Anxiety Myth #15: There is a 'special' fast way to get rid of anxiety symptoms
Another common anxiety myth: you can get rid of anxiety symptoms quickly.
Many people who are new to anxiety disorder hope that there is a ‘special’ fast way to get rid of anxiety sensations, feelings, and symptoms. Unfortunately, there are many people and organizations that claim they offer fast fixes for anxiety sensations, feelings, and symptoms. But are there ‘special’ ways to quickly eliminate anxiety sensations, feelings, and symptoms?
Before we answer that question, some background is required to put our answer into context:
Anxiety sensations and feelings
Behaving apprehensively creates the physiological, psychological, and emotional state of anxiety.
For more information about what causes anxiety, see our “Anxiety 101” section.
Being anxious causes the body to trigger a stress response. The stress response causes the body to secrete stress hormones (adrenaline, cortisol, and others) into the bloodstream where they travel to targeted spots in the body to bring about specific physiological, psychological, and emotional changes that enhance the body’s ability to deal with a threat - to either fight with or flee from it - which is the reason the stress response is often referred to as the fight or flight response.
When the stress response is active, the body is going to both experience the changes the stress response brings about AND sensations associated with those changes.
For example, since stress hormones are stimulants, many people experience a quickening heart rate, trembling, ‘rubber legs,’ and a racing mind when they behave apprehensively, such as worry. These feelings are directly related to the stimulation effect of the stress hormones. As long as the body has stress hormones in the bloodstream, these stress hormones will bring about their intended changes and the sensations associated with these changes.
To end these sensations and feelings, we need only bring an end to the active stress response and give the body time to recover. As the body uses up or expels the excess stress hormones, the body returns to its normal, non-emergency readiness state. Once the body returns to its normal state, all of the changes associated with the stress response end along with their sensations and feelings.
In this regard, there is a relatively quick way to end anxiety sensations and feelings. And that is to bring an end to the active stress response and give the body time to recover.
There are many ways to end an active stress response, such as calming yourself down; relaxed diaphragmatic breathing; making your body feel loose, heavy, and relaxed; and so on. Depending on the degree of stress response, it may take anywhere from a few moments to 30 minutes or so for an active stress response to end.
For more information about this, see “The Stress Response” in Chapter 3 in the Recovery Support area.
When our sensations and feelings of anxiety are caused by apprehensive behavior and an accompanying stress response, containing your apprehensive behavior and ending the active stress response will bring an end to anxiety sensations and feelings.
For more information about containment, see “Containment: A key strategy for controlling anxiety and eliminating anxiety disorder” in Chapter 6 of the Recovery Support area.
As such, there are ‘special’ fast ways to end anxiety sensations and feelings. And you can do it naturally. With practice, you can do it every time and without the need of anything else.
Are there any over-the-counter special ‘remedies’ and ‘quick-fix cures’ that end anxiety sensations and feelings?
Yes. Anything that will calm the body can work, such as Chamomile tincture, massage, a hug, talking with someone who is helping to calm you down, or anything you think is calming will work.
But are they necessary?
No. As we stated, you can do this all by yourself simply by knowing how to calm yourself and relax the body. (The body has a far more powerful calming agent than anything we can take. The key is knowing how to activate it.)
While there are relatively quick ways to eliminate anxiety-caused sensations and feelings that are caused by apprehensive behavior and the accompanying stress responses, there aren’t when the body becomes stress-response hyperstimulated.
Stress-response hyperstimulation occurs when the body has experienced too frequent and/or dramatic stress responses. When the body becomes overly stressed due to too frequent and/or dramatic stress responses, it can remain in a state of semi-stress response readiness. This semi-stress response readiness state can cause similar sensations and feelings as an active stress response. The difference, however, is that these sensations and feelings can linger long after an active stress response has ended. In this case, these lingering sensations and feelings won’t end even if you bring an end to an active stress response. We call these lingering sensations and feelings anxiety symptoms.
For more information about the difference between anxiety sensations and anxiety symptoms, see the “Understanding and Eliminating Anxiety Sensations and Symptoms” section in Chapter 6 in the Recovery Support area.
One of the main reasons people become embroiled in a battle with anxiety disorder is because of relentless, seemingly uncontrollable symptoms, which they then become concerned about.
When the body becomes stress-response hyperstimulated and symptomatic, it can take a very long time for the body to recover to the point where it eliminates anxiety symptoms. This time frame is often much longer than most people think.
Moreover, it can not only take a long time to recover, it can also take a lot of work. Nevertheless, when we do the right work and give the body sufficient time to recover, the body will recover from hyperstimulation and its symptoms.
The good news is that there is a way to successfully treat hyperstimulation and its symptoms. Anyone can do it with the right information, help, and support. The bad news is that recovering from hyperstimulation isn’t easy or quick.
In this regard, there aren’t any ‘special’ fast ways to eliminate symptoms caused by hyperstimulation. Overcoming anxiety-caused symptoms requires eliminating the body’s hyperstimulated state. As we mentioned, that’s generally not a quick or easy process.
Yes, there are some things you can do to lessen symptoms, such as the strategies we mentioned to end an active stress response. But there aren’t any fast ways to recover from hyperstimulation. Doing so requires doing the right things and for a long enough period of time.
For more information about stress-response hyperstimulation and recovery, see the many sections in Chapters 4 and 6 in the Recovery Support area.
How can this myth hamper recovery?
If you believe there is a fast way to eliminate anxiety symptoms, you can spend a lot of time searching for and trying them only to find that none of them work over the long-term. Not getting sufficient or permanent relief may lead you to believe there is no hope for your anxiety, which could lead you to struggle long-term…and needlessly.
How can this myth make things worse?
If, after unsuccessfully trying all of the quick-fix cures and remedies, you conclude that your anxiety is beyond help, you might conclude that your situation is hopeless. Feeling hopeless is a common cause of anxiety and depression.
But if you believe eliminating anxiety sensations, feelings, and symptoms is a process that you can be 100 percent in control of, that realization alone can bring hope, which can alleviate a great deal of unnecessary anxiety and feelings of being depressed.
Anxiety symptoms aren’t things that you can’t control or indications that something ‘serious’ has gone wrong with your body. Anxiety symptoms occur for specific reasons. When we address those reasons and give the body ample time to recover, it will, which will include causing the cessation of anxiety symptoms. Working with an experienced anxiety therapist, coach, or counsellor can teach you these important skills.
All of us at anxietycentre.com have experienced problematic anxiety and know how out of control it can seem. But we also know that there are many ways we can gain control over it. Getting the right information, help, and support, and then doing the right work and for long enough, is all that is required to successfully address anxiety unwellness. No one needs to suffer needlessly!
Anxiety isn't something that needs to be cured because it isn’t an illness. Dealing with our apprehensive behaviors, which cause issues with anxiety, and knowing how to address the physiological effects of anxious behavior addresses the entire anxiety unwellness problem. Anyone can do this work with the right information, help, and support.
Again, no one needs to suffer endlessly. There is help available. Many people have overcome issues with problematic anxiety, including all of us at anxietycentre.com. The road to success is clear and well traveled. Those who do the right work can succeed!
For more information about anxiety, anxiety disorder, and recovery, see our “Anxiety 101” section.
The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - we call these core causes the underlying factors of anxiety - a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.
For more information about our Anxiety Counseling option; our Available Anxiety Therapists; to Book An Appointment with one of our anxiety therapists; common Anxiety Signs and Symptoms; common Anxiety Attack Symptoms; the symptoms of panic attack disorder; anxiety Recovery Support area; information about Anxiety; and our Anxiety 101 section; or click on the appropriate link or graphic below:
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Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated September 2016.