Excessive worry and anxiety can be debilitating for many people, and the search for a pathway to recovery can be confusing and overwhelming. Here is a brief overview of three broad approaches to anxiety management will be helpful as you narrow your focus on new solutions.
This body of work starts with cognitive and behaviourally (CBT) based strategies designed to help you control your anxiety symptoms. Typically clients are taught to understand the link between what they are thinking about an anxiety-producing event, and how they subsequently feel about that situation. The aim, in simple terms, is to change what we think in order to have a different feeling outcome.
This approach focuses on not fighting the “anxiety tiger”. It offers a range of strategies designed to help you to be mindful and accepting of your anxious thoughts and feelings. One of the most clearly identified frameworks in this approach is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). As with CBT-based strategies, there is significant science supporting the effectiveness of ACT-based strategies in providing relief from chronic worry and anxiety symptoms.
Increasingly, approaches reflecting the best of both worlds are being applied. These include aspects of addressing and challenging unhelpful thinking styles (i.e. CBT) as well as practices designed to promote mindfulness and acceptance (i.e. ACT). This more philosophical perspective – with a pragmatic bent – suggests that having an anxious mind is a natural mind-state and, therefore, we should be careful in pursuing strategies that we think we spare us from this inherent sense of disquiet. For instance, The School of Life (founded by Alain de Botton) suggests, “The problem with anxious moods is that they often hide from us what it is we’re actually concerned about. It feels like we’re worrying about this or that, when in reality, the origin of our anxiety actually lies elsewhere.” It offers practical tools to accept and move forward with, and in spite of, our anxious feelings.
Which is best for me?
There are myriad texts and helpful sites devoted to all the steps in between these three broad approaches. There is no one best way forward. Each of these approaches have scientific evidence to support their use. This means, each has research which suggests they have a positive impact for many people, most of the time.
Broadening your knowledge of different concepts about ways to approach your anxiety, both big and small, will help you try things out and learn what is effective for you.
You then develop a tailored approach unique to you and your preferred lifestyle, based on scientifically validated strategies, which helps you to move beyond your present stuck position.
Learn more in our free, downloadable BURNOUT RECOVERY (AND PREVENTION) – TIPS FOR BUSY PROFESSIONALS.
Dr Bek is a Burnout Recovery (and Prevention) Coach who helps busy people create workable plans for managing the immutable stressors in their life. She has a special interest in working with professionals in the veterinary, nursing, and medical fields.
Rebekah Doley BA(Hons) GradDipPsyPrac MSc(Inv Psy) MJur(Law) MPsy(Clin)/ PhD
Clinical & Forensic Psychologist
Registered Psychologist (AHPRA) | Chartered Psychologist (BPS) | Mediator