Wednesday, July 20, 2016

How to calm an anxious mind

I have found that a simple form of meditation which can be done even while driving can greatly help. In my head, I repeat over and over the word "one".

Public Release: 18-May-2016
How to calm an anxious mind
Concordia University researchers are making mental health treatments easier 'for those who need it most'
Concordia University

Anxiety disorders and related problems such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are among the most common mental health conditions. At least one in four Canadians will have an anxiety disorder in their lifetime.

While effective therapies for these often-debilitating disorders exist, many sufferers find them very difficult to engage with or complete. This prompted researchers at Concordia University in Montreal to look for ways to make treatment easier to handle for those who need it most.

In studies recently published in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders and forthcoming in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Concordia psychology researchers Hannah Levy and Adam Radomsky show that the very behaviours people use to avoid anxiety could become part of an effective treatment, and that patients have a significant role to play in deciding when those behaviours are no longer necessary.

adomsky and Levy focus on safety behaviours -- things people do to make themselves feel less anxious. Examples include wearing gloves when touching dirty objects, avoiding eye contact during stressful interactions, distracting yourself when doing something scary -- any behaviour that increases feelings of safety in anxiety-provoking situations.

"Traditionally, psychologists thought that fading out or eliminating these behaviours entirely should be the primary focus of the therapy used to combat anxiety disorders. But we found that changing those behaviours and giving patients greater agency is much more effective," says Radomsky, professor in Concordia's Department of Psychology and senior author of the studies.


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