anxietyAnxiety often goes hand in hand with mood cycles. In fact, for some people anxiety is a bigger problem than depression. But the types of treatment that can help with anxiety are often different than the types that help with extreme moods. For one thing, psychotherapy is generally more effective for anxiety than medications. And some medications that can help with anxiety have adverse effects on mood.

So, what works? It depends on the kind of anxiety, but for many kinds of anxiety these things help:

Meditation – Mindfulness practice, as well as types of meditation that involve focusing on an object, a sound, or an image, can be helpful.

Learning Meditation – is a very useful site for those interested in learning more about meditation techniques.

Mindfulness Meditation Instruction – The Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA has downloadable (and free) meditation guides of various lengths and in various formats.

These books might be useful.

  • Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman
  • A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook by Bob Stahl and Elisha Goldstein
  • The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn PhD
  • Mindfulness in Plain English by Henepola Gunaratana
  • Indigo Dreams: Adult Relaxation

One trick that we find especially useful is to start the practice of meditation with someone talking you through it. Take a class (many hospitals offer courses) or download a few of these MP3’s (they are inexpensive, so you can try a few until you find one that appeals to you).

Cognitive Therapy – The term may seems daunting, but it is really a systematic way of unlearning patterns of thought that become bad habits. For instance, some people, in a new social situation, will routinely run through an internal “tape” that is loaded with negative judgments about how others see them. And this tape runs whether or not there is any evidence that supports it.

  • The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-by-Step Program by William J. Knaus
  • Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns
  • The Feeling Good Handbook by David D. Burns
  • When Panic Attacks: The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life by David D. Burns
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Dummies by Rhena Branch and Rob Willson
  • The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook by Martha Davis,‎ Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman,‎ Matthew McKay