Self-Help – A Vital Component In Managing GAD
In therapy Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) patients will learn anxiety tips beginning with controlling their breathing. Often in anxiety attacks a person will hyperventilate and even pass out. Instead of shallow, panting, panicked breaths, people with GAD learn to breathe deeply, from the diaphragm. This strategy not only insures that they get an adequate amount of oxygen in their system but also gives them a point of external focus.
Conscious efforts to relax the muscles of the body are also encouraged. Tense, tight muscles lead to accompanying stress conditions like migraine headaches or so-called “cricks” or muscle spasms in the neck. The pain from these conditions will only make the worry and anxiety that are the hallmarks of GAD worse.
Although any GAD sufferer hates to be told to just quit worrying, the advice is well taken. In therapy GAD patients will try to learn to recognize their worry in its earliest stages and to shut it down before the thoughts come to consume their consciousness. Often by confronting their fears directly or through self-talk – so-called “talking down” – a GAD patient can successfully calm themselves.
Dwelling on the past is counterproductive and GAD patients often times struggle to let go of the past. Cultivating a sense of humor in coping with you anxiety disorder can help enormously as can outlining goals for the future and keeping track of your progress toward them. Regular rest, exercise, and a well-balanced diet are essential. The sugar highs and lows of a diet based on junk food are disastrous for someone with GAD.
Journaling in all forms is helpful. Write down goals. Keep track of tasks already accomplished. Engage in inner dialogue and describe and analyze your fears. A journal can be a steady and useful confidante as well as an aid in cognitive-therapy sessions as a reference and learning tool.
Finally, GAD sufferers must find constructive outlets for the anger that is a natural consequence of their condition. Some find they can channel aggression and excessive energy into sports or simply in taking long, vigorous walks. Others find taking up a musical instrument or some other engrossing hobby or pastime to be critical.
Any self-help, anxiety remedies employed should serve to take the person “out of themselves” and away from obsessive attention to one point of worry or relentless dwelling on the past. Many of these coping strategies are about redirection of attention and constructive focusing of the thought processes as well as control of physical reactions to stress and anxiety.
No one is suggesting that anxiety relief is immediate or permanent. People who suffer from GAD are most likely facing a lifetime of managing their condition. Many of the required measures in handling anxiety disorder are learned behaviors but GAD can be successfully addressed with concentrated effort and professional assistance.