There are a number of ways to reduce the overall level of anxiety in your mind and body but in this article I will discuss only one anxiety disorder treatment. It is based around 4 simple steps: Observe, Label, Trust and Move. Before I introduce you to this concept let me go through a typical scenario when one faces an intrusive thought and looks for a way to deal with it.
In most cases anxious thoughts flash briefly with out awareness in the most unexpected moments. You may be in the middle of doing something important but can’t resist the urge to check what’s going on inside your mind. Very quickly the fearful thought that disturbed you causes a shock-wave in your nervous system and you start to feel slight discomfort in your stomach area. This is because a lot of nerve endings are located near this organ.
Because of the unpleasant bodily sensations you begin to analyze the fearful thought over and over again and this results in another wave of discomfort in your abdominal area. These bodily sensations are a direct result of you constantly running the thought through your head. You can see how this process becomes an endless cycle provoking more and more shock-waves to appear.
The more you try to get rid of the fearful thought that caused all of this, the more it sticks to your psyche. It’s like when you tell someone not to think about pink elephants. Guess what… From that moment onwards the only thing they can think of ARE pink elephants.
In order to deal with anxiety you need to stop fighting with the anxious thoughts. Stop overanalyzing them and focusing your entire attention on suppressing them. Instead, let them in, label and allow them to float around your mind unaffected. This is crucial for this treatment for anxiety disorder to work.
If you start to observe the thoughts without trying to judge and affect them in any way, you will notice that they don’t stick to you as much as before. In fact, they will start disappearing because your emotional reaction towards them is now neutral. The glue that has always kept them connected to you is no longer there because you’ve changed your attitude.
After you’ve observed and labelled the thoughts without defining whether they are good or bad proceed to the next stage – TRUST. You need to trust that the intrusive thoughts that popped into your mind will probably never come true. If you’re a religious person, hand your anxious thoughts over to a higher power.
Lastly, get back to what you had been doing before the first fearful thought appeared. Move your attention to something else so that your mind becomes distracted. This will help you shift your focus from worrying and tormenting yourself with anxious thoughts onto more productive activities.
It is highly likely that the disturbing thoughts will reappear within the following few minutes so be prepared to use the same technique again. Observe the fear as it floats around you and label it, trust that everything is going to be fine and watch with no judgement as it passes you by. Then move your attention back to the activity you were engaged in.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, in reality it’s a bit harder. As with every exercise you need to practice it regularly to see some significant results. So be prepared that when you try this tactic for the first few times it won’t work as smoothly as described above. No one said that treatment of anxiety is easy.
You may observe certain thought for a while and then become anxious about it, instead of trusting that everything is going to be fine. This is completely normal so don’t get discouraged by it. Be persistent in applying anxiety disorder treatments to every intrusive thought that pops into your head and you will soon see the first results. Remember, practice makes perfect!
If you’d like to learn more anxiety attacks treatment methods that will complement the one described above check out my other posts where I discuss the Release Calm technique, the importance of a healthy diet and a variety of other general anxiety disorder treatment techniques.