Anxiety: Understanding What It Is And Treatments Available

Anxiety is classified as a “bad feeling.” In most cases, anxiety is necessary and actually healthy, but when it barrels out of control, when it interrupts your life or debilitates you, then it’s time for you take action.  By discovering the source of the anxiety,  you can learn techniques to overcome these disruptive feelings.


Anxiety comes from an imbalance in thought. Anxiety occurs when we think too much about the what if’s in life or when we are fixated with the future.  All this thinking produces worry and fear which causes emotional and physical responses.


Once habituated, the constant “future” worry and fear suddenly evolves into a natural and normal way of thinking.  This is because our minds are constantly striving for homeostasis or balance. Our minds adapt and, before we know it, the overwhelming anxiety becomes a normal part of our lives.


To break or prevent the habit,  skills need to be developed.  From a spiritual and psychological prospective, anxiety can be relieved by a constant and reassuring focus in the present moment, since anxiety is systemic of future thoughts.  Trusting and living in the now is a goal for anyone who would like to be anxiety free.

To reverse or change a heightened state of anxiety, some of the following techniques can be used.  Your therapist and doctor can help you decide which one will work best for you.


Top Ten:

1. Mindfulness: Focus your attention on an object,  a person or anything that takes your attention off the source of your anxiety.  Find an object in the room,  lets say a vase.  Focus on the vase and all the details of the vase.  Imagine what it looks like on the inside and how the vase was produced.  Think about the time and effort it took to produce the vase.  Concentrate on the vase so that all your thoughts are on the vase. This is the process of mindfulness.


2. Meditation: There are many different types of meditations. Many say that prayer is talking to God and meditation is listening. Meditation is a technique that brings focused awareness of the now. Through a relaxation process, your thoughts and attention are centered to the present moment. It is in this moment that you’re able to be free of any anxiety. Anxiety only exists in the “what if” future thinking, not in the now.


3. Yoga: Sometimes, referred to as physical meditation. Through a process of movement and holding specific Yoga poses, your mind is forced to concentrate on the present moment. These physical poses or slow movements are designed to force you to pay attention to what you are doing. Once again, in the present moment, there can be no anxiety.


4. Distraction: Focusing on something that can take away the feelings of anxiety is a very common coping technique. Do whatever interests you, whether it’s a video game, your favorite TV show, a sports game, a puzzle or even sex. One of the best example of distractions is when people who have a fear of flying watch movies or listen to music to distract them from harmful thoughts. Using anything that is positive and joyful that can maintain your focus is an excellent way to distract you from your anxiety.


5. Physical activity: Exercise is a great way of not only eliminating depression, but anxiety as well.  The chemical reaction of increasing endorphin levels in the brain is well documented and accepted by most medical professionals as a great way of dealing with anxiety and depression. Exercise, like Yoga, forces your mind to concentrate on the now. Your thoughts, once again, are focused with the task at hand and, as a result, take your mind off the source of your anxiety.


6. Cognitive exercises: Many therapists help patients replace disruptive thoughts or patterns of thinking with positive or healthier ones. For instance, one of the best cognitive exercises is the STOP technique. When you start to feel anxious, immediately stop and pay attention to what you’re thinking about.  The thought is usually about a fear or a “what if” situation.  Immediately say STOP in your mind.  Take a deep breath and now conjure an opposing thought.  For example, if the anxiety producing thought is about money, then think validating thoughts such as money supports me and I trust myself to support myself and I release this fear.


7. Prayer- If you’re a spiritual person who believes in a loving God, release your fears and anxieties to your higher power.  When you are experiencing fear, pray to God to take the fear away and ask your spiritual creator to resolve any problems that cause your fear. This is a faith-based technique and only works if you have a strong faith.


8. Insight thinking: This coping technique requires some skill. When you feel anxiety, stop for a moment and concentrate on your fear.  Ask yourself why you are fearful or worried?  Most of what we worry about never come to fruition. In this technique, focus on your fear and think about the consequences over and over again until you come to a conclusion. By objectifying your fears or worry, you realize that what you fear the most is actually groundless. Once you understand the frivolity of your fears, the quicker you can let them go.


9. Focused breathing (Breath Work): This is a very common approach to coping with anxiety and fear. Guy Hendricks teaches a technique called diaphragmatic breathing or breathing from the diaphragm.  When you feel anxiety, focus on your breathing and concentrate on breathing deeply from the diaphragm.  Slowly inhale and exhale and concentrate on deliberate breathing. Many scientific studies endorse the use of Breath Work to relieve the symptoms of anxiety.


10. Medication: In some case, therapy have proven ineffectual to helping people alleviate their anxiety and medication is needed. Those individuals who have experienced a traumatic event such as witnessing the death of a loved one or those facing a life threatening illness or suffering terrible pain are usually on some form of medication when therapy alone cannot help them mitigate their anxieties. Medication can be a good alternative or a beneficial supplement to relaxation techniques. Please don’t confuse this statement with using self-medications like depressants such as Marijuana and alcohol.  Unfortunately these substances do not help but only exacerbates the underlying anxiety. Consult your physician, psychotherapist or psychiatrist when considering any type of medication.


This list can help you with finding a treatment for your anxiety. Please remember that it is recommended to consult with a qualified therapist for long-standing anxiety, as this can be a result of an underlying psychological and physical problem.


This article is to help introduce concepts that could help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and not to diagnose, treat or cure anything.


Dr. Lewis Jordan has over 20 years experience in psychotherapy, counseling, education and public speaking. Dr. Lewis Jordan’s Psychotherapy ServicesFlorida therapy offices for Therapy & Neurofeedback Services are located in various locations throughout South Florida as well as offices in New York City and South Carolina.  Please click here for Dr. Lewis Jordan’s current Educational Videos

Please visit this site regularly and for more information and updates.  

Blessings to you.

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