Anxiety & Mood

How To Calm Strong Anxiety By Listening To The Body

As mentioned in the last weeks’ posts, there are several views of the cause of anxiety which have different implications for how to treat anxiety.
In Cognitive behavioural therapy, CBT, the common view is that anxiety is triggered by anxiety inducing thoughts concerning various fears.
Psychodynamic therapy views anxiety as symptoms of stress and strong mixed emotions.
Anxiety is thought to rise within us when we experience strong mixed emotions that we in some way during childhood have learnt can challenge our close relationships, and hence we have learnt to push these feelings away leading to psychological suffering.
As mentioned last week, in ISTDP-therapy, one type of psychodynamic therapy, it is important together with a specialized therapist to:
1) Talk about a specific situation that involved another human being that triggered symptoms, anxiety and/or conscious emotions
2) While talking about this situation noticing and exploring the feelings this situation evokes – if it triggers emotions, anxiety or defences:
– If defences: then one should notice this and redirect focus to one’s feelings
– If emotions: continue to explore these with the techniques posted in previous posts
– if anxiety: discern what level of anxiety it is:
If anxiety is moderate, see the post of last week, then attention is redirected to explore the mixed emotions underneath, often involving unacknowledged anger – for many persons a ‘forbidden’ feeling, guilt for having anger against a close person as well as sadness covering the love and longing of being close to that person.
If anxiety creates stronger and more severe symptoms such as dizziness, numbness, pains, confusion etc. then it is important to lower the anxiety level through refocusing on describing the symptoms in the body and then change focus to a less threatening person and situation.
More about what can be done the to reduce stronger anxiety in coming posts.
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