Do you deny that you suffer from anxiety? This can backfire and may amplify your feelings. This is particularly true if you struggle with OCD or specific phobias.
Hiding from your fears or apprehensions may seem like a reasonable way to beat anxiety, but it’s likely to make your fears expand. Dr. Moore uses the example of a fear of driving on highways. If you avoid highways and opt for side roads, you may soon start to fear driving on fast side streets as well.
3. Fishing for Reassurances
Fishing for reassurance from those around you may reinforce your core irrational belief and contribute to toxic thinking. For example, if you feel anxious about your body image, asking someone “I’m not fat, am I?” will not make you feel better, because the question already implies you think you are fat.
4. Magical Thinking
Magical thinking is part of a family of cognitive distortions in which you cling to the hope that you’ll receive an instant cure for your anxiety. You probably won’t be able to “wave a magic wand” and have your anxiety disappear, but you can look toward improving and reducing your symptoms.
5. Relying on Herbal Drinks
Chamomile tea and other herbal beverages may provide some relief from your anxiety symptoms, however they won’t help heal the underlying causes. If you become too reliant or hooked on herbal remedies, this temporary crutch may end up making your anxiety worse.
6. Thought Stopping
Some people with anxiety snap themselves with a rubber band or other device to stop anxious thoughts. This may offer momentary relief, but the thoughts will return, possibly with increased vigor than before. Dr. Moore notes, “The more you try to ‘control’ your anxiety, the more power you give it.”
7. Relying Only on Medications
Relying on anxiety medications may offer some relief, especially if your anxiety is severe, but it shouldn’t be viewed as an exclusive coping strategy. There are serious side effects to consider, and, like herbal drinks, medications are only a surface-level fix, not a “cure.” As Dr. Moore explained:
“Think about it – what will happen when the medication doesn’t work as well as it used to? Also, what will happen if you decide to come off the medication?
This is why it is important to combine medications with other treatment approaches, such as strength training and talk therapy – preferably with a CBT [cognitive behavioral therapy] slant.”
Commonly prescribed medications include benzodiazepine drugs like Ativan, Xanax, and Valium. They exert a calming effect by boosting the action of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the same way as opioids (heroin) and cannabinoids (cannabis) do. This in turn activates the gratification hormone, dopamine, in your brain.
Since the identical brain "reward pathways" are used by both types of drugs, they can be equally addictive and also may cause side effects like memory loss, hip fractures, impaired thinking, and dizziness.
8. Analysis (Psychoanalysis)
Talk therapy that focuses on your childhood and past may offer emotional catharsis and healing for some people. However, research suggests it is not the most effective form of talk therapy for treating anxiety. Better approaches may focus on the present, here and now, as opposed to what’s happened in the past.
9. Alcohol and Drugs
Alcohol and drugs may help you escape your anxious feelings temporarily but will likely make your anxiety worse in the long run. You may also become addicted to or dependent on them, adding to your mental health challenges.
10. Engaging in Learned Helplessness