Skill Prescriptions for Anxiety

Examine Your Thought Habits

Sometimes we get into bad thought habits of assuming the worst, being suspicious of others and guessing at what other people are thinking about us. Take some time to examine your thought patterns when you are anxious. Are you telling yourself things about the situation that might not be true? Can you prove that they are true? Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a kind of counseling that teaches you to examine these thought patterns that lead to undesired behaviors and can help you learn to form better thought habits. If you struggle with frequent anger, consider counseling. Ask potential counselors whether they can teach you these techniques.

News and Media Fasts

The news of the day is often presented in a violent and disturbing way. Even the shows and movies we watch for entertainment are often violent. If you struggle with anxiety, consider taking a few weeks off from all news and violent programming. You may find that this helps you to feel calmer and less anxious.

Learn to Say “No”

The author Paolo Coehlo once said “When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself.”  This is good advice.  When you struggle with anxiety, you may put your desire to please others before taking care of yourself.  Usually this leads to increased anxiety and fatigue.  The next time someone asks you to do something or to give your time, check in with yourself and really think about the consequences of that “yes”.  If they are not desirable or will cause you more stress, say “no”.  It will be awkward at first but will get easier with practice.

Let the Music Play

Recent research shows a direct link between music and the pleasure sensors of the brain.  Some composers are even creating music that is specifically designed to induce a relaxation state.  Try listening to calming music when you are upset or nervous.  You might also try music with a positive and confidence-builging message.  Make a playlist of the songs that make you feel good.  For calming music, we like Liquid Mind.

Cut Back Where you Can

Take a look at the obligations you have both socially and at work.  Consider if there are things that you can take a break from just for a little while so you can work on self care and experience less stress.


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