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Forums / Staying well / Psychological Exercises for Anxiety/Depression

Topic: Psychological Exercises for Anxiety/Depression

2 posts, 0 answered
  1. Sawyer
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Sawyer avatar
    56 posts
    27 June 2015

    Hi everyone,

    For those of you who don't know, I have experience with anxiety disorders and depression both as a psychologist and as an individual. I detailed a method for dealing with those downward spirals that are accompanied by anxiety, panic, racing thoughts, problematic thought patterns. This was something I really struggled with personally and figuring out a way to combat this was massive in getting me where I am today.

    This is a good mental exercise you can do when you start feeling anxious, the thoughts start to speed up and you feel like you are losing control. Try to find a quiet place and imagine an object in your head that you are familiar with and that isn't a trigger for you. For me this was often a soccer ball, but theoretically you could use anything. Try to focus on that object, start with the overall shape, draw it in your mind, and then slowly add detail to it. Whenever you feel problematic thoughts creeping back in, refocus on the object, relax and breathe. Then you can begin spinning the object in your mind. Try to make it spin faster and slower. See if you can stop it. This is a very difficult thing to do because of the way our brains are wired, and will require practice. You may find that you have difficulty focussing, but that is the whole point! the exercise is about putting you back in the drivers seat of your mind. 

    You can also try doing a task that requires very fine motor skills and concentration. For me this was playing piano, painting, or when I didn't have access to these things, even simple motor skill tasks using my hands, like spinning a pen between my fingers. 

    The science behind these two tasks is that it serves the dual purpose of being cognitively draining (thus leaving us with little brain power to ruminate, put ourselves down, and worry) and by making us focus intently on something unrelated to what is upsetting or stressing us. 

    It might not be easy, and you may have to really focus and be persistent with these exercises. Those negative thoughts will fight back. But when I applied them, I found these tasks to be hugely helpful, as have many others. You just need to have to will to try and implement them. 

    Let me know if either of these work for you, if not, let me know why and I'm happy to discuss alternatives that might suit you better.

    Hope everyone is having a good day,

    Sawyer

    1 person found this helpful
  2. Sawyer
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Sawyer avatar
    56 posts
    27 June 2015 in reply to Sawyer

    I meant to say

    I detailed a method for dealing with those downward spirals that are accompanied by anxiety, panic, racing thoughts, problematic thought patterns in the welcome forum, in response to someone asking for help.

    However I thought it might be useful to repost here, so anyone who wants to can use this as reference without it getting buried in the larger thread.

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