A Reply by someone who oevrcame their anxiety and left this forum a while back. I really suggest looking at posts by username yeah_yeah_yeah
This was exactly my thoughts on SA and why mindfulness is important.
SA is the product of many years of repeating the same set of behaviours and thoughts over and over, and getting and responding to a particular reaction from the world. Its like a feedback loop that strengthens itself. You know as well as I do that the brain is a learning tool. Imagine it like water running down a hill, every time your brain has that reaction and kicks off the same behaviours, it cuts deep valleys into your mind. Just like a river that carves out its own path in the rock and is then destined to follow that path for millenia, every time you are placed in a similar situation, your subconscious mind will flow down those same valleys that have already been created.
Because of this, and unfortunately, you cant just do one technique and have the whole thing be magically better. God knows everyone here wants that - but the truth of the matter is that there is no quick way to change the way your mind is landscaped.
CBT and mindfulness work well because they allow the higher functions of your mind - your conscious , thinking brain - to begin to control the automatic reactions of the subconscious mind and gradually change how you respond and react to the world. CBT and mindfulness are NOT 'positive thinking', they are not 'lying to yourself' and they are NOT simply learning rapport or social techniques. They are about making a deep, fundamental change in what you focus on, your understanding of what life's events truly mean and WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO DO - instead of being forced to by anxiety.
You GRADUALLY begin to reshape the valleys and rivers of thoughts, reactions and behaviours - and just like the rain would have to work for a long time to change the course of an estuary, so must you work hard to overcome the deeply entrenched waterways that lead you to experience anxiety.
Most people are put off when they hear this. They want relief, they want it quickly. Hell I WANT IT QUICKLY - but it doesnt work that way. When you are depressed it is harder to motivate yourself to make a start. But that is no one's fault - it is just reality. It sucks that we have this condition, it sucks that its even harder for us to recover. Thats why we have to start as soon as possible, making the tiny steps, the ones we ARE capable of, every day. Find the programme that suits you and stick to it. Allow yourself a timescale of MONTHS. You will have slip ups. You will have moments where you feel that everything is a waste of time. But eventually things begin to change - and when you have taken time to make the changes, just like a river, the new course you have carved out is far more permanent.
Think of this: You want a solution now for your anxiety because it is very painful. No one would ever criticise you for feeling that way, and I have felt it myself many times. In this thread are tried and proven - though often maligned and criticised on this board - methods for overcoming anxiety, but that require long and diligent work. This is the part that so often makes it fail for those that try them - the results are not as quick as desired and so the approach is discarded. But the approach INCLUDES the time it takes.
Will you choose to keep on searching for the 'quick fix' - which so far has failed to materialise (except in the form of meds which work only as long as you take them), or will you choose to begin now, knowing that in a few months time you are likley to see the beginnings of progress? If you carry on waiting for the quick fix you could wait 6 months, 8 months, a year ... and still be no better off. Or you could have invested that 8 months in long term, gradual improvement.
Its taken you years to get to the point where you now have SA. It will take time to begin to change that - but it CAN change. SA makes us concentrate on only the evidence that we are unlikeable, boring, worthless. That is how the illness functions, especially alongiside depression. We block out the neutral and positive parts of life and see only the black. And soon enough that becomes our reality as we create it around ourselves. Beginning to accept yourself as worthwhile and deserving of love, simply because you are a living, breathing human being, and dropping any need to rate yourself or hold yourself up to a standard, is the start. Whether you honestly beileve you are scum, destined to be discarded by humaity or not - one thing I know is that when you start to respect yourself whether you think you deserve it or not, the rest of the world starts to notice too.