The unpleasant symptoms most likely to be helped by medication are the very ones that the 10 best-ever anxiety-management techniques are intended to correct. They fall into three typical clusters:
- the physical arousal that constitutes the terror of panic;
- the "wired" feelings of tension that correlate with being "stressed out" and can include pit-of-the-stomach doom;
- the mental anguish of rumination--a brain that won't stop thinking distressing thoughts.
A therapist armed with methods for addressing these clusters can offer her anxious client the promise of relief for a lifetime, if she knows which of these "10 best" techniques work for which symptoms, and how to use them.
Cluster One: Distressing Physical Arousal
Panic is the physical arousal that sends many clients running for Xanax. Sympathetic arousal causes the heart-thumping, pulse-racing, dizzy, tingly, shortness-of-breath physical symptoms that can come from out of the blue, and are intolerable when not understood. Even high levels of acute anxiety that aren't as intense as outright panic attacks can constitute very painful states of arousal. Physical symptoms of anxiety include constant heightened physical tension in the jaw, neck, and back, as well as an emotional-somatic feeling of doom or dread in the pit of the stomach. The feeling of doom will always set off a mental search for what might be causing it.
Bad as these symptoms are, there are methods that, when followed regularly as lifelong habits, offer tremendous relief.