Description: There is a LOT of talk, research and theorizing these days about stress and anxiety including discussion of the possibility that there is an epidemic of anxiety among high school, college and university students and emerging adults in general. Early, over-simplistic blame has been laid on smartphone and social media use among adolescents and emerging adults and on heir parents who have not allowed or encouraged them to be more ‘free ranging’ throughout their childhood. We are gaining much deeper insights into the functioning of the evolutionarily old systems through which we experience stress and the useful vigilance it can engender but can sometimes over-produce. All of this together can sometimes take on a semblance of collective catastrophizing or hand wringing about how much anxious trouble we are all potentially in these days. Interestingly, catastrophizing is a core (bad) cognitive habit tightly associated with anxiety issues – something it would be good to figure out how to do less of. Luckily one of the most solidly research supported approaches to helping people deal with symptoms of many mental issues – Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) – can suggest things we can all do to manage, and reduce, our anxiety by ourselves. Now, if anxiety is a consistent issue for you it is a really good idea to go and see someone about it, perhaps starting with your doctor but then, perhaps with referral assistance, to a psychologist with practice expertise related to anxiety. That said, learning a few steps you can take to better understand the patterns of thought you may be engaging in around things that produce anxiety can potentially help you manage your anxiety. If you think this might be helpful for you read the article linked below which was written by a person who coaches managers and CEO’s (people who can have a lot of anxiety to deal with from time to time).
Source: How Anxiety Traps Us, and How We Can Break Free, Sabina Nawaz, Harvard Business Review.
Date: January 2, 2020
Photo Credit: aluxum/Getty Images
Was there anything in the article you found useful? There is a lot a research that clearly informs us that we are not nearly the rational clear-thinking species we would like to believe. By attending to the potential multitude of ways in which our thinking or our beliefs or assumptions may be distorting our view of our actual situations and circumstances we can more clearly see and potentially address the ruminative aspects of our feeling of anxiety. Doing so will not make ALL our stress and anxiousness go away but it could help us to manage enough it that we can see our current realties more clearly AND more clearly see things we might be able to do to move things along more positively thus reducing our anxiety levels. A little self-CBT can be quite helpful and is worth looking in to and thinking about.
Questions for Discussion:
- What might the evolutionary advantages of some aspects of anxiety or anxiousness be?
- How might the evolutionary advantages play out or be adapted for positive purposes in our own day-to-day week-to-week lives?
- The article was written from a coach’s perspective based on experience and a case study example from their private coaching practice. Outline a broader research strategy we might take to “prove out” the possible positive impact of the coach’s practice approach for people (managers, CEOs, students etc.) trying to cope with anxiety in their lives?
References (Read Further):
National Institute of Mental Health (2017) prevalence of Any Anxiety Disorder Among Adults, https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/any-anxiety-disorder.shtml
Anxiety Canada: Youth — Thinking Traps https://youth.anxietycanada.com/thinking-traps#pushme-pullme
Anxiety Canada – Self Help – Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) https://www.anxietycanada.com/articles/self-help-cognitive-behavioural-therapy-cbt/
Hofmann, S. G., & Smits, J. A. (2008). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for adult anxiety disorders: a meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 69(4), 621. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc2409267/
Hirai, M., & Clum, G. A. (2006). A meta-analytic study of self-help interventions for anxiety problems. Behavior Therapy, 37(2), 99-111. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/a874/a743296a3e7d0adef66ba567e702ad0aabdd.pdf
Cuijpers, P., Donker, T., van Straten, A., Li, J., & Andersson, G. (2010). Is guided self-help as effective as face-to-face psychotherapy for depression and anxiety disorders? A systematic review and meta-analysis of comparative outcome studies. Psychological medicine, 40(12), 1943-1957. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/54a4/1b95730bb486b6cc8013476e87e07a95a0c4.pdf
Cuijpers, P., Donker, T., Johansson, R., Mohr, D. C., van Straten, A., & Andersson, G. (2011). Self-guided psychological treatment for depressive symptoms: a meta-analysis. PloS one, 6(6), e21274. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0021274
Bennett, S. D., Cuijpers, P., Ebert, D. D., McKenzie Smith, M., Coughtrey, A. E., Heyman, I., … & Shafran, R. (2019). Practitioner Review: Unguided and guided self‐help interventions for common mental health disorders in children and adolescents: a systematic review and meta‐analysis. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. https://relaped.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/BENNETT-2019.pdf