Mental Health

You can help yourself out of fear

Here are five useful tools.

You can help yourself out of fear

Sometimes you need expert guidance in the form of psychological help, but in many cases it may be sufficient to get information about what you can do yourself – you are in the so-called supervised self-help, says psychologist Sverre Urnes Johnson at the Department for anxiety disorders, Modum Bad.

Cognitive Therapy and Self-Help

– Self-directed self-help is about learning to get tools to help themselves out of something difficult. In this way, self-help is something we do all the time. It’s about developing the reportoar to regulate your own feelings, “says Urnes Johnson.

Within the self-help literature on anxiety disorders, most books are based on cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy is a broad term that covers a variety of different directions.

However, directions within cognitive therapy are somewhat common in the form of a strong desire to give people who struggle tools to master their own lives, he says.

Self Help Help

In the center of supervised self-help, good information about what anxiety is, what is happening in the body and what keeps the fear at bay. Some of what keeps it alike is the fear of fear, which leads to the evasion of dreaded situations.

– Self-help will in many cases mean breaking bad circles. For example, people who struggle with anxiety often think a lot about what can happen if they perform a specific action. Concerns cause the body to respond and an anxiety response is initiated, explains Urnes Johnson.

Anxiety response can then easily be interpreted as the fact that one cares for actually is dangerous and one chooses to avoid or get rid of what is experienced as difficult.

Acceptance for anxiety

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal physiological response initiated by external or internal situations that we perceive as threatening. If the fear persists over time and it is felt that it inhibits function and quality of life, it can be a disorder.

Evasion is a common denominator for people with anxiety disorder, that is, avoiding situations or taking precautions to avoid situations where one can get anxiety and discomfort, and so does the fear maintain. Along with fear, symptoms like headache, irritability, sadness, tiredness, numbness in the hands and feet, muscle aches, tremors and twitching, difficulty breathing, sweating, concentration difficulties and sleep problems.

What distinguishes normal anxiety from illness is usually duration, degree of evasion and the extent to which it affects the level of functioning, such as daily tasks. Having an anxiety disorder causes impairment in quality of life and a subjective discomfort.

Source: Psychologist Sverre Urnes Johnson

You can help yourself out of fear

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But a paradox of fear is that when you try to fight it or to hide it at all costs, it’s getting bigger, but when you meet the fear with acceptance, it’s getting smaller, “says psychologist Torkil Berge who has worked with anxiety for 25 years and has written several cognitive self-help books, such as the recommended book of anxiety, narrow spaces and open spaces.

The thinking of both self-help and treatment is not that you should get the anxiety away, but to meet it in an acceptable manner.

By reducing fear of anxiety, you reduce the barriers to doing what you want to do, whether it’s talking in public or traveling with public means, Berge says..

Anxiety Training

When learning to master anxiety it is crucial to understand that anxiety is not dangerous or something ashamed of. We all have the ability to feel anxiety and it is important to us in many sessions.

There is nevertheless one thing to know this with the head. However, if you have experienced severe anxiety in certain situations, the amygdala in the brain has learned that these situations are dangerous and will send out warning signs in similar situations.

– Unconsciously, one will then continue and react with fear in certain situations, it will be like a kind of reflex. Therefore, you can not only take this into thinking, you have to go systematically into situations and change your body’s anxiety through anxiety training. Then, in practice, you demonstrate to yourself that the situation is still not dangerous, even if it feels like that, he says.

Self-help anxiety – 5 tools:

Therefore, those who want to help themselves are advised to read what is happening in the body, then to post a training program. It is also advisable to associate with a training partner in the form of a healthcare professional or a friend.

The Council on Mental Health recommends that you get into self-help literature, and recommend the book Tight rooms and open spaces by Torkil Berge and Arne Repål on their web pages. Other advice to read on mental health. No is to expose yourself to self-esteem and to join a self-help group through Angstringen.

– The main message should be that anxiety is not dangerous, you do not need any special techniques to get through it. It is therefore more appropriate to refer to, for example, the e-mastering program in Bergen, or to self-help literature recommended by Berge and Repål, “says Urnes Johnson..

– My experience is also that breathing techniques and relaxation exercises can often be used as a form of evasion and that it is with maintaining the problem. The first priority before techniques are introduced in the treatment is that any evasion of bodily symptoms or anxiety is broken, he says.

You can help yourself out of fear

BACKGROUND: When learning to master anxiety it is crucial to understand that anxiety is not dangerous or something to be ashamed of. We all have the ability to feel anxiety and it is important to us in many sessions. Photo: ILLUSTRATION PHOTO: Colorbox

1. Information

You can help yourself out of fear

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It is important to train in recognizing anxiety as anxiety. It’s a way to get to know your own body. Anxiety is yours, Berge and Repål writes in his book Tight rooms and open spaces.

It’s just as inappropriate to try to run from the fear it’s trying to run from itself. Anxiety should be recognized, this is a prerequisite for being able to fight anxiety.

The Council on Mental Health recommends Berge and Repåls book on its web pages, as well as the following resources:

  • Anxiety. Information booklet, Council of Mental Health (2004), The Road to Yourself (poet, 1992) and The Wavepiece (poems, 1996), Vigdis Garbarek, Buddy (film, 2003) and Elling (film, 2001), Angstringen Norge, Ankanke. no and the Directorate of Health.

3. Training

Psychologists recommend supervised self-help, which is about being in dialogue with healthcare professionals, a family member, colleague or friend, self-help program online or a book.

– One goes to research and psychology and systematically acquires knowledge of how to work with anxiety. In these programs, one is encouraged to proceed in a systematic and planned manner, which is crucial because it is the one who has anxiety who will have control over the training plan. Mastering feeling and predictability are crucial, says Berge.

  • Bluepages. no / MoodGym – Anxiety disorder under the auspices of the University of Tromsø, which has developed Norwegian versions of online programs that can help against ailments such as anxiety and depression.
  • emeistring. no – Anxiety mastering under the auspices of the University of Bergen.

3. Cognitive Approach

You can help yourself out of fear

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Being aware of negative thoughts and working toward changing them can be a useful tool. “Cognitive” refers to what we perceive and think of something at a particular time; how we experience and interpret what is happening. The method is usually combined with specific anxiety training in anxious situations.

The book of Berge and Repåls contains several cognitive techniques.

4. Relaxation Techniques

Changing the bodily reaction, for example by using relaxation techniques, can help reduce anxiety. These may be relaxation techniques such as autogenous exercise or other exercises that you can learn from a physiotherapist, psychologist or psychiatrist, we read on the Health of Mind. no.

Some find out for themselves and practice daily relaxing in quiet surroundings for monotonous or muted music. If you practice such a technique, you can practice it when you feel restless and tense. If you use it as soon as you know that an anxiety attack is on your way, you can sometimes stop it, but at least reduce it.

5. Breathing Techniques

If an increase in breath affects the breath, everyone will automatically breathe fast and superficially. The problem is NOT that you get too little oxygen (air), but one is breathing too much CO2.

If one puts a bag in front of the mouth and breathes in the air, one will give the body back some of the amount of CO2 the body needs. You can also regain control of your breath by thinking of a matchbox.

You can help yourself out of fear

– Be co-worker, not a therapist

You can help yourself out of fear

Therefore, do things you do not like

You should think that you are breathing in and out along the long sides of the matchbox, and then hold your breath a little while your thoughts move along the short sides.

More about breathing techniques, you can read the Web Psychiatrist. no.

Sources: Cramped rooms and open spaces. Help for coping with anxiety, panic and phobia, Chapter 11: How to control your anxiety? (Torkil Berge and Arne Repål, Aschehoug 2012), Mind Health. no / Tor Jacob Moe, Head of Department at Psychiatric Clinic, Haukeland Hospital, Mental Health. No / Council for Mental Health and Nursing Psychiatrist. no – an independent website that provides information about common mental disorders and treatment.

Also read:

Test Yourself: Do you have an alcohol problem?

8 signs that you have a health problem

How to check your form yourself



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