How Do I Find Anxiety Relief?

August 26, 2010 Kate White

Anxious thoughts race through your mind at a thousand miles an hour. Useless thoughts, seemingly going nowhere because they're speeding bullets - they just get stuck in your head. They break all the barriers you set, till you're too tired and overwhelmed to fight.

Wouldn't it be better to put that restless energy to work? Of course!

We're all in charge of our own lives. More or less. Responsibilities, commitments, obstacles outside our direct and total control abound. Open a newspaper and you know that, but at the end of the day we pretty much come home to ourselves. We're in charge of that, the inside part, the "what's going on for you".


Anxiety complicates things. It can feel like you've been dealt a hand full of jacks: You know what the issue is, you know you want to fix it but the "how to" is elusive. That's only natural. Minds don't come with instruction manuals, so it's hard to know what to do when things don't seem OK.

Are you crazy? No. Anxiety is a pretty standard part of the human package. Fear and tension have a place in our lives, but they can get out of hand.

Anxiety Relief From Within

Outside things help us manage anxiety - people, relaxation tapes, pleasant places - but what happens next, where calm comes from, that's inside stuff. It's not just a belief that you can switch on and off, though.

Anxiety treatment takes work. If you feel stuck, that's a signal it's time to make changes in your life. Knowing what to change and being ready for that is a whole different thing.

Treating Anxiety Is Your Job

If you suffer from panic attacks, agoraphobia, obsessive compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety, eating disorders, the list goes on, then when you talk about healing, it's a big thing. It's going to be full-time for a while. The task isn't to "fix" yourself, nor hand things over to somebody maybe you feel is more competent or qualified.

Yes, ask for help. But stay on task. Set your own goals, find the solutions that sit right with who you are, and who you want to be.


Do you just want to not be anxious right now? Or do you want to get beyond that and feel in control in a more meaningful, long-term way?

Because the second option takes time. You'll need to be willing, honest, courageous, strong and stubborn. Question what goes on in your mind. If your thoughts are in overdrive, what set that off? If you want to stop panic, what sort of reaction would you like to have instead?

What would happen if there were things you needed to give up to get to a better, more comfortable place? Relieving anxiety usually requires letting go of a few familiar, maybe not so helpful things.

Are you willing to make realistic goals? And what happens if you have a bad day?

Don't stress too much if you don't have the answers. Hold onto the idea of change.

Manage Anxiety Today

Listen, learn, engage, develop, push yourself a little more each day. Dare yourself to fight for what you want. There are a lot of hard things out there but we do have options and it does help to remember that.

APA Reference
White, K. (2010, August 26). How Do I Find Anxiety Relief?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Kate White

Donna Prusik
October, 22 2010 at 8:56 am

I am 60 years old, recently widowed from a VietNam veteran,and have been dealing with racing thoughts, intrusive thoughts (I call "visions" that are very real at the time.), anxiety, counting endlessly and losing track of the numbers (DRAT!), inability to be social/aversion to crowds/groups, total misunderstanding of life in general (Is there a manual somewhere?) and have going at this 'thing' for 26 years. Seems like the visits to the counselor and group DBT sessions are never going to end. But at least I keep going. At times I feel worthless and wonder why I wake up in the morning, but I've developed the attitude that here is another day at least, to keep trying. I still have problems leaving the past as the "past" and living in the "mindful" moment. What grabs my attention in the morning is usually what gets accomplished and I have trouble with planning and completing plans. My medication regimine (?) sometimes gets interrupted by sleeping too late, but my dog keeps me going. Thanks for your blog and comments anything---and I mean anything is beneficial.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kate White
October, 27 2010 at 12:55 am

Hi Donna,
Sure sounds like you've got a lot going on for you. Obviously I don't have any magical wisdom that's going to fix it all. Wish I did. For all of us. But I can say I get about things like those "visions" (in PTSD-talk they're called flashbacks) and wishing there was a manual. Or maybe just a course even. Life 101. Surely there are some really amazing, wise old people who could teach such a thing?
The cool thing I can hear from what you posted is that you've got a lot of tools to work with. And sure there are a lot of days they don't seem like much, all on their own. But eventually they start to pull the threads together and yeah, the recovery thing, it's a long, slow battle. Until suddenly it isn't. Until things start to click. And then a few more things click. And then you wait, and things you didn't think could ever be OK, they actually are.
What sort of dog have you got? I had golden retrievers growing up. They give the best hugs :)
And yes, at least you keep going! Keep going. Keep going until you find what works for you. That's such an important thing.
I don't think it's about any one therapeutic method or any particular drug or hobby or self help whatever. It's about just that, keeping on going. Because it isn't about how hard it is right now, or how hard it might be tomorrow. It's about the future maybe you can only catch glimpses of. But it's your future all the same.
Thinking of you, and my condolences for your loss.

Kate White
August, 27 2010 at 3:47 pm

Hi Beverly,
Well, 4 hours is bang on the half life of Xanax, so you certainly will feel it wearing off. It's a strong drug, so it's only natural that it creates a certain level of psychological dependence. But that's a long way from addiction! Signs of addiction include things like needing more and more to get the same effect, self-medicating inappropriately/well beyond the recommended dose, restricting life choices in preference of the drug or stock-piling it, etc.
The key thing to know with Xanax, looking at the latest drug research trials, it's a really specific population who get heavily addicted. And for those people, it's terribly difficult to avoid addiction and to get off the drug and they experience serious withdrawal issues. But for everyone else, it's fine!
It's going to depend how long you've been on the Xanax, but I'm guessing awhile. Long enough to know if you're part of that unlucky group who do get heavily addicted almost immediately? And, as you're still on the lowest dose possible, the 0.25mg, then I would imagine you're doing OK.
One thing I want to emphasize is that I'm not a doctor or any kind of mental health professional. If you are concerned about your medication or being addicted to Xanax and would prefer to find another similar medication and give that a go, then please do talk to your psychiatrist/GP. They'll be able to let you know your options.
FYI, there's even a new version of Xanax which is Xanax XR -- an extended release version. Which avoids the initial 'kick' -- that, in itself, can be mildly habit forming, in the psychological sense. It might get you out of feeling that drop in effect and subsequent 'need' for the drug at the 4 hour mark.
Just a thought. But as I said, talk to your doctor about your concerns. There are plenty of other similar medications that might work well, or even better, with Lexapro.
Take care!

August, 27 2010 at 12:39 pm

yES, WHEN i get up in the morning, I plan a lot of work to catch up on. and at the end of the day when i don't get everything done that I planned, I feel really down. I really expect too much of myself. I am on Lexapro 20 g. for depression and xanas for anxiety. I live as I am divorced since 1984 and now retired. That is when I first feeling depressed and anxious about keeping everything in my condo neat and clean. I do go out w/girlfriends to movies and eat out. Xanax helps me some but when 4 hours rolls around, I feel the need for another Xanax, 0.25mg. Am I hooked on these drugs?

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