How to Control Anxiety Disorder

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To control anxiety disorder, change your thinking to minimize your fear and emotional reactions. Reduce your anxiety with help from a practicing psychotherapist in this free video on anxiety and depression.

Part of the Video Series: Anxiety & Depression
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Video Transcript

Hello, I'm Dr. David Thomas. I'm a practicing psychotherapist in Tampa, Florida, and the topic today is how to control an anxiety disorder. Some of the materials you might need would be a quiet place, a piece of paper and a pencil or a journal in order to reflect and to be able to record your thoughts. When we talk about anxiety, anxiety is one of the four blocks to happiness, the other three are depression, guilt and anger. Now it's important to recognize that anxiety is nothing more than a reflection of thought. So, if you want to change or control the anxiety and as far as controlling the anxiety you are really talking about minimizing it or hopefully eliminating the symptoms, but if you want to minimize or eliminate the symptoms of anxiety it is important for you to change your thinking. Now, there are other types of anxiety which we call endogenous or biological anxiety but that's really driven more from brain chemistry or some hormonal dysfunction but most of the anxiety we see is really driven by thought. The model that we use for eliminating or controlling anxiety is the A, B, C Model and this model starts with the A, activating event and that's a stressor is what you are getting anxious about. So, we identify the A, the activating event. The C of the model stands for consequence, how you feel and what you do and in this case anxiety and all the symptoms that go along with anxiety which can be avoidance and lack of concentration, a lot of physiology as far as chest pains, heart palpitations, muscle tension. So that's the C. The B of the model stands for beliefs or your thoughts about that activating event and the beliefs we're talking about here are really the evaluative beliefs and so we have the A, B, C model. A - activating event, what you're anxious about, B, what you tell yourself about that activating event and C the emotional consequence which is here, the anxiety. So what we're trying to do is challenge those beads. So we recorded an emotional episode, A, B, C, something happens, I don't do well, I get anxious, I don't perform very well. We begin to search for what am I anxious about, A, what am I feeling, C, that's the anxiety and B, what am I telling myself? The thinking that we're looking for is the irrational thinking because we want to maximize irrational thinking and minimize, maximize rational thinking and minimize irrational thinking. Irrational thinking comes in the form of kind of a criteria, not the form but the criteria for irrational thinking we call E, L, F. E stands for empirical data, fact or fiction, L, logical, does it make sense, F, functional, does it keep you out of conflict, does it help you preserve your life and limb, does it help you to achieve short term or long term goals? If you flunk or it doesn't meet criteria for those components, then we consider it irrational and we need to replace the irrational with a more rational idea then we work hard, work and practice, work and practice at changing the thoughts. It's important to remember that to take 100 percent responsibility for how we think, feel and behave, that feelings are driven by thought and the only way you are going to achieve real elegant change over time, in this case controlling or minimizing anxiety symptoms or the disorder is to work and practice, work and practice. I'm Dr. David Thomas, talking to you today about how to control anxiety.


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