Updated: Oct 16, 2019
I can start this article by saying all of us experience anxiety, worry & fear. However, there is a difference between experiencing anxiety, worry and fear and having a problem with anxiety worry and fears that is causing you to suffer.
So, it is not that you have anxiety that’s the issue, it’s that you have a problem with suffering the effects of anxiety, and it is affecting your day to day life.
You suffer in silence as you try to go about your day to day, with your mind constantly presenting you with unsettling thoughts, or fears that niggle away at you, or a sense of panic as the “what ifs” start to wear you down, or you anxiety may contain painful memories, and this settles in you as worry and negotiate the triggers that come up in you day to day. You worry that you are broken or damaged in some way and you are fearful that people will notice. You’re at your wits end and are looking for help.
Again, I offer that you are not alone in this.
Many people suffer, some get help that works, some keep trying different strategies after a periods of short-term relief and some are yet to find what works for them. A government study suggested that 20% of Australians between 16 & 85 experienced a problem with their mental health, with anxiety (14%) and depression (6%) making up a large share. Another study in 2018 said that 12% of all visits to a GP were seeking assistance with a mental heath problem. So, there are a lot of people suffering, and there are a lot of people seeking help.
Part of life
Fact, anxiety is a part of life, but only a part.
Many people live life well with anxiety and may even experience some of the things you experience. So, what have they got that you think you lack? The have learnt to put anxiety in its proper place-a part of their life not their whole life. They don’t allow anxiety to stand in the way of who and what’s important to them and their life worth living.
You can learn these skills too.
The methods offered in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) are supported in a growing body of research which says that if applied in your life these will help you tip the balance back to where anxiety just being a part of your life that you want to live.
A proven approach
This starts with you facing up to the fact that most of what you have tried to date hasn’t delivered what you really wanted. IF you are like most people you have tried a stack of different things and you know how difficult it has been trying to get rid of you fears, worries and anxieties. Listed below are a number of common things people do when they are struggling with anxiety. Read through the list and make a mental note of the ones you have tried;
· Running away from situations that make me feel scared, anxious or nervous.
· Avoiding activities or situations that may bring on anxious thoughts, feeling and memories (e.g., going outside, driving, working, being in a crowd, experiencing new situations, eating certain foods, exercising).
· Suppressing or pushing out disturbing thoughts and feelings.
· Distracting myself from anxiety, fear and worrisome thoughts.
· Changing how I think; replacing the “bad” thoughts with “good” thoughts.
· Talking myself out of anxiety, panic fear and worry.
· Sticking close to safe people (e.g., friends, family members).
· Carrying objects or performing rituals (e.g., phoning, checking, counting, cleaning, washing).
· Talking or venting with a friend of family member about my anxiety.
· Joining an online support group for people with anxiety.
· Educating myself by reading books written by experts on anxiety disorders.
· Turning to self-help books offering “better” ways to control worry, anxiety and fear.
· Using antianxiety medication, herbal supplements, or alcohol to dull the pain.
· Going to psychotherapy.
I suspect you have checked one or more of these. Which is fine. Now please consider the following question: How have these anxiety management techniques worked for you?
What have you found so far? Did they work or was it only short-term relief? Has the help you have sought delivered for you? Or, have they cost to you in some way?
What have you missed out on or avoided do in your life in an effort to solve your problem with anxiety?
Take some time to reflect on this for yourself.
So, if you are willing, I invite you to take a different approach to your anxiety that involves bringing acceptance, kindness and compassion to your anxious thoughts and feelings.
An approach that says that it’s OK to be you, with your thoughts and your history up to this point and refocus your energies on who and what’s important for your life worth living now and into the future.
If this is interesting to you, call or book an appointment to discuss who and what’s important to you and what you can to get your life back.
 Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/latestProducts/4326.0Media%20Release12007
 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2018). Mental health services in Australia. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/mental-health-services/mental-health-services-in-australia/report-contents/general-practice
 Forsyth, J. & Eifert, G. (2016). The mindfulness & acceptance workbook for anxiety. (2nd ed.). Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.