This post is an edited version of an answer I gave to a request for advice. Reposting here as ISAP thought it was useful ( I agree
) and suggested it was less likely to get buried in this room.
First bit is general advice, the second is specific approaches to getting better, the third is links to free internet resources.General Advice
If you are worried that your thoughts and feelings are affecting your physical or mental health then I urge you to see your doctor. Mental health issues are one of the most common reasons people see their doctor in the UK.
I think it can be a mistake to self diagnose. Sometimes we try to self treat the wrong problem. Other times we can over identify with a problem and create a psychosomatic response.
Taking care of yourself is important. Eating right, sleeping well, exercise and socialising are so important to mental health. As is taking time for yourself each day. If you struggle to do things for you, remember that getting and staying healthy helps you care for others too.
I am coming to believe that a lot of what I label as anxiety is just excess adrenaline. Exercise is the best way to get rid of it. Specific Approaches
I've found that there are five approaches to dealing with deep seated thoughts and feelings that may be distorting our lives. I use a combination of all five and I am currently looking into a sixth approach.
1. The first is simply to change your routine as far as you are able. Get outside, exercise if you can, from walking to running to swimming. Meet new people, try new things. Tell someone how you feel now and how you felt growing up. It sounds trite but taking you out of yourself is probably the best medicine. Worrying or ruminating on your thoughts and feelings is the worst, it only makes them stronger.
If you struggle to socialise or are short of someone to talk to then Self Help Groups where you can meet, chat and share tips for management and recovery from anxiety and depression are a great way to get out and meet a wide range of people who understand.
There are many groups listed online. Anxiety UK have a national list. It is also worth checking with your local mental health NHS trust as they sometimes fund groups. Many groups meet in churches, community centres, etc, so it is also worth asking there.
2. The second is pills from your doctor. If you try one pill and it doesn't work after 6 weeks or if side effects are a problem then go back to your doctor. There is an element of trial and error in which pill and dosage works best for you.
3. The third is counselling, CBT or talking therapies, available privately or through your doctor. Counselling or therapy by phone or online is sometimes available for those who can't attend a surgery.
A good counsellor can be extremely beneficial to get everything off your chest and get practical advice on how to manage and recover from your symptoms.
Talking therapies tend to go deeper and have a more analytical component than counselling or CBT.
4. The fourth is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. In my experience this is best delivered by a therapist but you can also self treat.
CBT is training yourself to recognise your thoughts and emotions and learning to manage them. It is simply good mental hygiene, helping you to get rid of damaging thoughts and feelings by recognising them and comparing what you believe with actual evidence. Links below.
5. The fifth is Mindfulness. A meditation technique which can be very rewarding, again in my experience, at first best taught in workshop but you can self teach. This is not about challenging your thoughts and feelings so much as learning to recognise and accept them without obsessing or acting on them, eventually they lose their power over you. It also teaches you how to take a break from your worries and relax. Links below.
Mindfulness has also been combined with CBT to create Mindfulness Based CBT.
6. The sixth method which I am adding to my repertoire is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Again, this has elements of Mindfulness. It appears designed to be delivered in as few therapy sessions as possible and I am currently self teaching myself the basics because it seems very promising. The basic idea is that a lot of the problems are caused by fighting your feelings. This therapy teaches you to recognise and accept them, eventually they will lose their power over you.Links
These are some of the online resources available. There is also a list of websites posted by OobyDooby on the Information Exchange page of this site. Google will provide lots more.General Resources
NHS advice, including relaxation, sleep, CBT and Mindfulness and loads more health and well-being issueshttp://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anx ... xiety.aspxhttp://www.nhs.uk/LiveWell/sleep/Pages/sleep-home.aspx
Information and advice from MINDhttp://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/
Has a variety of information and resources on CBT with some Mindful elements and some information on techniques such as positive affirmations. It also has information and resources for ACT.
*Edit: I have recently discovered the Dr David Burns book, The Feeling Good Handbook. This is by far the best CBT self help resource I have encountered. I highly recommend it.*https://moodgym.anu.edu.au/welcome/new/splash
Moodgym is an interactive programme to challenge your thoughts.
*Edit Moodgym now charges for new members*http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/resources/consumers.cfm
CCI is an Aussie NHS resource with lots of CBT workbooks you can go through at your own pace. It doesn't matter too much if the book is on depression, anxiety or whatever, they all teach you the basics of CBT.http://www.moodjuice.scot.nhs.uk/
A Scottish NHS site helping you deal with damaging thoughts and feelings.
Breathworks is a good source of information and provides mindfulness courses in various countries.
More information I've googled on the effects of the Mindfulness approach is available herehttp://tinybuddha.com/blog/let-it-be-us
I've found some free meditation recordings here.http://mindfulwaythroughanxiety.com/exercises/ACT
*Edit I've looked into ACT further since this post and the recommended self help books are Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life by Steven Hayes and The Happiness Trap by Dr Russ Harris. https://contextualscience.org/act_for_the_publicRecognising your emotions
I'm not an addict but I've found the following page helpful in understanding and processing my emotions.https://www.recoveryfromaddictiononline ... -feelings/
There are also a wealth of self help books by reputable doctors and academics which teach CBT, Mindfulness and ACT techniques.
I hope some of the above helps.
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