Things You Can Do Now To Counteract GAD
1. Order Mastery of Your Anxiety and Worry
This manual is produced by the Treatments That Work program and provides detailed, step-by-step procedures for assessing and treating GAD. These procedures are based on empirically tested treatment programs that have been proven successful in treating GAD.
2. Discriminate between productive worry and unproductive worry.
- “signals” that you have a legitimate problem to address
- involves concerns over current problems (e.g. “what if I can’t afford my daughter’s college tuition?” “what if I don’t finish my paper?”)
- Often alert you to take some action
- invite problem-solving to address the worry
- “noise” that is distractive, repetitious and unnecessary
- concerns over hypothetical problems (e.g. “what if my wife gets in a serious automobile accident some day?” “What is the market crashes and we lose all our money?”)
3. Actively respond to productive worries
- Define your current problem, and list all the components of the problem
- List all possible solutions. What is necessary to handle each concern?
- Decide whether to go forward or retreat
- Take action based on your possible solutions
4. Cope with unproductive worries
- Postpone your worry. Choose a specific time in the future when you will return to the worry. When that time comes, try to postpone the worry again. If you can’t postpone again, focus directly on the worry, but for only one minute.
- Challenge your worry with the question “What really are the chances this worry will come true?”
- Observe your worry at a distance (“I see myself having this thought, but I don’t have to buy into it”). Writing your worry down when you have it promotes distancing yourself from the worry
5. Develop relaxation skills to deal with the physical symptoms of anxiety
This might include:
- Calm breathing. This involves slowing down your breathing by breathing in deeply through your nose and exhaling slowly through your mouth.
- Muscle relaxation. This involves focusing on and “letting go” of all the major muscle groups in your body.
- Meditation. Meditation can have two benefits. First, it releases physical tension and calms down the nervous system. Second, it promotes control of anxious thinking by promoting detached, quiet observation of worrisome thoughts.
6. Consider lifestyle changes that ameliorate generalized anxiety.
- Limit caffeine and sugar
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid alcohol and nicotine
- Get sufficient sleep