By: David Lowbridge - Transcending Waves
Anxiety is a challenge for many people around the world. According to health professionals, just under a fifth of all adults in the US suffer from anxiety annually. This equates to just over 40 million adults. What is more troubling, is that only a third will receive treatment for this crippling mental health condition.
What Do Sufferers Without Anxiety Treatment Experience?
There are many types of anxiety that people can experience. Social anxiety disorder is one of the most common forms of anxiety and is described as the fear of being negatively evaluated, judged or rejected in a social situation.
Social anxiety can really affect people’s lives if they can’t manage it. For some, they’ll reject job opportunities if there is too much interaction with other people, or they can decline social gatherings for fear of being humiliated while there.
However, despite the wide availability of social anxiety treatment, very few people (less than 5%) actually seek medical support. There are various reasons for this, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t options for the 95% who don’t seek treatment. In fact, there are some easy anxiety treatments you can try at home without the need to visit a medical professional.
One of the best treatments for anxiety is to keep a journal/use a planner for every day activities.
How Does A Planner Help With Anxiety Treatment At Home?
Anxiety treatment relies on removing the fear from participating in activities. Whether that activity is about social interactions, completing a task (i.e. stage fright), or specific to being near an animal.
There are two ways that a planner can help with this. The first is to remind the sufferer about positive experiences associated with the event causing the fear (i.e. positive social interactions) or by setting goals to move on from the fear (i.e. like a set of goals to get over a fear of spiders).
The first step of this is really important. Writing down positive experiences helps the anxiety sufferer to actually remember the positive experiences and realize that their fears aren’t as bad as they think. Life coaches recommend using a journal for this reason. They believe that if you can get enough positive experiences written down, then you’ll start to see past what you expect as a pattern and see the true pattern of events.
Writing down the experiences is vital. Humans are bad at remembering events as they truly are. Within twenty-four hours we forget about half of what we learnt or experienced the previous day. Within one week, we’ve forgotten nearly 90% of what we learned. For someone with anxiety this can mean they’ve forgotten all the positive interactions and concentrated on all the negative interactions.
By journaling, memories aren’t being lost. Nor is the brain able to adjust them into something that is turned into something negative. Therefore, you can look back on events and know that they are a true representation of what happened. This is a very powerful tool.
Setting Goals For Overcoming Fears
For many people, anxiety is related to a specific action or stimuli. It might be about a task at work, an animal you come into contact with, or something else. These fears can be overcome by regularly setting goals to move towards completing the specific task or experience.
For instance, those with a fear of snakes can start off by seeing snakes in a zoo, then touch one at a handling experience, before feeling confident enough to handle a snake themselves. By this point the anxiety around snakes is gone and the sufferer can move on. These goals need to be written down in a journal. At the same time, the sufferer can write down their emotions at each step of the journey to overcoming their fear.
Turning Anxiety Treatment At Home Into An Action Orientated Journey
For your anxiety treatment at home to work, you will need to start completing your journal in a very methodical way. Here is a quick guide that will help. This guide will help you whether you have a specific anxiety or generalized anxiety. It may not be the only anxiety treatment you need, but most life coaches would recommend this as a starting point.
Step One: Every night write down your emotions for the current events in your life for about fifteen minutes. This should be enough to describe your fears/emotions but without going into too much detail. You should include how this will affect you and keep everything within chronological order.
Step Two: Now look at your fears and see if there are other options for you. Could your life be different from what it is now? If it could, what actions could you take to make those changes? How do those changes make you feel? When you look at the fears about what could happen, argue with yourself about whether or not those could really happen. Have there been cases before? If so, what happened and how could you realistically avoid those cases from happening again?
Step Three: Write about each concern in a different way. You should try to write about it in a positive manner at least two times if possible.
Step Four: Come up with an action plan that removes the emotional fear from the event and turn it into positive action points. For instance, for a fear of spiders, think about picking the spider up, using a glass or other tool to help, and removing it from your presence. That is a good action point.
Step Five: Review past entries and see if you’ve completed any actions that you have previously planned. Have you attended that Christmas work party? If yes, cross it off. This action can give you a sense of accomplishment that can make you realize that you are being more positive and your fears aren’t realistic.
Don’t Suffer In Silence, Take The First Step In Anxiety Treatment
A planner might not be the only treatment you need for anxiety, but it could be the first step in your journey. If you’re looking at getting a journal, try the Transcending Waves Planner. Other people like you have tried our planner and have said it has helped them to overcome their anxiety. Here are some videos they’ve posted online about their experiences with the planner.