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1 0 0 Q U E S T I O N S & A N S W E R S A B O U T A N X I E T Y
exercise, and social relatedness correlate directly with
patients reports of feeling better, it also comes as no
surprise that we often neglect to take care of ourselves
in these basic ways. Sometimes the demands of child
care, finances, or the workplace make it impossible to
sleep more or work less, and the costs of these demands
accumulate. Sometimes we want the best of both
worlds to cheat the demands of our body by thinking
we do not need to apply the basic laws of human phys-
iology to our own situation and yet still feel just as
good and productive. Like with the rest of life, being having to do with
normal functioning
human means that the bottom line of our personal ac-
of body systems and
counting is a human one. Almost everyone feels better
when he is rested, well-nourished, and in shape. Sim-
ply making interventions in one of the above depart-
ments may make it that much easier for you to manage
your symptoms or to help make the transition off of the
medications you already take for anxiety.
Selma s comments:
I considered myself cool at one time. I was  with it in the
current scene of what everyone was doing. I thought that
this was how people saw me. I thought I was so cool because
I had overcome emotion and feeling. I didn t seem to be
swayed by anything. I looked at those who got emotional or
hysterical or intense or passionate, and while I didn t feel
dead, I also didn t feel moved and could coolly look at the
situation and wonder why they had to make such a fuss. If
there was an argument or reasonable difference of opinion, I
moved away, and I agreed with everyone. Never did I use
the term  anxiety about myself. I had no anxiety, as I
thought I was above the emotional capacity to have it.
At the same time, I was running myself ragged and ex-
hausted. I took care of friends, skipping food for 3 days and
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1 0 0 Q U E S T I O N S & A N S W E R S A B O U T A N X I E T Y
then eating ice cream nonstop, and I constantly recriminat-
ed myself for what I said to anyone from the bus driver to
friends. I felt a gnawing, shaking, physically ominous feel-
ing of lack of control late at night when my husband would
have to work. I never used the word anxiety . . . I was han-
dling my life. I was taking amphetamines (prescribed then
for weight control as well as depression . . . now called
speed) and it dehydrated me. It made me so physically nerv-
ous and jazzed up that I also took sleeping pills to relax and
sleep, which didn t work; I had severe insomnia due to night
frights. I was dreadfully afraid of the night (a carryover
from childhood, but my self-control just didn t work with
night fright), and I smoked.
Working with my doctor, I stopped cold turkey. It was over
. . . the amphetamines and barbiturates, and I never took
them again. Finally, a few years later, I was able to end the
smoking, also forever. I had tried my theories of diet, sleep, ex-
ercise, and social activity, but for me, my attempts were all
backward. My idea before treatment had been to weigh 105
(OK, 104, maybe) and I would handle life because I would be
so secure in my achievement and able to be the perfect weight
to be accepted. I thought my lack of sleep was a major problem;
that exercise could help me; and that the social scene was my
ticket to success. It took years for me to see the backwardness of
my thinking. When I have figured out the roots of my anxiety,
diet, sleep, exercise, and social activity are wonderful parts of
life. But they are not my problem solvers. When I solve my
problems, these become mine with which to enrich my life.
97. Are there any religious approaches to
managing my anxiety?
Religion in its most quotidian and spiritual aspects
can alleviate anxiety. Over the ages, mankind has used
spiritual traditions to cope with the human condition
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and all of its attendant existential anxieties. This ques-
tion stimulates more thoughts than answers, but several
principles come to mind.
If the shoe fits, wear it. If going to church, connecting
to the cultural traditions of your faith, or reading scrip-
ture helps you to cope with the pain and anxiety in your
life, then do it. If prayer helps you access a deeper side
within your mind, do it. Without making any com-
ment about any particular faith or the nature of divini-
ty, it seems safe to say that any process which prompts
you towards introspection and relationship with a per-
son, power, or force that you esteem serves a self-sooth-
ing function.
One principle receiving much focus in Christianity is that
of forgiveness. Dr. Robert Karen s The Forgiving Self: The
Road From Resentment to Connection looks at the psycho-
logical function of forgiveness in its genuine, noncoerced [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]


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