Anxiety can be treated using the mind’s eye

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Because I am certain that Addiction should be considered an anxiety disorder for treatment purposes, I spend a lot of time researching means to treat anxiety disorders. However, I also spend time researching anxiety treatment because life presents me with many worrisome situations that can trigger an anxiety episode if I’m not careful. Luckily, I recently stumbled on a home study course presented by Dr. Jennifer Abel called, “101 Practical Strategies for the Treatment of GAD, Panic, OCD, Social Anxiety Disorder, Phobias and Insomnia.” I sat through the presentation and then reviewed various strategies in more detail. Among the many great tips she presents is called the “8 P’s” and they are:

  1. Prevent – worrisome thoughts from getting out of control
  2. Present – focusing on one’s senses
  3. Pleasant – memories or fantasies
  4. Positive – Better But Believable
  5. Problem-solving
  6. Planning
  7. Postponing
  8. Process words when relaxing

Now, all 8 are very useful to me, but lately it seems like the “Pleasant” though processing has been the most useful for me, personally. One way that I’ve adapted the “pleasant” strategy is to focus on a photograph of an experience that either calmed me or through which I experienced some form of joy. The photo above is just such a picture.

A few weeks ago, dark forces swirled around me almost to an overwhelming level. I awoke one Friday and realized that I needed to take action because if I didn’t, I may become very hard to deal with. The worry would develop into full-blown anxiety and then I’d be pretty much a mess. So, I collected my fishing gear and mountain bike and headed to the Pecos Wilderness and to one of my favorite places on earth.

In the high country, there’s a point at which Jack’s creek, Cowles creek, and the Panchuela creek all flow into the Pecos River. At this point, there’s a rock that juts into the water and provides an overhang under which fish enjoy their lives. The river provides them with an abundance of critters that they snack upon without much effort. To me, it seems like quite the life.

When I arrived at the spot, I may as well have removed a hundred pound backpack because the darkness that was stifling me was instantly gone. I prepped my rod and fished for a few hours, caught my limit, and came home re-energized to face the darkness surrounding my life. No more worry, no more anxiety. Before I left, I snapped the picture above as a reminder of the healing energy I found there.

And the photo has really served the purpose: I’ve been meditating on it and I have found that the same energy flows from my mind’s eye and has calmed me, regardless of what I’ve faced these last few weeks. I am certain that the “pleasant” of the 8 strategies Dr. Abel presented does work and I recommend that if you are trapped in a “worry spiral,” stop, find a photo and let your mind focus on the experience that led to its capture and I have no doubt you’ll be able to face whatever’s causing the worry spiral with a much better mindset. Anxiety can be treated without drugs or alcohol. I do it all the time…..

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