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15 people who have received therapy for anxiety share what has helped them.

15 people who have received therapy for anxiety share what has helped them.


Grappling with intense anxiety is no easy task, particularly when you're genetically predisposed to it and the world at large is rife with anxiety triggers.

Luckily, there are a lot of ways to help manage anxiety, and trained therapists can be a great resource for passing those on.

However, not everyone has access or can easily afford therapy, so getting secondhand therapy tips from the internet can be a helpful option in the interim.

In a popular Ask Reddit thread, people who have received CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) or other therapy for anxiety shared the tips and tools that have helped them.

1. From pandaontheloose:

Learn to accept the fact that sometimes you will feel anxious, and that's ok. Don't let the fear of anxiety keep you from doing the things you want to do. Also understand that even if you have an anxiety attack, you're not actually in danger.

I know it can feel that way and it can be embarrassing having an attack in public, but you'll be alright. Easier said than done, I know, but hopefully this helps someone.

2. From chalupabatmandog:

The best advice I can give, is if you can afford it is to find a good therapist and/or psychologist. Don't settle on the first one, it might take a few tries to find one you feel is right.

Common advice is to not let your anxiety stop you from doing things but my anxiety got so bad I had to do that for a while, basically not do anything, avoid anything that gave me anxiety, too much stimulus, and just let my brain rest and recover.

Of course it varies for everyone but building on that I'd say trust your gut, only you know what's best for you and what you can and can't handle. There will be a time to push yourself, that may be now but it may not be.

Finding a good therapist is number 1 though.

3. From LesbianSansa:

Well if you suffer from paralysing anxiety like me - one step at a time. Of course, it's overwhelming if you think about EVERY single step you have to complete, ALL AT ONCE, and ALL BY THIS DATE, and ALL TO A HIGH STANDARD AND AND AND -

No. Just think: this is the step I need to complete now. All I have to get through is this one, and then I'll be better prepared for whatever comes next.

4. From DrunkenCodeMonkey:

I would suggest focusing on the basics. Try to consider the anxiety a separate problem from the triggers, and prioritise it as the problem to solve. This lets you start treating it. It leads well into mindfulness and such.

Once you get into the habit of going 'huh. I'm having an anxiety attack. Interesting.' You can start taking a step back, deciding on a thing to do about the attack (overwhelming amount of work? Grab coffee. Enjoy coffee.

Write down the next thing you should do, only the next step. Read it. Do it. Social anxiety? Square breathing exercise.) I used atarax (antihistamines) to target my anxiety and stress things and it worked well.

I also made sure to concentrate on how I felt after taking the pills, and used that as a lighthouse to learn to relax without them.

Don't be afraid to combine therapy, self-therapy, and pills. Pills feel special and scary, but they affect your brain less than food. I don't know.

Probably I'm doing the same thing I see other people doing, taking about what struck the greatest chord in me.

5. From paintandarmour:

One thing I never thought about pre-CBT was temperature. When my therapist suggested that next time I felt a panic attack coming on or my anxiety levels rising, I take a layer off or turn the air-con on, I thought it was a bit silly.

But it's honestly made a huge difference in my life in managing my panic and anxiety.

My therapist explained it to me as, when your body overheats it can often trigger a panic attack because your brain naturally can associate anxiety with your body temperature rising.

The body of an anxious person can go straight to panic mode when they get hot because it goes 'Oh sh*t, I'm feeling hot, this must be panic, cue panic attack.'

I know it's really small but after telling other anxious people I know about this trick, I've heard it's helped them too, so maybe next time you're feeling anxious or about to have a panic attack give it a go :)

6. From _Green_Kyanite_:

There's two big things that help me:

When I'm anxious, break down everything that needs to get done before bed into super small steps and asking myself what I feel like I can do. Instead of panicking, going 'I can't do this thing' and beating myself up over not being productive later.

When doing something that has been hard/didn't work out the first time, instead of spiraling into disaster scenario mode while simultaneously beating myself up because it's stupid to assume the worst-case scenario will happen, I go:

'Okay, well, this is a TEST to see if the bad thing will happen again. And if it does, it won't be as bad because you know how to deal with it this time.'

When you have an anxiety disorder, it is a hell of a lot easier to convince your brain that you're testing for a disaster and prepared, than it is convincing your brain everything will be fine.

7. From LtStripes:

I found that once you know what anxiety and panic attacks are, it becomes much easier to manage. When I notice my anxiety coming up, I stop for a second and think 'my anxiety is acting up. Why?'

I then start looking objectively at what could be causing it. Is it I'm about to go somewhere new? Am I going to be on public transport? Is something happening around me?

Once you know what could be causing it, it makes the feelings much less scary. I can also then take steps to reassure myself, look up the place on Google maps, for example.

After a while if looking at it objectively (knowing it's adrenaline, that's my fight or flight response, it'll pass soon), makes my attacks feel on the same level as having a headache ir gas. You know what it is, and know how to relive the symptoms.

8. From SkiBumSkiBum:

Draw a square with your finger on your opposite wrist. As you draw a line take a breath in. Draw the next one. Breathe out. This helped me immensely when I could feel an attack coming on.

Also telling myself that it’s okay not to be okay was another big help. Everyone is dealing with sh*t in their life and people have different coping mechanisms for dealing with it. You just haven’t found yours yet :)

9. From zup345:

I have undergone CBT just to learn how to tackle my crippling never-ending destructive thoughts. It caused me to have panic attacks as well. CBT alone was great but needs accompany from other resources as well.

Basic principles should include logging in your mood daily and identifying upsetting events that happened in that day.

The automatic thoughts that come with that upsetting event, the mental distortions associated with the automatic thoughts and lastly the realistic thoughts (not distorted).

I read up on this particular exercise from 'Feeling Good' by David Burns. It's the best book for anxiety related issues.

10. From explosive_panda:

For me a big step was understanding that sometimes I go through periods of “high” emotion. Times when my anxiety makes me extra sensitive to other small distresses.

Over the past few months, I’ve been really working on realizing when those high points happen, and using that to judge my reaction to things.

So instead of “I forgot my keys and now I’m going to be late and everybody will be upset” I try to think “I forgot my keys and this feels sh**ty because I was already afraid of being late, But I can do something about it.”

It’s taken a lot of on-the-spot reflection, which is really hard to stop and do when I’m anxious. But when I do manage to stop that chain of anxiety it feels amazing.

11. From CH0114:

I found the best advice I can give is that if there is something that you can't control that makes you anxious then don't worry about it as it's out of your control. There's no point in getting stressed/anxious about something you have no control over.

I'm a lot happier now because I just think 'is there anything I can do about this scenario?' If the answers no I just leave it and focus on myself.

You also need to involve yourself in something that you can just throw yourself into as it really takes your mind of things.

When I'm out it helps to have something like Pokemon Go on while you're walking around as it draws your concentration and in my experience I've not felt as panicky or anxious.

12. From peace-and-bong-life:

I'm currently making an effort to ask myself if I can change what I'm worrying about.

If there's nothing I can do about it in that moment, it's a waste of energy getting anxious about it so I try to remind myself of all the things I've done towards remedying the situation, and think about what I can do the next day.

Once I have a 'plan of action' it feels a bit less overwhelming. Another thing I find really helpful is playing a quick tune on my flute/recorder whenever I start to feel a panic attack coming on. It forces me to breathe properly and calms me down.

13. From minihaido:

One thing I took away is worry time. When worries come up, put them to one side for later in the day. Set a time to worry, chances are you won't remember what they are, or even remember to worry at all. It helps me to worry less.

14. From senorlimpiar:

For me, it was noticing when I was ruminating. I would get fixated on a small health problem and just fixate and research it and worry nonstop.

Recognizing what thoughts qualify anxiousness goes a long way towards beating it and laughing at it. It starts to seem silly once you can point it out yourself.

15. From dr_mcstuffins:

Do some work diving into what your childhood was like. Figure out your attachment style. There is an extremely high likelihood any chronic, unrelenting anxiety can be traced back to bad things that happened or good/normal things that didn't.

CBT is just beginner-level therapy. Same with DBT. You wanna do some real work and heal, find a somatic experiencing professional. Interpersonal family systems work helps too.

Getting a little zen and diving into meditation, chakras, yoga, etc will help round you out. Spiritual work helps too. I don't mean changing religions - I just mean to investigate alternative belief systems.

I was raised Irish Catholic, became a staunch atheist science person, and as a result of my healing I'm now extremely spiritual with deep, enduring faith.

I've seen a shaman and it helped me but just one year ago I would have called bullshit on myself for even considering it. Pain makes us desperate for a solution.

Never thought I'd get into woo woo stuff, but if something is thousands of years old (like shamanism or the Tibetan Book of the Dead) it's worth checking out. Evolution tends to weed out crap that doesn't work.

Read The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk. It's long but there's a high likelihood it may help you realize why you are so anxious all the time. Just...just go back to your childhood. The answer is probably there.

I'm not saying you were abused - what I am saying is that the two world wars really messed up how people raise families. My parents had no idea at the time just how much damage they were doing to me.

Sources: Reddit
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