While you may want to ask for specific instructions on exactly what to do to feel better right now, this is not always the best approach to recovery in the long term.
Asking for instructions can become a bit frustrating and overwhelming as you find yourself returning again and again for instructions based on today’s thought, sensation, or specific fear.  Focusing on understanding and applying the concepts and principles of recovery is a better approach that leads to longer lasting and more durable results.   Knowing the principles of anxiety and recovery means that you no longer need specific instructions for every situation.  Instead, you become better equipped to stand on your own as you successfully navigate through previously “impossible” situations. Learning and applying principles allows you to give your brain the productive experiences it needs to move down the path to recovery.


Episode Highlights:

  • (02:45)…How often have you looked up the 5 things you can do right now to lower your
    anxiety? We are naturally drawn to these because we feel so out of control and we want
    anything to help us fight the anxiety NOW. But instructions are ‘now-focused.’ They do
    not help us recover over the long term.
  • (04:20)…If you’re in the early stages of recovery and crave the instant relief from the
    instructions, that is okay. However, if you are a little further along your journey, you may
    have already noticed that these instructions only offer temporary relief, they are not
    sustainable. Tomorrow, you could be back on the internet, searching for more tips that
    will make you feel better right ‘now.’
  • (06:00)…When you seek out these prescriptive instructions again and again, you can
    start to feel buried in them. Suddenly, you have certain breathing techniques you have to
    do every day, you need grounding, mantras, oils, nature, calm smells, calm sounds, you
    need to touch this thing or breathe in that thing or eat this thing. It gets to be too
  • (08:15)…If you’re instruction based right now, you might be feeling overwhelmed,
    frustrated or even discouraged because it feels like you’re never going to recover. You
    keep doing the things, but the anxiety and panic just keeps coming back. What can you
    do to have longer lasting results and get out of the cycle? – You’ve got to learn the
    principles of anxiety and recovery.
  • (10:40)…When we step back and try to understand what the nature of this disordered
    anxiety really is, we can finally stop spinning on the hamster wheel of instructions.
  • (12:05)…”Okay these sound right. I don’t like them, but they sound right. I’m going to
    really embrace these principles, try to understand and I’m going to apply these things to
    my own recovery journey. I’m going to step away from people telling me what I have to
    do every minute of every day and I’m going to start to understand what I have to do so I
    can do it myself.
  • (14:25)…It’s important to note that taking the principled approach to recovery means that
    you’re going to have to take on a whole lot more responsibility. While that might seem
    scary or even impossible, we have to acknowledge that learning and applying the
    principles of recovery is what’s going to help you actually recover. Principles beat
    instructions every time!
  • (17:00)…Moral of the story? – If you’re feeling stuck on the treadmill and don’t feel like
    you’re getting better, please do not give up. You are not broken. You did not fail. If you
    are here, take a step back and start to think about how you can approach your recovery
    a bit differently by learning and applying the principles of disordered anxiety and
    recovery. It will make a great, big difference!


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Podcast Intro/Outro Music: "Afterglow" by Ben Drake (With Permission)






Founder and host of The Anxious Truth podcast. Graduate student and therapist-in-training. Author and educator on the topic of anxiety disorders and anxiety recovery. Former anxious and depressed person.