Anxiety -- Mental Disorder or Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Faith and reasoned thought can give an anxious person some much-needed perspective. For instance one therapist suggests that patients who are experiencing anxiety actually "allow themselves to feel the storm [of anxiety within] whip up, then let it pass, concentrating on not doing anything," rather than retreating to the hectic, hurrying busyness that is often the instinctive treatment for anxious feelings. (Carey, 2004) "This Zen-like self-observation, called mindfulness, is an exercise not in avoidance but in feeling and enduring emotional pain. It dramatizes one principle of the therapy: that what patients do can be independent of how they feel. Emotion does not have to rule behavior." Or to put it more bluntly, as the psychiatrist told one of his patients, "you can feel [anxious] like a mental patient, but that doesn't mean you have to act like one." Accept the feeling, don't feel anxious about feeling anxious, about feeling less than perfect, and simply and let the anxious feelings of worry pass. (Carey, 2004)

The most common sources for anxiety often have their roots in the current pace modern life, which can make every decision and every choice a do-or-die scenario, even if it doesn't have to be so dire. Therapists suggest cognitive methods for disputing catastrophic assumptions. For instance, instead of assuming "I must be inadequate if I can't fix this myself" or assuming it is inappropriate in a relationship to make demands or to refuse them of one's partner, one must approach decisions and conflicts with a sense of perspective and balance. This new stress on balance and self-acceptance, combined with a healthy dose of perspective is a new trend in therapy, what clinicians and health officials are calling "dialectical behavior therapy," a deliberately provocative approach to assumptions a patient might have about him or herself. (Carey, 2005)

Such therapeutic approaches seem admirable -- until one proceeds again into the world outside of the therapeutic hospital or office, and is faced with a heightened sense of anxiety in others that denies a more reasoned view of life. Dialectical challenging of assumptions about the self seems admirable in its attempts to treat negative forms of thinking, but it requires tremendous strength on the part of an individual not simply to overcome such negative coping mechanisms within his or her own mind, but also in the minds of those around him. A stressed out college student experiencing anxiety finds his or her anxious feelings about the future multiplied when faced with an organic chemistry lab filled with equally stressed individuals, as does a morning commuter faced with a highway full of other enraged drivers. Changing the anxiety within is an admirable first step, and changing one's thinking patterns is a positive and healthy first step -- but society as well as the self must shift, to alleviate the anxiety pervading so much of the cultural climate that surrounds every individual self.

Works Cited

Carey, Bernard. (15 Jul 2005) "With Toughness and Caring, a Novel Therapy Helps Tortured Souls." The New York Times. Retrieved 17 Mar 2005 at

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Carey, Bernard. (15 Jul 2005) "With Toughness and Caring, a Novel Therapy Helps Tortured Souls." The New York Times. Retrieved 17 Mar 2005 at

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