Self-Help for Intense Anxiety

When your feelings are so intense that you can't stand them, or can't stand being in your own skin... When you become increasingly obsessed with the feelings and think you would do anything to escape them... 

Don't stop thinking!!!  Use the following guidelines
to get through this awful time in the most positive possible way. 
* Weigh the consequences of any actions before you take them.
* Write, talk, and exercise your way through it -- try to sort out what the core issues are.
* Stay close to your supports (groups, friends, trusted family).
* Deal with the problem directly if you can.  If this is not possible, focus on constructive action and distraction until your intense feelings begin to subside.
* Remind yourself that this will pass (and that it won't be nearly as quickly as you'd  like, and that you'll still survive it anyway - you always have).
* Stop yourself from doing anything that is bad for you or that makes the problem  worse.
* Tell the people you care about how important they are to you.
* Do something nice for someone else.
* Do comforting things for yourself that are healthy.  For example,
DO:  * Take a soothing bath.                        DON'T: * Use alcohol or drugs to
        * Take a walk.                                                        change your mood.
        * Make yourself a cup of tea.                            * Binge eat.
        * Call a friend.                                                   * Engage in dangerous sex.
        * Cuddle your pet.                                            * Spend impulsively.
        * Wear something really comfortable.               * Drive if you can't
        * Watch the sun set (or rise).                                  concentrate well.
        * Clean out the closet that's been                     * Act without thinking.
               driving you crazy for months.                      * Isolate yourself for long.
        * Listen to music that helps you refocus.           * Make any important
                                                                                          decisions until you are
                                                                                          able to calm yourself.
This is the most important time for stress management and self-care.
It is also the time when you are least likely to feel like doing these things. 
Use what you know, and hang in there.  
Copyright © 1996, Elizabeth Babcock, LCSW.  All rights reserved.

Some other articles you might find useful:

Financial Management Basics  

Sleep Well -- Self-Help for Insomnia

When is It Time to Consider Psychotherapy?

Depression Series, Part One: Depression -- Myths and Facts

Depression Series, Part Two: Who Gets Depressed, and Why? 

Depression Series, Part Three: What to Do about Depression 

Depression Series, Part Four: When Someone You Love is Depressed  

Stress Management Series, Part One: Introduction

Stress Management Series, Part Two: Creating Better Connections With Your Loved Ones

Stress Management Series, Part Three:  It's All In Your Head


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