Recent Posts by cris matsunaga

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Anxiety

What does cognitive behavioural therapy involve? Cognitive behavoural therapy posits that how you think affects how you feel, and that your emotions influence your behaviour. Therefore if you think realistic, helpful thoughts you will feel and function better. The example below  — for someone who fears having a panic attack on a train — highlights the interaction between thoughts, physical symptoms and behaviour.  


“Im going to have a panic attack”. I always panic on trains”. “I’ll sweat and shake, everyone will see I’m anxious and think I’m weird”


You start to sweat and shake


“I feel so sick, I must look...

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Exposure Therapy for Anxiety Disorders

Exposure therapy is often essential if you are to overcome your anxiety disorder.The cognitive behavioural treatment of  conditions such as: panic with agoraphobia, simple phobias, social anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and post traumatic stress usually entails an exposure component. That is, you must subject yourself in the situations you are worried about. Although this sounds frightening, your therapist will give you the tools to cope with confronting your fears (e.g. rational thinking, slow breathing and isometric relaxation). The guidelines for exposure are that the sessions must be
  • graded
  • repeated and regular
  • prolonged
Graded: Your therapist will work with you to determine what would be an appropriate first step; it should be difficult enough to provoke some anxiety but easy enough for you to be fairly...
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Slow breathing to decrease anxiety and panic

Many anxiety sufferers breathe too fast and shallow. When confronted with a feared scenario  they breathe rapidly which leads to increased shortness of breath and further hyperventilation.

Some Symptoms of Hyperventilation

  • dizziness
  • lightheadedness
  • lump in the throat
  • fatigue
  • poor concentration
  • choking sensation
  • difficulty swallowing
  • racng heart
  • shaking
  • blurred vision
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • disorientation
  • tingly sensations  or numbness in the hands, feet and mouth

People who chronically breathe too fast tend to: sigh often, take deep breaths and feel short of breath.

Slow breathing can relieve anxiety and prevent you from having a panic attack, if you do it as soon as you notice yourself overbreathing or becoming anxious. Socially phobic and panicky people are advised...

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Relaxation techniques to reduce anxiety

Our bodies respond to anxiety provoking thoughts and feared situations with muscle tension. When an anxious person interprets a situation as threatening the fight or flight response is triggered , hormones are released and the involuntary nervous system gets the muscles tense ready to help the individual to respond to danger (Andrews, Crino, Hunt, Lampe & Page,1994).

Constant muscle tension can make people feel cranky, fatigued & apprehensive and develop muscle pain and soreness as well as headaches (Andrews et al, 1994) People are more likely to have panic attacks when they are in a constant state of tension as they are already highly stressed so a minor  event could cause further...
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