specialize in treating anxiety disorders will help you to learn that when you gradually, repeatedly confront situations that make you feel anxious you will begin to weaken the maladaptive thinking patterns that are keeping you stuck in the vicious cycle of anxiety.
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