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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5450
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Is their away to stop the mind from a repetitive thought process

Resolved Question:

Is their away to stop the mind from a repetitive thought process and irrational thinking without the use sedatives? I suffer from a anxiety disorder, my condition is non-psychotic.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It is very common with anxiety disorder to have problems with repetitive thoughts. The very nature of anxiety is worry and fear, caused by your thought patterns. Anxiety symptoms can cause distress and as a result, you experience uncertainty and doubt about what is ok to do and not ok to do.

One of the best techniques in dealing with anxiety based thoughts is called thought stopping. It is basically a simple technique that with practice, becomes very effective. It works by helping you control your thoughts and turn them into positive and calming messages rather than anxiety producing ones.

Whenever you have a thought come into your mind that you do not want, you simply say "Stop!". Then you replace these thoughts with ones that calm you. It helps if you develop a list ahead of time and write them down so you can easily access them and don't have to worry about coming up with something on the spot to counteract the negative thoughts. This helps you break the cycle of bothersome thoughts and anxiety to more calming and peaceful thoughts.

You can also practice other techniques to help yourself. Try relabeling your thoughts. When you have a thought that bothers you, try accepting it. Tell yourself that your thoughts will not hurt you and therefore they are just thoughts. Accepting often lets you relax instead of fighting the thought. Fighting the thought makes it stay.

Also, tell yourself that the thoughts are just a part of your anxiety. It is not who you are, just a symptom. It is distracting, but it does not own you.

You can also use a rubber band on your wrist as a deterrent to negative thoughts. Each time you have one, snap the band (not hard). It can provide negative reinforcement.

Here are some resources that may help you:

The User's Guide to the Human Mind: Why Our Brains Make Us Unhappy, Anxious, and Neurotic and What We Can Do about It by Shawn T. Smith

The Imp of the Mind: Exploring the Silent Epidemic of Obsessive Bad Thoughts by Lee Baer

I hope this has helped you,
Kate
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

When I dont use sedatives to sleep, the anxiety and repetitive thought keeps me up all night, try my best to switch off, looking at the clock every hour to see how much time left till for work in the morning, mind, body and heart not resting, how am I going to cope at work with no sleep? More I lose sleep more anxious I get more, and more thoughts of cardiac arrest because of the lack of sleep.

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

You may want to try practicing the techniques during the day before you stop the sedatives at night, so when you do stop the sedatives, you will already be used to using the techniques to stop your thoughts.

It would also help to use relaxation techniques so you can easily calm yourself when you do have the thoughts. Anxiety is caused by your thoughts so if you can relax your body, you may be better able to relax your mind. Here is a link to describe a very commonly used relaxation technique with anxiety:

http://www.guidetopsychology.com/pmr.htm

Here is another book that is very useful in helping with your thoughts and learning to relax. It also helps you understand anxiety better so you can work on reducing your anxiety, even without medication:

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund Bourne

Kate

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Good idea practice during the day! Another problem associated with anxiety is the fear of death the slightest twich in my chest makes me nervous like something wrong with my heart, worry about illnesses and thoughts of mortality, and life after death.

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

Your fear is extremely common with anxiety. Almost everyone who has anxiety reports the fear of death as a symptom they grapple with constantly. It helps to see your doctor to clear yourself medically. And once you do that, Cognative Behavioral therapy (CBT) is very helpful in addressing your issues and helping you get to the root of your anxiety and resolving it. It is a matter of changing your thoughts from ones that are causing you to be fearful to ones that keep you calm. When you are anxious, your thoughts are causing your mind to think your in danger. Your body reacts by releasing adrenaline into your system. It is much like after you have had a bad scare like a car accident. Your body releases the adrenaline and you feel unreal, your legs turn to jelly, you have trouble thinking and your body may feel it's tingling. You just don't notice it as much because your focus is on what is going on around you. Except with anxiety, there is no focus. The only thing you have to focus on is how you feel and the fear that something is wrong with you. So every little twinge is cause for panic.
It may not feel like it, but the panic does subside. The adrenaline in your system does deplete and needs time to replenish. But because your thoughts are probably always on alert, so is your body. This may be why you always feel anxious and scared and why you are so focused on something being wrong.

Kate

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Even though I suffer from chronic anxiety I rarely have a anxiety attack, sometims when Im anxious my heart rate is normal between 60-100 beats p/m. My question when you are feeling slightly anxious but still within the 60-100 bpm, is cortisol still being released?

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

It could be. That is a good question for your doctor just to be sure.

Kate

If you're satisfied with my response, please rate me highly. Thank you!

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5450
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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